Finding a Therapist – Where to Start?
You’re thinking about seeing a therapist, but don’t know where to start. Whether you have previous experience with therapy or are completely new, trying to find the right fit for you can seem overwhelming in a sea of therapists.
Although different therapists can have the same training, their approach to therapy can vary. Research has shown that the bond that develops between you and your therapist is one of the most important factors in the therapeutic relationship. In other words, the relationship you have with your therapist has a big impact on your personal growth.
Your first step is to determine preferences. Do you have a gender preference? Do you want someone who has an office near your home or work? Would you like to see someone who offers “after-hours” appointments? Are you planning on using your insurance? The answer to these questions will help you get started.
Where to look for a therapist:
Psychology Today, Headway, and ZenCare are social media platforms that focus on behavioral health. These websites feature a customizable search engine to help you find a therapist. Providers generally pay a fee for their profile to be featured – there is no cost for you to use this platform to find a therapist.
Your insurance directory is also a good place to start. Therapists who are in-network with your behavioral health provider will be listed in this directory.
Ask someone you know and trust for a provider. You may have a friend or a colleague that has mentioned their own therapy. It is important to remember that you have different needs and/or preferences from the person providing the recommendation.
Check with your employer for EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services. EAP is usually limited in the number of sessions provided (generally up to 6) and is covered 100% by your insurance plan.
Organizations that focus to your area of concern are a good way to find therapist. Organizations, such as the International OCD Foundation, National Eating Disorders Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, National Center for PTSD, etc. will have a list of providers who are members of the organizations.
Organizations that focus on therapeutic modalities, such as the EMDR International Association, are a good way to find therapist that have specific training in the type of therapy you are interested in.
When you have narrowed down your choices, contact the therapists on your list. Many therapists will offer a free phone consultation prior to setting an appointment and this is a good opportunity to ask questions and find the right therapist for you.