Have you ever wanted help but had no idea how to find it? You’re not alone. People often ask me, “how do I find a therapist?” It’s a great question because sometimes it can be challenging for therapists to find a therapist! This post is here to help you!
FIVE WAYS TO FIND A THERAPIST
Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to find a therapist is to ask around – family, friends, trusted colleagues, health professionals. Ask people who you trust for therapist recommendations who may be a good fit. Ask important questions such as this person’s therapy style and logistic questions such as location or insurance
If you have a health insurance that you would like to use it may be best to inquire with your health plan about your mental health benefits.
Questions you might ask:
1. Do you need a referral and from whom (such as your primary care physician)?
2. Is there a limit to the number of sessions you can have?
3. Is there a copay, if so how much?
4. Do you have to see a provider in your network or are you allowed to see a provide outside of network?
If you choose or must see a provider in network, request a list of providers in your network. Consider important factor such as
Location: Therapy can be a timely commitment. To best facilitate your attendance, you might choose a therapist near your home or work.
Specialty: Depending on your presenting concern (i.e., why you are going to therapy) you may request a therapist that can best help with that issue. For example, you may request a list of providers who specializes in anxiety, depression, or multicultural issues.
*Superbills: Note, some therapists may not directly take your insurance but will provide a superbill. This means you pay for services out of pocket and they provide you with a receipt that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Before using this option, check with both your insurance company and your provider to determine if this option is available to you.
Many employers offer mental health counseling services as a benefit. Inquire with Human Resources about whether such benefits exist and the terms. Options may include:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Companies may offer an onsite therapist contract with providers in the community. EAP often offers short term therapy (such as 3 sessions) to help employees manage a particular issue for free or low cost. For example, you may be able to receive 3 sessions to deal with sadness or a break up. If you don’t have an EAP therapist onsite, your employer may have a list of providers who accept your EAP benefit.
Behavioral Health Networks: Some employers contract with behavioral health companies that have a network of mental health providers who you can connect with at little to no cost.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA): Employees can dedicate money from their paycheck (pre-tax) to set aside in a health savings accounts that they can then use to pay for health services including therapy. You might be granted an HSA card to directly pay your therapist or pay out of pocket and get reimbursed from your HSA account.
If you are a student at a university you likely have access to a university counseling center which is conveniently located on campus and offers individual therapy, group therapy, and workshops that are specifically tailored to students. These services are often free or low cost and relatively easy to access. Reach out to your health center or counseling center to set up an intake appointment. Some universities also have a list of providers that they contract with in the community. If you are not able to be seen at the counseling center or if you run out of sessions (many use a short-term model of therapy such as a 10-session limit) you may request a referral to community provider.
Even if you are not a student at a university, some universities offer counseling services to their local community at a discount. Graduate students often train in university counseling centers. The centers may offer a discounted rate for community members who seek their services and are willing to see a counselor-in-training under the direct supervision of a licensed mental health providers (e.g., psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist). Yes, even I started off training in this way! If this is of interest, search the website of local universities and call their counseling centers to determine if this is an option for you.
Out of Pocket
If you are financing your own therapist you may choose to use therapist finder websites to help find a therapist in your community. Consider location, cost per session, area of expertise, and therapeutic orientation (how the therapist approaches treatment, what psychological methods do they use) when making your choice.
Websites that can help target your search:
Psychology Today: One of the most commonly used sites to find therapists. You can search by location, specialty, key demographics such as gender or race).
Ayana Therapy: For marginalized and intersectional communities
Therapy for Black Girls: For Black women searching for cultural attuned therapists in their local community
Black Female Therapist: For clients searching for Black women therapists in their community
Therapy for Black Men: For Black men searching for cultural attuned therapists.
Therapy For Latinx: For Latinx clients searching for cultural attuned therapists
Therapy For Asians: For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders searching for cultural attuned therapists
You may find a therapist through:
Word of mouth
University counseling services
Would you like to work with me?
I work in a group practice - The Black Girl Doctor (TBGD). TBGD is a boutique virtual therapy practice where we help busy professional women who despite having it all together on the outside, are struggling on the inside. Visit this link to work with me.