I’m New to Therapy: How Do I Find A Therapist?

Finding lots of therapists is not complicated. Google “therapist [zipcode]” and we all pop up. Finding the right therapist can be challenging if you’ve never done it before. Here are some tried and true strategies to finding your therapist. 

  1. Find out what’s important to you

Do you need someone that understands your culture (including military culture), your age range, your gender, your specific problem? Do you need someone who is close to work or home to cut down on transportation stressors? Do you prefer someone further away so you have time to think after sessions? Do you want to go alone or with family member(s)? 

  1. Ask a friend

If you know someone that has been through what you’ve been through, or has a personality like yours, who gets along with the same people you get along with, ask them if they have had a positive therapy experience. If so, ask if they would be willing to share their therapists’ info.

  1. If you want help paying for therapy, call your insurance company. 

Mental health benefits are part of your insurance premiums. We will talk more about paying for therapy and pros and cons of insurance, but here is one advantage calling your insurance has over any other strategy: they are able to provide you with several options that they already know are covered under your plan. It takes the stress out of wondering if your therapist will take your insurance. 

  1. Skip Google (What??? Yeah I said it) and go to Psychology Today.

Psychologytoday.com is a listing service that allows you to filter therapists like you’re Amazon-searching for any product. You can specify which insurance they take, their specialities, the radius from your desired location, and other details to help you get a good fit. You can read blurbs from each of the therapists there to see if their services feel right for you. There are links to websites and phone numbers. 

This is not a paid endorsement or ad. In fact, therapists pay them to be listed there. And since we therapists are paying to be available for you to find, these pages are important for us to maintain. This means you’re more likely to find up to date, relevant information from therapists who want to find the clients that need them. 

  1.  Call a few therapists. 

Leave voicemails with your name and number and ask for a phone call “screening.” This allows you to ask your questions and let them ask you questions before setting your first appointment. And if you feel like a therapist isn’t a great fit, let them know you are waiting on a few other therapists before making a decision. We all want you to find the therapist that is right for you, and not every therapist is for every client. 

That’s it! Next you’ll need to meet one or two and make a personal connection. Then you’ll start sharing your story and doing the work.

Mrs. Andreana Mabry, M.S., LMFT, is a Black licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Southern California. Aspiring home chef. Pronouns She/Her. Say hi to your dog for her.

Veterans and Active Duty Military Crisis Line
www.veteranscrisisline.net 800-273-8255

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network
rainn.org 800-656-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
suicidepreventionlifeline.org 800-273-8255

The Trevor Project
thetrevorproject.org 866-488-7386

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