Updated: Aug 25
Finding a therapist is like online dating in a way – in order to find a connection, you need to “swipe” your way through and see what’s out there.
I have been exactly where you are right now. Scrolling through pages and pages of profiles...It's a lot. But before you talk yourself out of it. Skim through some of my tips I have found along the way...
FOR INSURANCE USERS
Request a list of therapist directly from your provider. Most clinicians who accept credit cards, will take HSA/FSA.
FOR PRIVATE PAY USERS
Look for therapists who offer “Sliding Scale” options. These therapist fees are based on income level.
Look into a platform like “Openpath.” Individual therapy fees range from $30-$70.
Note: You will have to pay a one-time fee of $65 to become a lifelong member. But!! You don’t have to be a member to flip through therapist profiles.
What if you found THE ONE - a therapist you absolutely love but they don’t accept your insurance?
Ask your therapist to provide you with a monthly “Superbill.” You can submit this to insurance company for reimbursement.
If you plan to request for reimbursement...
Here are some benefits of going the private pay route versus using insurance and some questions to ask your insurance company.
Okay, now it’s time to start searching…
In my opinon Google is not the best place to search for therapist.
Jeff Guenther from TherapyDEN says it best:
“Most therapists have a webpage. Which means most therapists can be found via Google. However, just because a therapist is showing up on the first page of Google it doesn’t mean they
are the best therapist in town. It just means they
know more about how to rank high in Google compared to all the other therapists in their city. Which is usually a pretty easy thing to do because therapists are not very tech savvy (which is one of the reasons it’s hard to find them). For that reason, it’s wise to look past the first page of the results when looking for a counselor.”
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite platforms (other than Google and Psychology Today) to help you find a therapist you connect with:
Does not accept insurance.
Therapists offer affordable individual therapy from $30-$70 + $65 lifelong membership fee. I recommend browsing the profiles before committing to the membership.
Accepts both insurance and private pay.
Free to sign up!
MHM is advertised as “the largest therapist/client matching platform in the US.”
I have personally used this platform and it’s the closest platform to a dating app that you’ll use. How it works: Both potential clients and therapists respond to personality-related questions, and you are matched based on each of your responses.
Accepts both insurance and private pay.
Free to sign up!
Therapist directory for the modern world. It is for people of color, for queers, for sex-workers, for non-binary and trans folks, for body-positive folks…for everyone!
Some important things to keep in mind as you search:
What matters to me about my therapist
List goes on...
Try to find a specialist instead of a generalist.
My advice is to start by searching for someone who specializes in your primary concern. And Maybe you don’t even know what that is. That’s okay. Maybe you’re just feeling off. Or maybe you can’t shake a weird feeling. If that’s the case, then you could be suffering from a number of things and you might not want to search for a therapist based on your presenting problem.
A little trick most people don’t know about
You can essentially "cold call" any therapist and explain to them what you're looking for and ask them if they know anyone who would be a good fit.
Most of the time, not all of the time, but most of the time, after we hear what you’re looking for, we know a handful of therapists that could be a great match for you and we’ll give you their contact info.
Legally, we cannot call those therapists and make the appointment for you. But we can give you their contact info and you can follow up with them. Therapist have an ethical duty to refer you out if they are unable to help you personally.
Here is an example of what you can send to a potential therapist:
I came across your profile and think we might make a good fit.
I am looking for a therapist to help me with… (anxiety, ADHD, post-partum, self-esteem…here is where you can share your specific need).
If you don’t know exactly what it is, but you can describe the feelings…You can say something like, Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed and am having trouble getting out of bed.
Then follow up with something like, I would love to speak with you over the phone if you have any availability and are currently accepting clients. Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you.
Easy and to the point.
Asking for a phone consultation is an great way to get a sense of your potential therapist’s personality.
Almost all therapist offer this for free because well, they want to also get a sense of you to make sure it’s a good fit. Being emotionally honest and vulnerable is easier to do if you trust and like the person you’re talking to.
Some questions to ask your therapist during the initial phone consultation:
§ Do you offer in-person or virtual?
§ What will a typical session look like?
§ What treatment styles do you use?
§ Do you give homework?
§ What are your fees?
§ Do you offer sliding scale?
§ Do you accept insurance?
§ What is your cancellation policy?
§ Have you helped many people like me?
Some questions to ask yourself:
§ Do you feel emotionally safe?
§ Could you see yourself trusting this person?
§ Do you feel heard?
§ Did you enjoy spending time with them?