Finding a therapist can feel like a daunting task, but knowing where to start looking can make it easier.
When the time to reach out to and find a therapist finally comes – actually doing so can be scary. How do you even know where to start? What if they don't respond? What if you find one, but you don't trust them?
The truth about finding a therapist is that it will be a little different for everyone. Finding a therapist is all about finding someone you can trust to create a safe space to explore yourself and grow as an individual. Sometimes you nail it on your first try; sometimes, it takes a few shots to find the right match. Remember that it is alright to feel a little scared and unsure about how to start and where to look.
In actuality, there are several good places you could start when looking for a therapist, but I would say the best place is always the option that you feel most comfortable with. Below are four of the most common ways:
Word of mouth – Do you know anyone who has a therapist they like? Do you have any friends who are therapists and could recommend someone? Are you part of any local community or a religious group that could recommend one?
Receiving a personal recommendation from someone can go a long way. Trust is a big part of therapy, and receiving a therapist's name from someone you trust can make it a little easier to trust them when you first meet.
Online search – Doing a search on Google for a therapist is another good place to begin. A search like this usually starts with a phrase like "counselors near me" or "online counseling in [my state]." If you are looking to work on a specific thing like anxiety or depression, you can include that in your search phrase (i.e., "counselors who specialize in depression").
A search like this will usually result in many results because many therapists have their own websites. Don't be afraid to do a little digging and go past the first page of the results. Therapists tend to be better at therapy than at making websites that rank well with SEO. Often they also include enough information about themselves that you can get an idea about who they are.
Using directories like these can make finding a therapist feel a little more approachable. You can narrow the list down by things like location, specialty, experience, and even various therapist attributes that would help you feel more comfortable.
Insurance website – If you plan to use your insurance to pay for therapy, this is also an excellent place to start. Insurance companies have directories of in-network providers, which can take a lot of the guesswork out of whether or not they'll accept your insurance.
While these directories are great for ensuring in-network benefits, they tend to be more impersonal and lack a lot of detail. If you find someone you think you could work with, I would typically recommend Googling them to find a little more specific information about them elsewhere, such as their own practice's website.
No matter what resource you use to find a therapist, remember that the most crucial part of an excellent licensed therapist for you is that you feel as though they are safe and trustworthy. If they don't feel trustworthy, it won't be easy to open up to them about what you're going through, and therapy won't be as good as it could be.