6 Tips for Finding a Good Therapist


The search for a therapist can be intimidating. Various types of health care specialists offer mental health therapy, so choosing which therapist to see can be overwhelming.

Some tips help find a therapist include the following:

  1. Obtain a list of covered providers. If health insurance will be used to help pay for therapy, start by getting a list of covered providers. This list can often be found on the insurance company’s website or by directly contacting the insurance company.
  2. Get a referral or recommendation. Ask a primary care physician for a referral. Asking family members or friends for recommendations is also helpful.
  3. Check with professional associations. The American Psychological Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy websites provide lists of therapists and their areas of expertise. If therapy is needed for a specific mental health issue, try checking with associations related to the concern. For example, the National Eating Disorders Association or the National Center for PTSD provide lists of therapists or may help in the search for a specialized therapist.
  4. Ensure that the therapist is licensed. In order to become licensed, a therapist must have the appropriate education and training required by their particular state. Before making an appointment, verify that a therapist is licensed in the state where the therapy will be taking place.
  5. Find out how much experience the therapist has working with related concerns. For example, if anxiety is the concern, ask the therapist how much experience they have in treating anxiety. It may also be helpful to ask what particular treatments the therapist commonly uses to treat the condition.
  6. Ask questions and make sure the details are acceptable. Where is the therapist’s office located? Do they conduct virtual appointments if needed? During what hours do they see patients? What is the out-of-pocket cost for each session? What is the typical length of each session? How many sessions are usually needed?

It may be helpful to set up an initial appointment with several therapists, depending on personal financial resources and insurance coverage. The level of comfort with a therapist is essential and can often be determined during a face-to-face meeting.

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