I can always resonate when someone says it’s hard to find a good therapist. The idea of scrolling through endless profiles on Psychologytoday.com can feel so daunting, even for folks who work in the field! So, what’s most important in searching for a provider, and how do we aim to find the best fit in therapy? Here are a few tips for getting the process started from a therapist’s perspective:
1. Consider your clinical needs: What are you seeking therapy for? Are you dealing with a specific issue, such as anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, or sleep? Are you hoping to explore and process these issues, and/or do you expect to build skills to better manage them? Knowing what you want from therapy will help you refine your search as you look at therapists’ specialty areas.
2. Consider your relational needs: Are there essential provider identities or experiences that could help you build rapport and understanding within the therapeutic relationship? It is often helpful to feel a shared sense of cultural understanding and compatibility in treatment. It also tends to be beneficial if a potential provider has previous experience treating the presenting issues for which you are seeking support.
3. Understand your insurance coverage: Utilize your insurance carrier’s website to search for in-network therapists covered by your plan. If you happen to find an out-of-network therapist you like, try reaching out to them to inquire about sliding scale options or request information about a potential single-case agreement.
4. Ask for referrals: Family, friends, and primary care physicians can be helpful for recommendations. This can often help point you in the right direction(s) of professionals who are trusted by your community members.
5. Trust your gut: When you meet a therapist for the first time(s), remember that it’s part of the process to assess for the goodness of fit. Therapy requires vulnerability. If you don’t feel like you can truly be yourself within the therapeutic relationship, you can let the provider know and continue your search.
Finding the right therapist takes time and effort! Just remember that on the other side, you might find somebody who will be doing the rest of the hard work with you.