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  • Writer's pictureCayla Townes

How Do I Find A Therapist I Like?

Updated: Jun 12

Go-to answers to this question are usually some version of “give them a try.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen that answer discourage so many people from pursuing therapy. There is a way to narrow down your search for a therapist you can work well with and I have some tips on how to do it below.

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How Do I Find a Therapist I Like?

This seems like such a simple question, but it can also be a daunting one. It’s hard to begin therapy at all, and finding someone you work well with can just feel like another hurdle to starting that work. So here are a few things you can look at to help narrow down your search for a therapist who's a good fit.

  • Specialities. If you have a decent idea about the issues you want to bring to therapy then this is a great place to start when looking for a therapist. Many therapists will list their specialities on their website or on a therapist directory site like Psychology Today or Better Help. Some therapists specialize in very specific issues and others have much broader areas they work in. Figuring out what you would like to focus on in therapy can help you narrow down the list in your search for a therapist.

  • Identity. Are there are some parts of identity that may be important to you feeling understood by your therapist? Culture? Language? Religion or spirituality? Gender identity? These are all important factors to consider when thinking about what you are looking for in a therapist. Imagine who you would feel comfortable talking with about the issues you want to work on and ask yourself if any of these characteristics might affect that comfort. I am not advocating for discrimination in any way, but we have all had experiences with people that shape our feelings of safety in a relationship, and feeling safe with your therapist is a must.

  • Cost. I don’t think you can put a price on your well-being and mental health, but the reality is that most of us have to. Many therapists will list costs for sessions on a website or directory, but some do not. Before you begin meeting with a therapist be sure to ask about fees. You may find a therapist who seems like a great fit but they charge a rate you can’t afford, or at least can’t afford long-term. This may work great if you are only looking to have a few, focused sessions. But if you are unsure how long you may want to continue with therapy, knowing that you can cover the costs for a longer period are important. Be sure to look at any insurance coverage you have and whether or not it will cover the costs to see a particular therapist. Some therapists also offer sliding fee scales depending on your income, so this is worth asking about as well.

  • Initial Consultation. Just about every therapist in private practice that I’m aware of offers some kind of free consultation call or video chat as an opportunity for you to speak with them, ask questions, and just generally get a sense of how they are to talk with. Take advantage of this. Oftentimes the things that allow some people to communicate well or feel comfortable with each other are difficult to pinpoint, but you know it when you feel it.

These are just a few things you can look at or do to narrow down your search for a therapist. Finding a therapist you can open up to and be vulnerable with can seem intimidating and even downright scary. Ultimately though, a relationship with a therapist is much like any other professional relationship. How do you find a doctor you like? A dentist? A tax professional? How do you know you can trust them? How do you know you work well with them?

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If you went to see any professional and they treated you poorly, were dismissive of your concerns, or advised you to do things that you felt made no sense, you would likely seek out another professional to help you. The same is true for therapists. I’ve heard from many clients that they are wary to engage in therapy again because they have had a difficult time finding a therapist they feel understands them and communicates well with them. Therapy involves a lot of trust. Building trust in any relationship takes time and can be difficult to figure out no matter how much research you do or how well a 15-minute consultation call goes.

So what happens if you try a therapist and it doesn’t seem like a good fit? If you feel comfortable I would encourage you to talk to your therapist about this. They may have adjustments they can make to their style or approach that would help. At the very least, they will have other therapists they can refer you to. You can explore those options or go looking for a different therapist yourself. The most important thing is to not get discouraged. This is easy for me to say, but I understand how difficult it is to have to start over when finding a therapist. The same thing has happened to me!

So no matter where you are in your journey to find a therapist you like working with, I encourage you to keep looking.

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