If you have taken the time to search for “therapist near me” — as many of us mental health warriors have at one time or another — you deserve a high five. Deciding to seek therapy can be scary and stressful at first, so taking that first step is commendable. Go, you!
However, after you’ve plugged the search term into your browser and received your “therapist near me” results, you are likely to be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data and therapist choices. You might be asking yourself which results are useful and which are not. How can you find the perfect therapist if you don’t quite know what you’re looking at?
Seeking therapy should be as stress-free as possible . We’ll point you in the right direction, and you’ll find a great therapist. Most importantly, you’ll have a clearer path forward toward wellness.
Deciphering Your Search Results
After you search “therapist near me,” you will probably find that instead of getting actual names and websites of therapists near you, you are getting websites that list different therapists (like Psychology Today, for example), websites of therapy clinics, articles about therapy, and other therapy services.
The reason for this is that most practicing therapists don’t have their own websites. Or if they do, they don’t rank high enough in internet search results to be easily found. But that doesn’t mean that your “therapist near me” search results won’t be useful. You just have to know which websites to click over to, and how to evaluate the info you’re seeing.
How To Find Online Lists of Therapy Practices Near You
Most of us are looking for a therapist in private practice near our home or work who we can easily make an appointment with. Here’s how you can locate some of these therapy practices online.
- Search Professional Psychological Organizations
One of the best ways to start is to browse the therapist listings provided by professional organizations. Many therapists have a “page” listed on these sites, with lists of their specialties and areas of interest. Organizations like National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Psychological Association (APA), and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies are good places to start. Psychology Today, though not a professional organization per se, usually has a reliable list of nearby therapists to choose from.
- Search Therapist Lists Provided By Your Insurance Company
If your insurance provider covers therapists, you can get a list from them, or access a list online. Your choices might be limited, but it never hurts to call nearby therapists on the lists and ask about their availability. You can also “vet” them beforehand, doing an internet search on the therapist’s name to see if they have a website or a page on a professional organization’s website.
- Online Therapy Sites
If you search for “therapists near me,” you are likely to directed to online therapy sites. Online therapy delivers therapists as near as you can get: directly into your home! Therapy is usually done via online text messaging, video messaging, or live video sessions. Online therapy is rapidly growing in popularity because it fits easily into our busy lives, and has been shown to be as effective as one-to-one therapy.
Online therapy sites like Talkspace help match you with a well-qualified therapist that specializes in the issues that matter to you, and they don’t limit you to therapists within your geographical vicinity. You will be able to view the profiles of several recommended therapists before trying one out. In Talkspace’s case, the vetting is done for you, as they only select certified therapists who’ve gone through a rigorous credentialing, and training process. So, in essence, some of the “searching” is done for you — based on your needs and search criteria, of course.Talkspace also makes it easy to switch therapists if you find your first selection isn’t a perfect fit. Visit Talkspace’s therapist directory to connect with a professional in your area.
Recommendations From Friends And Others
Another great way to find a good therapist is to get a recommendation. This can get a little tricky if you are relying on family or friends for a recommendation. After all, you may not want to share the same therapist with someone close to you, and your loved ones may not have the same mental health needs as you do.
However, if there is someone in your life who you trust to give you advice, asking them about their current or previous therapists is not a bad place to start. That therapist might be able to recommend a colleague, or a local professional organization for you to search.
Additionally, you can look beyond your immediate friend and family circle for recommendations. Ask your primary care provider, a clergyperson, or a trusted member of your community who you may not have quite as close an interpersonal relationship with. If you are looking for a therapist for your child, you can seek advice from your child’s pediatrician, school counselor, or other parents in your community. Talkspace also now offers therapy for teens.
Narrowing Down Your Search/Specialties
Once you have a list of possible nearby therapists to choose from, it’s time to narrow down your search, and find a therapist you can work with — hopefully for the long-haul. If you are doing an internet search for “therapists near me,” you might consider making your search more specific by adding some keywords that more accurately describe the type of therapist you are looking for.
For example, if you are battling anxiety and depression, you can search for “anxiety/depression therapists near me.” If you have a psychological diagnosis already, you can add that keyword into your therapist search. If you are looking for a therapist that works within a certain modality, you can add that search term (“cognitive behavioral therapist,” for example).
You can also take note of any specialties that a therapist lists within their online profile. Many will tell you what their specialties and scope include. This can help you narrow down your search as well.
“Trying Out” Your Therapist
Once you have focused your search, you will likely have a few candidates to “meet,” either in person or online. Of course, you will first need to be sure that these therapists have room in their schedule for you, and that they have appointment times that work for you. You’ll also want to see if they accept your insurance, or offer payment plans that fit your budget.
This might require a phone call to the therapist’s office, which can feel intimidating. But a quick phone call like this is actually a good way to see how you “vibe” with a particular therapist.
In the case of online therapy like Talkspace, the time between deciding to seek therapy and talking to potential therapists is greatly reduced — from upwards of two weeks (or months if the therapist has a waitlist) to a matter of hours. This can be beneficial if you have a busy schedule, and the option to talk via text or video — whichever is most convenient for you— is just a click away.
It can be stressful the first time you touch base with a therapist, but remember most folks who have tried therapy felt nervous the first time. Therapy brings up a lot of emotions, and it is natural to feel especially vulnerable when you are opening yourself up in this way, especially if this is your first time.
Your First Sessions
Remember that the first few sessions with a new therapist are a time for you to “feel things out.” Your gut instinct about a particular therapist can be very powerful. You don’t want to rush to judgment if you don’t immediately hit it off with your therapist (sometimes difficult feelings are a sign that the therapy is working, actually).
At the same time, you also don’t want to stay in a therapy-patient relationship that is not right to you. There is a well matched therapist out there for everyone. If you find that your first few tries are not what you’d hoped they’d, don’t give up. Sometimes it can take tries runs before you find your perfect therapist. But the good news is that most people who enter therapy begin to feel better after as little as three weeks.
The Road Ahead in Therapy
Phew! You’ve finally found a therapist near you or online who you feel comfortable with and who you can see on a regular basis. Congrats! It really was worth taking the time to do a diligent and careful search, wasn’t it?
If you are not there yet, however – or if the therapist that you were working with does not seem like a good match – don’t despair. Finding a therapist near you might sound daunting at first, but there are so many resources to help you. Remember: just taking the time to look is a wonderful gesture of self-care that will pay off in a big way before you know it. People even report feeling better just having made an appointment to see a therapist.
Keep in mind, too, that you have choices. You may find that there are no therapists near you that are quite what you are looking for. Many therapists these days offer telemedicine services like online therapy, so that is something to consider. You can also sign up for an online therapy company like Talkspace that you helps you find the right match and offers more flexible options for checking in with your therapist or scheduling video sessions.
Your mental health and wellness is worth it. In the end, having a regular therapist should not be an added stress. Remember to keep looking until you find a therapist that suits your needs and fits into your life.