If you are reading this, you are probably hoping to start therapy with a psychologist, either for the first time, or after some time away. Congratulations! Making the decision to go to therapy takes courage, resilience, and self-awareness — but the benefits of therapy are worth it.
Now that you’ve committed to starting therapy, you are probably wondering: “How Can I Find A Psychologist Near Me?” This is an overwhelming question for many of us. You may feel lost about where to start in your search for a psychologist near you. Or it may feel like there are too many options, and you don’t have enough guidance to wade through the choices.
It’s normal for this process to feel daunting at first. Remember that all of us who have gone to therapy had to start by searching, and there are many resources out there to aid you and make the process smoother.
How To Pick A Nearby Psychologist
Before you start looking more specifically for a psychologist near you, it’s important to decide on what kind of psychologist you are looking for, and some of the attributes that are important to you. There is no right or wrong here — it’s all about identifying your needs, and feeling empowered to make a choice that works for you.
Here are some factors to consider as you begin your search for a psychologist.
1. Psychologist or Psychiatrist?
Psychologists have many specialties, but are most are well-known for “talk therapy.” Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are more likely to diagnose any mental illness you may be experiencing and can prescribe medication for you. However, if you see a psychologist who thinks medication would be helpful for you, they can refer you to your doctor or a psychiatrist for medication. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, before beginning your search.
You want to make sure your provider is licensed to practice in your state. Common psychologist licenses include Licensed Professional Counselors (L.P.C.), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (L.C.S.W.), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (L.M.F.T.), or Licensed Psychologists (Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D.).
3. Insurance and Affordability
If your insurance covers therapy, locating a psychologist who takes your insurance may be important to you. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies cover therapy with a psychologist, and not all psychologists take insurance. Still, it’s always worth asking. You can also discuss payment plans and sliding scale options with potential psychologists. Online therapy is an affordable option for many as well.
If you are struggling with a specific mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, you might want to find a psychologist who has experience treating patients with those challenges. Many psychologists specialize in more than one mental health issue, including alcoholism, eating disorders, PTSD, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, and more.
Do you prefer a psychologist of a certain gender? A psychologist who has experience with LGBTQ+ issues? Do you want to see a psychologist who does couples therapy? These are all questions for you to consider as you search for a psychologist near you, and the good news is that there is almost always someone out there who meets your specifications. Depending on your needs, a psychologist with a similar background might be beneficial in your therapeutic process.
Locating A Nearby Psychologist
Now that you have a clearer sense of what you are looking for, how do you begin your search for the best psychologist near you?
Well, you could start by Googling “psychologist near me” and you’d probably get quite a few results. Again, that can end up feeling more confusing than anything else and it can be difficult to wade through all the choices, you may not even know whether they are even reputable psychologists!
Here are some better ways to go out searching:
1. Search Psychology Organizations
If you are using a psychologist listing site, you want to make sure it’s well respected and only lists licensed psychologists. Sites that fit the bill include the The American Psychological Association’s therapy locator, the National Register, and the listings at Psychology Today. Your state psychology association may keep their own listings as well.
2. Ask For a Referral
You can ask friends and trusted family members for referrals. Even if you don’t want to use the same psychologist they do, you can call that psychologist and ask them for a referral. You can also ask your physician or other healthcare provider for referrals.
3. Get a List From Your Insurance Company
You can get a list from your insurance company for psychologists near you. Sometimes this list may feel too short (or even too long!) and can be difficult to wade through. If you find a psychologist near you, you might need to call them to find out more about their specialties and areas of expertise.
Online Option: Therapy on Your Own Terms
Sometimes there are too few options when it comes to psychologists near you. Or perhaps it would be difficult to travel to a psychologist in your area, or you are too busy to make in-person appointments. Enter online therapy — therapy whenever and wherever you like — a great option for anyone looking for a psychologist near them.
Like the most reputable traditional therapy options, online therapy companies such as Talkspace only employ psychologists who are fully licensed. A reputable online therapy provider will connect you with an online psychologist who treats the specific symptoms you are experiencing. You can also pick a psychologist who specializes in a therapy modalities that are of interest to you, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Many online psychologists even offer couples therapy.
With online therapy, you connect with your psychologist through text messages, or via video or audio message, or a scheduled live video session. Online therapy has been shown to be as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy, and the best part is that you can do online therapy anywhere, anytime. If you are looking for a psychologist near you, what better place is there than the comfort of your own home?
The Choice Is Yours
Perhaps the best answer to the question “How can I find a psychologist near me?” is go with your instincts. When choosing a psychologist, it’s all about finding someone who you feel safe and comfortable with. While psychologists a human, and sometimes going to therapy can be challenging (in a good way!), you should always feel like your psychologist you choose is someone you like, someone you respect, and someone who treats you with kindness.
As you search for a psychologist near you, allow yourself the time and space to interview several psychologists before selecting one, and remember that it’s OK to say “no” if the psychologist you pick isn’t the right fit. It’s your choice, and your choice matters. Most of all, keep the faith. There are many wonderful psychologists near you waiting to help.