Updated on 11/15/2020
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. Making the decision to go to therapy takes courage, resilience, and self-awareness, so congratulations on making it to this point! Therapy can help you improve your life in so many different ways. Whether you’re trying to improve your communication skills, work through a specific problem, combat mental health concerns, or just have an unbiased person who you can speak to about anything, seeing a psychologist can help you greatly.
Now that you’ve committed to starting therapy, you are probably wondering: “How Can I Find A Psychologist Near Me?” This question can be overwhelming for many of us. You may feel lost about where to start 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 of searching for a psychologist to feel daunting at first, but know that there are many resources out there to help you narrow down options and make the process smoother. Remember that all of us who have gone to therapy had to start by searching somewhere. I know that I definitely felt confused when I started looking to find a psychologist near me. I hope that this article can support you in your search for a psychologist so that you can start therapy as quickly as possible. Read on for some helpful advice about how I went about finding a psychologist near me.
How To Pick A Nearby Psychologist
Before you start looking 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 particular needs and feeling empowered to make a choice that works for you. This is the perfect time for a bit of inner reflection, think about what you’re dealing with at the moment and which areas in your life could most benefit from speaking with a therapist.
Here are some factors to consider as you begin your search for a psychologist.
1. Psychologist or Psychiatrist?
Although both are mental health professionals, psychologists, and psychiatrists differ from one another. It’s important to understand the differences between the two before beginning your search and starting therapy. Psychologists have many specialties, but are most well-known for “talk therapy,” also known as psychotherapy. Talk therapy is a technique based on the understanding that talking about issues can bring clarity and a fresh perspective, sometimes even helping you uncover underlying conflicts in need of resolution. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are more likely to diagnose any mental illness you may be experiencing and, because they’re medical doctors, have the ability to prescribe medication for you. However, if you do end up seeing a psychologist who thinks medication would be helpful for you, they can refer you to your doctor or a psychiatrist for the necessary medication.
During your search for a psychologist, you’ll want to make sure that 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
Psychologists charge a wide range of rates and it’s important to consider your financial situation when selecting your therapist. 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 the psychologist’s office and speaking with your insurance provider to ensure you’re not left with a surprising bill. You can also discuss payment plans and sliding scale options with potential psychologists. If cost is a factor for you, you might want to consider online therapy, typically more affordable than in-person therapy and is a convenient, felxible option.
Consider your personal situation and think about what you need to most help with before searching for a psychologist. 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.
Would 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. Depending on your needs, a psychologist with a similar background might be beneficial to your therapeutic process. The good news is that there is almost always someone out there who can meet your specifications, just adjust your search criteria to find what you need most.
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 to work through. Again, sometimes being faced with so many options can end up feeling more confusing and it can be difficult to wade through all the choices. It’s important to be careful in your search; make certain that the results you’re seeing are reputable psychologists!
Here are some better ways to go about searching for a psychologist near you:
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 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 to help you find a reputable psychologist. 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
Another way to find a psychologist is by finding in-network options from your insurance company for psychologists near you. Sometimes this list may feel too short (or even too long!) and it can be difficult to wade through. Still, it’s an effective way to find a licensed psychologist who is sure to accept your insurance. If you find a psychologist near you on this list, 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. Maybe you can’t find anyone well suited to your needs, or perhaps — if you live in a rural place — all the psychologists in your area are still too distant, or maybe you are just too busy to make in-person appointments. Online therapy — therapy whenever and wherever you like — is 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 is well equipped to treat the specific symptoms you are experiencing. You can also pick a psychologist who specializes in 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 or family therapy.
With online therapy, you can connect with your psychologist through a wide variety of ways depending on your preference. You can use text messages, via video or audio messaging, or even scheduled live video sessions. 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 to go with your instincts. When choosing a psychologist, it’s all about finding someone who helps you feel safe in an environment where you feel comfortable. Sometimes going to therapy can be challenging (in a good way!), so you should always feel like your psychologist is someone you like, someone you respect, who treats you with kindness, and is someone you can get along with.
I know that it can feel daunting to begin your search for a therapist, but you will feel so much better once you find the right person to trust and speak to about your problems. As you search for a “psychologist near me,” allow yourself the time and space to interview several psychologists before selecting one. Remember that it’s OK to say “no” if the psychologist you pick isn’t the right fit. Sometimes the match just isn’t right and it just takes time and trial and error to find the right fit. At the end of the day, the goal is to have a psychologist you feel comfortable speaking to about anything that comes up. It’s your choice, and your choice matters. Most of all, keep the faith. When I was searching for help, I found many psychologists near me ready to help and I’m certain you’ll find the same.