How to Find a Therapist That's Right for You

How to Find a Therapist That's Right for You

Photo by TienDat Nguyen on Unsplash

Selecting a therapist is a crucial decision, as partnering with the right one can significantly aid in reclaiming your life and sustaining your wellbeing. When you know what to look for and what would best address your specific concerns, choosing a therapist can be a positive and productive initial step toward better mental health.

Determine Therapy Objectives 

Identifying your therapy goals can help you select the right therapist. This can narrow your options if you want therapy for a particular issue. Consider focusing on things like:

●       Managing stress

●       Improving interpersonal relationships

●       Coping with grief

●       Addressing past trauma

●       Overcoming phobias

●       Dealing with a mental health condition you have or suspect you might have

●       Resolving an emotional issue in your life

Once you understand what you want from therapy, communicate these goals clearly to your potential therapist. Remember that certain issues, such as relationships and stress, may not require extensive specialized training from your therapist, while conditions like depression might benefit from it.

If you're unsure what to focus on but know you want to talk to someone, that's perfectly fine. A capable therapist will help you identify and work towards your goals through therapy.

Explore Online Therapy 

Accessing therapy online can enhance the likelihood of finding a therapist that fits your needs. Research indicates that online therapy sessions can improve well-being by providing effective alternatives to traditional methods. One study found that individuals with depression experienced symptom improvement after participating in online sessions (Marcelle, 2019). However, some situations may be better suited for in-person therapy, so it’s important to discuss your specific goals and background with a potential therapist.

Experience and Expertise

One key reason to consult a specialist rather than just chatting with a friend is their expertise. You should look for a therapist experienced in treating the specific issues you face. Many therapists focus on areas like depression or eating disorders. Those with extensive experience have encountered problems like yours many times, which broadens their perspective and deepens their understanding. For conditions such as trauma or PTSD, consulting a specialist is particularly important.

Investigate Availability

Some highly-rated in-person therapists often have long waitlists, making online therapy a more attractive option (as online therapists typically don't commute, they tend to have more availability).

While you might see someone with extensive experience, the wait time may be longer than you'd like. This can be significant depending on the challenges you're facing. If you're deeply struggling, waiting months for an appointment may not be feasible. When interviewing therapists, it's beneficial to inquire about their availability.

Out-of-Pocket or Insurance?

While paying out-of-pocket rather than using insurance can be less convenient, it does have benefits. Therapy is often a sensitive matter, and paying directly can help protect your privacy since insurance companies typically require your mental health history before covering any costs.

Direct payment also opens up access to specialized services that might not be covered by insurance, allows you to avoid high deductibles, and offers the flexibility of scheduling sessions. Additionally, some therapists provide sliding scale fees for clients on lower budgets, adjusting their rates based on your income to make sessions more affordable.


Don't let therapy expenses prevent you from seeking the help you deserve. By doing some research, you can find a therapist who meets both your needs and your budget.

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