By Carissa Weber, MA, LPC, CSAC
How do you know you and your therapist is a good fit for one another? This question, I feel, is the one thing that stops therapy in its tracks before it even starts.
In this post, I want to go over how to find a therapist, how you will know you have met the right therapist for you, and what to do if the therapist you’re seeing isn’t right for you.
How do I find a therapist?
Great question! There are a lot of ways to find a therapist that is right for you. If you have insurance, I highly recommend calling your insurance company and asking for a list of therapists or therapist offices that are “in-network.” These would be the list of providers that your insurance covers.
If you can’t get that list, or you don’t have insurance, there are many different platforms to find therapists in your area and that fit what you need help with. These platforms give a description of the therapist, what issues they specialize in, any treatment modalities they use, and how to schedule an appointment with them. Along with this, a therapist platform will also tell you where the therapist is located, if they take any kinds of insurance, or even if they have availabilities. Here are some of the therapist platforms I have used (and have profiles on):
- Psychology Today: this platform provides a search base that helps you find a therapist based on your location. You can then filter through the results to read the bios of therapists and if you would be a good fit.
- Mental Health Match: similar to Psychology Today, Mental Health Match helps you not just find a therapist local to you, but helps you match with a therapist based on your goals for therapy. Their matching system explores your interests, learning styles, and treatment methods that interest you.
- Therapy Den: What I love about Therapy Den is their standard of self-affirmation of clients. They promote therapists that are respectful of dignity, equal rights, and celebrate sexual and gender diversity.
- Open Path Collective: If your insurance doesn’t cover therapy, or you struggle to meet the financial obligation to go to therapy, Open Path Collective is for you. They list therapists in their directory that only offer therapy sessions for $30-60 a session. They do have you complete a financial form to affirm you make under $100,000 a year, but this helps you unlock therapy at a price that doesn’t make you stress out.
How do you know you’ve found the right therapist?
When you start working with a therapist, it might feel a bit awkward at first. That is because you have just met your therapist and are just getting to know one another. This is common and normal. You will know they are a good match with you when:
- You feel validated and heard in your sessions
- There is mutual respect between the two of you
- You are able to be your genuine self and have honest communication with your therapist
- Your therapist takes your experiences and helps create coping skills that fit with your needs
As you feel these things, it allows you to explore topics and areas of your life that have contributed to your mental health. This helps build your confidence in being vulnerable with your therapist. You know therapy is starting to work for you when you start to notice the following:
- Being brave enough to tell your therapist “No” or that they are off base (e.g. – “That isn’t really working)
- Increasing your comfort levels with being vulnerable and honest about your experiences
- Accomplishing the goals that you want to accomplish
These things translate over into your personal and professional life. Meaning, you will feel comfortable asserting boundaries with your boss, you can share what you’re feeling with your partner, and have the motivation to accomplish that project you shoved in your closet months ago.
What if I don’t feel connected with my therapist?
Sometimes, it takes a few meetings to know if you and your therapist is a good match. What happens if you are not a good match? Switch to a different therapist!
As therapists, we understand if you don’t feel connected to us, it will be hard to develop a relationship that supports your growth and your goals. Sometimes, personalities don’t mesh. That’s okay. If that is the case, therapists are able to give you referrals to other therapists that could be that match for you.
What happens if I like my therapist, but they don’t have appointment times I need?
It can be tough to meet every single person’s time needs. Talking with your therapist about your time commitments can help you two problem-solve a solution that meets both of your time needs without overstepping boundaries.
Now, if you are struggling to find a therapist or therapist office that is able to meet your time needs, you have a few different therapy options:
- Pace.Groups – This group therapy-style support group pairs you up in a group of six people and a trained group facilitator for weekly group meetings. They have various times during the day that they meet, which means you could find something that could fit your schedule.
- Online Therapy options- in today’s world, there are a lot of options out there for teletherapy. In case you’ve missed it, teletherapy is getting your therapy needs met through video or phone modalities. Over the last 5 years, there have been great developments in teletherapy. Heck, even my own practice, The Joyful Mind, is all telehealth. Here is a list of online therapy options that offer unique scheduling hours:
- Cerebral: Cerebral offers therapy, dietary, and psychiatric options to help you see a therapist, manage your eating habits, and get medications if you need it.
- TalkSpace: Available in all 50 states, TalkSpace hires licensed professionals and helps you pair with a therapist that is right for you. With TalkSpace, you can choose to use your insurance to pay, or pay out of pocket.
- Calmmery: this is a newer option but offers more than just video therapy. They also have a feature that allows you to text with a therapist as well as receive daily mental health help.
Hopefully this post outlined some really helpful resources to help you find the therapist that will work best to help you meet your goals.