How to Find a Therapist When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Amber Murphy
Amber Murphy

Finding a therapist can be hard depending on what you are going through and why and how fast you need to see one. The challenge is that when we realize we need a therapist, it’s when we’re at our lowest. It can be hard to take action and the time to find one. 

If you’re at this point, you’ve likely reached a point where self-treatment is no longer sufficient to deal with your condition. You may have tried different techniques such as meditation to deal with stress, or tried to unwind at night to get rid of anxiety.

There are also different types of therapists, depending on your needs or condition that you need help with. In this post, we’re going to offer a general template and series of steps in the hopes that it will make it easier for you to find a therapist and get help.

1. Do your research

To start out, do your own research on the side. Pull out your phone, laptop, or jump onto your tablet and start Googling.

This is one of the fastest ways to find someone. Read their reviews, but don’t just stop there. Looking for a therapist is not only hard to do because they’re hard to get a hold of, but you don’t want to waste your time either.

More than likely, you will be able to see if they’re a good fit for you based on the kind of things that they deal with. Are you depressed? If so, then I would suggest looking for someone who only deals with depression. Are you trying to deal with the death of a loved one? Do your research to see if the therapist specializes in grief counseling.

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Going to a professional who understands what you’re going through is not only very important, but it could make your experience a hundred times better. The more information that you will be able to find, the easier it will be for you to make your decision.

Create a shortlist of the therapists you find. Pick from the top five on your list and go through each one of those, and if it does not work out with one, you already have four more on the list!

Doing your due diligence and research ahead of time ensures you’re informed and comfortable before going to your first session. It also helps start the treatment process. Many people find the process of finding a therapist cathartic because it feels like they are beginning to solve their problem.

2. Call them

Using phone to find therapist

This is one that you probably don’t hear a lot because it can be hard to get someone on the phone if you are not a patient of theirs. Here is how you get one of the professionals onto the phone.

First, take a deep breath and do something that allows you to stay calm under pressure. Call the number that you find online, and when someone answers, it is probably going to be one of the therapist’s assistants and say:

“Hello, my name is Amber. I am calling because I am looking for a new therapist and I was wondering if there was anyway that you could let me talk to the therapist because I have a couple of questions and I know that the only person who can answer them is him/her.”

What to ask the therapist

When you get transferred over to the therapist or if you’re lucky enough to get a hold of her/him directly, this is what you say then:

“Hello, my name is Amber. I am calling because I am going through this issue (and name the issue). I was wondering if you could tell me the amount of experience you have dealing with this issue. Is there anything that you could tell me about the treatment plan that you would offer me? What is your success rate for turning people who are dealing with what I have around? How long is the treatment plan going to be? Do you suggest that someone in my position be on medications? Is there anything else that you can tell me that would be beneficial to me seeing you for my problems? Can you refer me to someone if you feel like you’re not the right person to help?”

The reason you want to call and ask these questions is so you can be writing down the answers and making a profile for each therapist, this is going to help you narrow your options down to the therapist that’s the best fit for you and your needs.

It will also make you feel better, giving you peace of mind in terms of what is going to happen when you go in on your first visit, what kind of treatment plan they’re going to put you through, and how they’re going to deal with your situation. Some may even offer some immediate relief or advice depending on the severity of your situation. In some cases they’ll offer anxiety exercises you can follow or give you simple tips so you can learn how to meditate on your own at home.

Remember that this person is someone who you may potentially share a lot of personal problems and things with. You’ll want to ensure you get a good gut feeling about the person, along with them being qualified to properly address your issues and help you.

3. Ask friends and family members

Talking with a friend

I know that sometimes this can be a very personal situation and maybe, you don’t want to talk to your friends or your family about why you are going or what you’re going through, and that is perfectly fine. That’s probably why you’re trying to find a therapist.

However, let’s say that you have a friend or family member who was really down before, and now they seem to be doing a lot better. Talk to them and see how they dealt with it.

Did they see a therapist, and if so, who was it? What did they treat them for? How long did they have to go through treatment? Are they still currently seeing this therapist?

Sometimes friends and family give the best advice, this includes other things that you are going through as well, so you never know, one of them might have a recommendation. It can also help if you’re dealing with loneliness, especially if part of the reason you’re seeking a therapist is for that reason.

Get a friend to find one for you

You can also ask your friends and family to try to find a therapist for you. If you’re comfortable sharing your issue with someone and you’re struggling to find the time and energy to find a therapist yourself (especially if you’re suffering from the problem that you need to see a therapist for), ask a friend or family member to help you.

Let them do the research for you or find a recommendation for you. You don’t need to go through this recovery journey alone.

If you’re finding that the search for a therapist is creating anxiety or affecting your mental health, find your most trusted person and give them this project. It’s important to let them know why you need them to do this for you. Be honest and open here.

4. Go to an online match maker

Online you can find sites where you can type in what it is that you are going through in terms of your symptoms, and the site will be able to match you with a therapist who is right for you based on your needs directly.

This way, there are no questions, no searching, no hassle. Just type in the information, and then it will send you on your way. Sometimes they will send you to online therapists, and occasionally they will send you to someone in your area. This depends on why you need to be seen, where you live and what your insurance covers.

Some sites even allow you to chat with someone online before being matched up or after being matched.

Again, ensure you do your due diligence. Find external reviews from people that have used the sites to get matched up with a therapist. See if the site also offers user reviews for the therapists on the site.

Here are some sites that you can start to begin your journey:

Whether you’re going to call them, email them, use an online therapist, or you’re going to the one that your neighbors best friend refers you to, one thing is for sure: Do yourself a favor and make sure that you do your research on whoever it is that you decided that you’re going to go with.

Finding a therapist is hard enough; don’t make it a tougher situation by having to go through a hundred different ones. Have you had success finding a therapist? Share it in the comments below and give your best advice.

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