These days it seems every time I tell someone I’m a therapist, usually the first thing they say is, “It’s so hard to find a good therapist.”
Unless you know a therapist, counselor, or a psychologist, finding one can be challenging, intimidating, frustrating, and confusing. Often, this causes people to give up – making it the biggest reason people wait too long to get help.
Either people are intimidated by the process of trying to find the best therapist for them so they avoid it or put it off. Others are unfamiliar with what therapy is really like and fear the unknown. And for others (especially men), they may have had a negative experience in counseling or therapy in the past and are hesitant to try again.
Research has clearly shown that the number biggest factor in determining success in therapy is the connection between client and therapist.
But how do you find a “therapist near me?”
Ask A Friend or Family Member
Some of us don’t openly talk about therapy, but it’s more common than you might think. Ask a friend or family member if they’ve ever been in therapy and if they could give you the name of a trusted provider. You might be surprised to hear their answer!
Or simply asking, “Do you know how to find a good therapist?” might reveal some great resources, not to mention the possibility of a meaningful conversation.
Ask Someone who works in the medical Field
Maybe you have a trusted friend or family member who’s in the counseling field. Great! Ask them, “Who’s your favorite therapist to refer clients to?”
Often, therapists and counselors have a network they refer to in the event that they’re not a good fit for a potential client whatever the reason may be (whether specialty, scheduling conflict, rates and insurance, etc.).
I primarily work with adults and teens so I have a few therapists I refer to when I receive calls from parents seeking counseling and therapy for their younger children, or if I get referrals for situations outside my scope of practice.
Ask Your Doctor
Typically, primary care offices, and sometimes specialty healthcare offices, have therapists they refer to when their patients ask. You probably don’t even have to schedule an appointment. Just the office and ask the administration team if they have therapists they refer to. Of course, if you’re more comfortable asking the doctor directly, you can always ask to speak with them.
Check with Your Attorney
Believe it or not attorneys often have a network of therapists they refer to as their clients often need further support. Divorce attorneys are a great place to start. They may know of therapists they refer to for divorce counseling or relationship counseling when their clients ask. Probate and Real Estate attorneys are another great source as they likely have clients in need of anxiety counseling.
Google can help you find a good therapist
If you’ve exhausted all of the above, or none of the above apply to you, a simple Google search might provide you what you’re looking for.
Depending on your issue, you might search for “therapist near me for anxiety” or “best anxiety therapist near me.” When you hit search, you may be overwhelmed and confused the results. Usually at the top of the page you will see “Ad” next to some of the results. This means these are people or companies who are paying for advertising with Google to have their information shown at the top of the page.
Next you’ll likely see a Map with pins and some results as well. This is referred to as the 3-Pack. These are results based on your current location which is based on your IP address of your internet service provider or you mobile phone location. If you click on the “More Places” icon at the bottom, this will take you more results based on your location.
Just underneath the Google 3-Pack what are referred to as the organic search results. These are typically websites that have been around a while with high quality content (as determined by Google, not users).
Using Google to find a therapist is often the best way for some as it provides for anonymity but it requires time and searching and reading. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in.
Explore a Therapist Directory
Therapist directories give you an opportunity to filter for issues treated, gender of therapist, age group(s) treated, language spoken, and types of therapy offered. Here are a few therapist directories to try: Psychology Today, Zencare, or Therapy Den.
Admitting you need therapy can be hard. However, the next step doesn’t have to be. If you follow these suggestions, it will get you in the right direction. Finding a therapist is a bit like dating; you might have to go on a few bad dates before you find the right one.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists take control and move From Surviving to Thriving.