How to Find a Good Therapist Near Me
Choosing to see a therapist is a big step no matter what your reason. Whether you need help with particular problems or want to find more direction, good therapy will make a major difference. The next step is generally asking the question: “how do I find therapy near me?”
The process of actually finding a therapist can seem daunting. Some feel uncomfortable asking for recommendations, as in some communities there is still a stigma around it. Others are put off by high hourly rates. There are those who simply do not have anyone to ask for a referral.
These days, finding a therapist is a lot easier than it once was. If you’re uncomfortable asking a friend, you can find recommendations online. There are also online alternatives which are not only cheaper and more accessible, but also suit many people better.
In this article, we’re going to take you through every step in the process of finding not just a good therapist, but the right therapist for you.
How Do I Start Looking?
Before you start looking for “therapy near me,” you need to decide what kind of therapy fits you best. While this question is a little trickier today than it once was, this is for the best. There are now different types of therapy to choose from, making it more likely you’ll find the right therapist.
Traditional therapy has been around in some form for over 100 years. It has evolved significantly since the early days when Freudian psychoanalysis was the only option. However, the basic concept has remained the same. You sit in a private room with a therapist and talk through your problems.
There are many different approaches taken by traditional therapists. Some stay relatively quiet throughout the session, while others will have a lot more of a direct, guiding hand. Anyone who is fully licensed and has good testimonials will be more than capable of helping you, regardless of their approach. But if you know a bit about the different approaches, and one of them appeals to you more than the others, you may want to search specifically for “therapy near me” that follows your preferred approach.
Online therapy is obviously a relatively new innovation which makes finding good therapy near me a lot easier. Online therapy generally refers to therapy carried out via video or voice calling. An online platform matches you with a therapist suitable for your needs who also has availability.
The major difference between online and traditional therapy is that you are not in the same room as the therapist. In all other senses, therapy is virtually the same. Therapists use one approach or another, or one that is more eclectic. Therapy relies on a relationship between the therapist and the client. Therapy takes place in scheduled sessions on a regular basis.
For some, lack of physical proximity may be a disadvantage, especially if their internet connection does not facilitate clear and fast video or audio. However, there are also many advantages to online therapy. Online platforms use sophisticated questionnaires and algorithms to match clients with the most appropriate therapist. They will provide all the information on the therapist that a client needs to make an informed decision. Schedules tend to be far more flexible, and travel or waiting time does not need to be accounted for. Those who would be worried about being seen going into a therapist’s offices no longer have that obstacle.
The therapist is also generally more available for quick check-ins or urgent sessions when necessary. And, of course, it is somewhat cheaper. Finding a therapist near me using online therapy is definitely the easier option.
While most online therapy is primarily based around voice or video connection, some platforms offer a text/chat only option. This makes finding a therapist near you incredibly simple. However, it comes with its drawbacks.
Therapy that occurs primarily over text is mistrusted by many mental health professionals and researchers. Only one study thus far has supported its efficacy. Therapy traditionally relies on a strong relationship between therapist and client, something which is difficult to achieve over text. Furthermore, we’ve all had the experience of misunderstanding someone over text, or being misunderstood, simply because tone does not come through. Misunderstandings in a therapeutic context can be dangerous.
On the other hand, proponents of text/chat therapy point out that it is better than nothing. Those who would not have pursued any type of therapy were it not for text therapy, are better off for it.
Finding text/chat therapy near me is simple, but the extra accessibility comes at a cost.
When looking for traditional therapy near me, using recommendation lists is one of the most common options. The website Psychology Today has a quite comprehensive list of therapists, which can be searched by city or ZIP code. Psychologists are listed along with a write-up of their own, their specialties, their therapeutic approach(es), contact details, location, average cost, and more. The website also tells you if their information has been verified by Psychology Today.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers a similarly comprehensive list of therapists with a similar gamut of information. The APA list also allows you to search by specialty.
Once you’ve found a therapist who you think might suit you, searching their name to find any online reviews can sometimes prove helpful.
What Kind of Therapist Should I Look For?
What confuses a lot of people is the different types of professionals available to provide therapy. Many mistake the role of a psychiatrist for that of a therapist. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical professional who can diagnose mental illnesses and prescribe medication. Not everyone seeking therapy needs this, and those that do generally need to seek therapy elsewhere as well. Psychiatrists do not specialize in providing therapy, after all, although they are trained in psychotherapy. Many do not offer it.
But even among those offering therapy, there are a range of different titles, which you should understand before seeking therapy near me.
A psychologist is an expert in psychology who holds a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) in the field. Since their doctorate is not medical in nature, they are not permitted to prescribe medication. However, they are experts at providing therapy, and are familiar with a range of approaches. They have necessarily had thousands of hours of experience before achieving their doctorate, and can generally provide various types of therapy. Nonetheless, they usually have a specialty in which they prefer to practice and have the most knowledge and experience.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) hold at least a master’s degree in counseling, and have over 3,000 hours of post-master’s experience. They are licensed or certified to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders. While they do not necessarily hold a doctoral degree, they are nonetheless experts in their fields and should provide excellent treatment.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) provides many of the same functions as an LPC. They have somewhat different educational backgrounds, with a social worker requiring at least a master’s degree in social work, rather than counseling. They provide social services in health-related settings which are governed by managed care organizations. They focus on improving a person’s psychological and social functioning. Social workers often help people function in their particular environment, and are therefore useful for those seeking to deal with relationship, work, and financial problems.
Family and Marriage Therapists
Family and marriage therapists are licensed counselors (LMFT) who specialize in helping couples and families. Rather than meeting in a one-on-one setting, they meet with couples or whole families, in order to find solutions to dysfunction in the relationship(s). They can help couples get through tough times or, when necessary, to end a relationship in a way that is least damaging. On the other hand, many couples seek out couples’ therapy despite having identified no dysfunction. They recognize that relationships come with no guidebooks, and that a therapist can help them learn how best to support each other and maintain a healthy partnership.
Family therapists identify damaging patterns in families, along with the roles each member has unconsciously taken on. They help the family make changes in how they relate to each other, as well as to step away from roles which are only exacerbating problems.
How Do I Assess Potential Therapists?
Before settling on a therapist, you will want to assess their suitability for you. The first step is ensuring that they have the relevant certification and licensing from the American Psychological Association (APA). This filters out those who do not have the training or experience to help you.
Of course, that does not mean all remaining therapists are right for you. On the APA or Psychology Today lists, you can get an idea of their particular specialties and approaches. By searching their names online, you may find independent reviews or testimonials that help you make your decision. It is important to note that some clients take out their frustrations on their therapist when the process is not working, even if the therapist has done the best possible job. Therefore, one or two negative reviews are inevitable. If all reviews are negative, it may be a good idea to search for alternatives.
With online therapy, assessing a potential therapist is somewhat easier. The platform will set you up with appropriate therapists based on your particular needs, and information and reviews of the therapist will be readily available. Since physical proximity is not relevant, you will not have the pressure of choosing only from the options nearby. You can therefore choose the therapist who appeals to you the most, rather than the one within driving distance.
What Do I Do to Set Up the First Session?
This depends on the format of the therapy and the therapists themselves. With online therapy, the website will have clear instructions and a simple system to set up the first session. Available slots will be provided, and you will be able to choose which suits you best without having to call or email the therapist.
With traditional therapy, it depends on the therapist. Some have modern platforms on their professional websites, which show you available slots and take your relevant information. Others will require you to phone or email them to set up an appointment and will take your basic information at the first session.
What Happens in the First Session?
In the first therapy session, your therapist will try to get to know you. They will try to get a basic understanding of your history, your present circumstances, as well as what you wish to gain from therapy. They will take some of the most basic information on forms you’ll fill out before the session begins, either online or in person. The rest of it they will discuss with you. They will give you an idea of what you can expect from them, and will try to come to an agreement of what each you will commit to the process. Those therapists that expect you to do “homework,” for example, will let you know this and will discuss how you feel about this.
You can also ask any questions that have been bothering you, and provide the information you think it is most important for the therapist to know about you.
Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist
Ask a potential therapist about their professional qualification and license, if you have not been able to establish this yet. Ask them about their approach and whether they believe they’re the right person for your particular needs. Furthermore, ask them how often they will need to see you in order for change to be made. Some therapists will want you to come in weekly, others once every second week, and some as often as twice a week.
You can also ask how long they expect therapy to last – whether it is open-ended or whether they prefer to work towards an end-point in the process.
Find a Therapist Now on ThriveTalk
For excellent online therapy, ThriveTalk is an online platform that matches you with an experienced therapist based on your needs and preferences. ThriveTalk has a team of committed therapists, each with their own specialties and approaches. The simple online process will help you find a great therapist in minutes. You can then use the online booking system to set up a free 15-minute consultation.
Finding therapy near me is no longer the difficult process it once was. Online lists and platforms make finding the right therapist far more seamless. You can learn all about a therapist, their specialties, and approaches online, and online platforms will match you with the most suitable option for you.
If you’re looking for a “therapist near me,” the resources are at your fingertips. Use this information to make an informed choice.