Top Skills Thursday: Find a therapist

It’s such an obvious thing, isn’t it? If you’re having trouble with anxiety or depression, find a therapist.

Don’t ask me why, even for those of us who have successfully used therapists in the past, it’s not the first thing we think of.

What I’ve learned is that it’s sometimes quite a bit harder than it looks. Here are some things to help you find the right therapist for you. 1) Does it matter if your therapist is male or female? Not because either is more qualified, but because you may be more at ease when speaking to someone who is of a specific gender.

2) Do you need or want a particular type of therapist? The different types are why I’ve worked on the Therapy Tuesday series, to let everyone know what options we have and how to find the ones tailored to our current situations.

3) What are your goals? Do you need help with something you’re trying to overcome? Is your anxiety causing issues again?

4) What resources do you have to cover the cost? Therapy isn’t cheap. Most insurance will cover it, and many employers have a program to provide a set of free sessions each year. If you don’t have insurance, what programs in your area will provide free or deeply reduced-cost therapy? Do you have a spiritual leader who provides emergency counseling?

5) Speaking of insurance, if you have coverage, use it and call the insurance company for referrals. They’ll help you locate someone near your home or work so you don’t have a long trip. They’ll also help you find someone that meets the criteria you need.

6) Can you commit to going? This really is the most important part of therapy. If you can’t commit to keeping your appointments, you may not be ready yet. You have to go to your appointments without fail if you want to see results. You have to do any “homework.” If you don’t, your progress will appear solid and then fall away.

Lastly, I’m going to provide some resources to finding therapists. These are national organizations who do attempt to provide quality resources. They, and I, can’t promise you anything. You’ll have to find out who is in your area and see if they’re a good fit for you.

Don’t forget to talk to friends who are seeing a therapist. Ask what they like and dislike about theirs. You may be able to get an appointment faster if they ask the therapist directly, and you’ll have the insight of someone you trust to help you know if it’s the right person to help you.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255  If you’re in crisis and thinking of harming yourself in any way, please call this number. You’re too important to let yourself fight your wounds alone.

N.A.M.I (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a fantastic resource. They offer tips on finding a mental health specialist at this link.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers this page ( to help you find a therapist in your area. If you haven’t ever struggled with addiction, don’t be afraid to look at this list. These are doctors who are able to handle situations where mental health and substance abuse are causing problems. They can still help you.

APA (American Psychiatric Assosciation) is another good resource. They offer a provider search at this page.

There are, of course, many other options for finding help out there. I hope these will give you a hand the next time you need to find someone. Do remember, finding a therapist might take a little time. You’re not bound to one therapist by contract or lifetime commitment. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, if you aren’t making progress, or anything seems off, just find someone else. YOU are the most important person in their office.

All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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