A patient sits on a couch while talking to her therapist who is engaging with her and taking notes.

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Finding the right therapist is the first hurdle to cross if you are considering therapy for a variety of reasons.

The researchers found that the bond between you and your therapist is likely to have a big impact on your growth. It is important to research, ask questions, and pay attention to your own responses in your search for a therapist that is right for you.

There are some tried and true methods for finding a therapist.

If you plan to pay for therapy through your insurance plan, you should look through the provider network.

It is a good idea to find out if your plan limits the number of sessions you can attend each year and if using an out-of-network therapist will affect your out-of-pocket costs.

Looking for ways to support your mental health and well-being? Try Healthline’s FindCare tool to connect with mental health professionals nearby or virtually so you can get the care you need.

A referral from a friend, colleague, or doctor is a good way to find a therapist who is a good fit for you.

It is important to remember that you may have different needs and goals with your therapy than the person giving you the recommendation.

A good match for one of you might not be beneficial to the other.

A number of mental health organizations have databases of licensed therapists.

You could start your search by typing in your ZIP code. You can look for marriage and family counselors who focus on drug and alcohol use.

Some of the most popular online search tools include:

Your community may also have resources to help you. If you’re a student, your school might provide access to a counseling center.

If you are employed, your human resources team might offer a list of therapists.

If you need counseling related to domestic or sexual abuse, you might be able to find group or individual therapy through a local advocacy organization.

If you want your faith to inform your treatment, you might consider contacting your church, synagogue, mosque, or other worship center for a list of licensed therapists affiliated with your faith.

If you are looking for a therapist to help with a mental health condition, you can find them through a national association, network, or helpline.

There are a few organizations that offer search tools to help find a therapist.

If your job is causing stress and anxiety, you might want to look into local therapists.

Many of these organizations and trade unions have resources to help you identify professionals who can assist with mental health needs. For example, the International Association of Firefighters offers help with mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use.

Resources for people of color

Access to culture-conscious therapists is important for your well-being. Here are some resources to consider when looking for a therapist:

What do you want to accomplish in therapy? Studies have found that when you and your therapist both work together toward the same goals, your outlook will be better.

If you think a medication may help with your symptoms, you should look for a doctor who can prescribe it.

If you’ve heard that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy have been effective for others with your condition, you’ll want to look for a therapist with certifications or specialized training in those treatment approaches.

If you want to be part of a supportive network of people who understand your experiences, you may want to consider looking for a therapist who’s involved with support groups or group therapy sessions.

As you work with a therapist, your goals may change. As your needs change, it is a good idea to talk with your therapist about changing the direction of your treatment plan.

Talkspace and Betterhelp both offer tools to help you explore the kind of therapy you want. They can also match you with a licensed, accredited therapist you can work with online or via phone.

Digital therapy platforms are more convenient and affordable than in-person therapy. There are weekly sessions for online therapy.

At least one study found that people with depression felt that their symptoms improved after online sessions. It’s worth noting, however, that two of the researchers involved with this study were consultants or employees of the digital therapy provider used.

It is not uncommon to forget every question you want to ask when you meet your therapist.

To make sure you have the information you need to make a good decision, keep paper and a pen, or a notes app handy for a few days before your meeting. As they come to you, take down questions.

The The American Psychological Association is a group. suggests a few questions for you to consider asking your therapist during your first session:

  • Are you a licensed psychologist?
  • How many years have you been practicing?
  • How much experience do you have working with people who are dealing with issues?
  • What is your specialty or area of expertise?
  • What kinds of treatments have you used to resolve the issue?
  • What insurance do you accept?
  • Will I have to pay you directly or will you bill the insurance company?
  • Are you a part of my network?
  • Do you accept Medicaid or Medicare?

The The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a national organization. adds questions like these:

  • Can you prescribe or recommend a medication for me?
  • Do you offer access to services?
  • How soon can I feel better?
  • “What do we do if our treatment plan isn’t working?”

If you have ever been abused by someone in authority or have been affected by historic trauma, you may want to ask questions to find out if a potential therapist is culturally aware.

Your own feelings of trust and comfort should be your top priority, no matter how many professional accreditations your therapist has. Will therapy be uncomfortable? Possibly. You will likely be discussing difficult, personal topics.

It is all right to look for someone else if you feel uncomfortable with your therapist.

“You don’t need a reason to switch therapists. It’s enough that you don’t feel comfortable.”

There are a few things to notice when talking to your therapist.

  • Does the therapist listen to what you are saying?
  • How does your body feel during therapy? Do you feel tense?
  • Does the therapist respect your time?
  • Does the therapist take your concerns into account?
  • Do you feel respected and heard during your session?

Teletherapy, which is done remotely over the phone or via videoconferencing, makes it easy to explore therapy and its options. It’s convenient, and studies have shown that therapy conducted over video chat can be just as effective as in-person therapy.

Here are some options.

  • BetterHelp: This option has over 12,000 licensed professionals in its network, including psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists. BetterHelp therapists can help people with anxiety, depression, addiction, grief, and other issues.
  • Talkspace: With over 3,000 licensed therapists, Talkspace offers options for people with a wide range of needs, from depression to PTSD. They offer counseling for individuals, couples, and teens.
  • Amwell: If you’re looking for physical and psychological health services, with doctor or therapist visits available 24/7, Amwell is a great user-friendly platform. Couple and individual therapy sessions are available for trauma, depression, life transitions, and more.
  • Teen Counseling: This is a great resource for teens ages 13 to 19 and caregivers. The therapists in Teen Counseling specialize in issues affecting teens, such as stress and eating disorders. The platform offers live chats, phone calls, videoconferencing, and messaging with licensed therapists.
  • Pride Counseling: This options offers safe and supportive mental health services for LGBTQ+ people. Pride Counseling matches you with a counselor who fits your therapy objectives and needs.

Mental health conditions and emotional well-being are treated by therapists and psychiatrists. There are differences between the two professions.


Mental health professionals include therapists. They want to help people manage their emotions, build healthier relationships, and understand themselves better.

Therapists use talk therapy and behavior modification techniques to help people make positive life changes. During therapy, they can assess, diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

Therapy is usually used to learn more about yourself and make lasting changes to your life. It may help people with mental health issues.

“Most therapists have a degree. All therapists have to have a master’s degree.”

“Therapists can’t prescribe drugs. In some states, psychologists with specialized training can prescribe certain drugs.”


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental health conditions. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication because they hold medical degrees.

Talk therapy and medication are used by psychiatrists to treat mental health conditions. If you experience more severe symptoms and need medication, a Psychiatrist may be the better option.

How much does therapy cost?

“The cost of therapy can be determined by a number of factors, including the therapist’s experience, the type of therapy, and the method of therapy.”

Therapists can charge between $100 and $200 per session. Therapy can cost more in bigger cities. Some therapists will offer sliding scale rates. Depending on your coverage, you may be able to pay a portion of the fee.

Teletherapy is less expensive. The price is around $50 per session. Some platforms offer unlimited therapy.

What types of therapy are there?

There are many different types of therapy, and the type you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. Some common types include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT helps you identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT combines elements of CBT with structured skill-building in mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This type of therapy focuses on your unconscious thoughts and emotions.
  • Interpersonal therapy: The focus of interpersonal therapy is on your relationships with other people.
  • Family therapy: This type of therapy helps families resolve conflict and improve communication.
  • Group therapy: In this type of therapy, you meet with a group of people who share similar experiences.
  • Art therapy: This type of therapy uses art to express emotions and help process trauma.

What are the benefits of therapy?

Improving mental health, resolving personal issues, and increasing self-awareness are some of the benefits of therapy. Therapy can help people deal with stress.

Some people think therapy can be used to prevent mental health issues or to address underlying causes of mental health conditions. Others use therapy to deal with traumas.

Therapy is an effective treatment for many mental health conditions.

Finding a therapist that can help you with a variety of issues can make a big difference.

Practical matters like licensure, insurance coverage, location, and specialties are important to consider when looking for a therapist.

Friends, colleagues, and healthcare professionals are a good source of referrals. You can find options by using the search tools provided by organizations.

When you have narrowed down your choices, it is helpful to think about your goals and questions. You can be sure that you and your therapist are on the same page.

“Finding the right therapist is a personal matter. You can build a sense of connection with your therapist even if you don’t see them in person.”