5 Tips on Finding the Right Therapist for You
Updated: Mar 28
This Relationship Needs to Feel Right
If you want to find the right therapist for you, then you may need to search by casting a wide net because you may have heard that "nobody has openings" or you may have encountered other barriers to treatment.
There are many factors that can impact the process of finding a therapist.
Here are five tips you can take to the bank that will help you expand your search and increase the chances of success in finding the right therapist for you.
1.) Search Google and Take a Deep Look into the Results
Keywords. Keywords. Keywords.
Many therapists in private practice try to design their websites carefully. They pay attention to certain keywords that describe what their ideal clients might be searching for because they want to organically improve their online visibility and rank higher in Google's list of search results. This process is called "Search Engine Optimization" or "SEO".
For example, maybe you're a guy living in New York. You've been hearing for a while about how meaningful therapy has been for a few of your buddies, and you've decided to start searching for a therapist of your own. You may be more likely to find the right therapist for you who specializes in therapy for men's issues or mindful masculinity by searching Google for these keywords.
"therapy for men nyc"
"therapy for men's issues nyc"
"mindful masculinity therapy nyc"
When Google shows you search results, don't just settle for the first few website listings you see. You may end up finding the right therapist for you if you scan through several pages of the Google search results. Not every rock star therapist is showing up on page one of Google.
If you only pay attention to the first few search results shown on each page, then you're likely viewing links for the many big tech companies that invested big money into the therapy industry. They have big online visibility through digital marketing and advertising because they pay big money to Google for clicks to their websites. This is called "Search Engine Marketing" or "SEM".
Just because big tech figured out how to make Google like them (pay to rank their website higher), doesn't necessarily mean that that's how you'll find the right therapist for you.
SEO or SEM marketing strategies are not necessarily "bad" on their own or combined together. It's just good for you, as a potential client, to know about them because then you can understand more about the process of what shows up in your search results, and why or how it's ranked.
Believe you me, you can probably get better help and a safe space to talk without the big tech risks by connecting with a rock star therapist who is working in private practice.
2.) Search Online Therapist Directories
There are so many profiles of so many therapists listed on so many online therapist directories. Fortunately, some other people have already done some of the work for you by trying to identify and highlight some of these therapist directories.
Here is The Ultimate List of Online Directories for Therapists posted by Daniel Fava, who runs a website called "Create My Therapist Website". It's full of nearly 100 online directories where therapists can make a profile and/or list their services. One benefit here is that it includes an expansive list of many different types of directories, which can help you cast a wide net to get started and then also help you narrow down your search as you find the right therapist for you.
Here are a few of the profiles that I created through a few different online therapist directories:
3.) Search Social Media
Social Media has become a big part of life for many of us these days.
Just like I said about searching Google and searching Online Therapist Directories, I'll say something similar for Social Media - there are so many accounts of so many therapists who are actively engaged on so many different Social Media platforms. They want you to find them!
Just like with Google, type in some specific keywords about mental health and therapy stuff, and see what comes up. Search hashtags, where you can find posts from therapists who want their content seen. Please keep in mind, though, that Social Media is not a substitute or a replacement for therapy or mental health treatment with a licensed and qualified professional.
Here are a few of the Social Media accounts that I created for Verve Psychotherapy:
I also understand that Social Media comes with its own share of risks and benefits.
4.) Search by Word of Mouth and Ask Around
Referral options and leads on therapists are out there waiting for you to find them - just ask!
Here are a few examples of people who may know, like, and trust some therapists to refer you to:
Your Primary Care Physician or General Practitioner
Your (Partner's) OBGYN
Your (Partner's) Doula or Midwife
Your (Partner's) Yoga Instructor
Your Physical Therapist
Your Employer's HR Department (Ask for the "Employee Assistance Program" or "EAP")
Your Insurance Company
Your Professor, Academic Advisor, or University Counseling Center
Your Kid's Teacher, Guidance Counselor, or Day Care Center
Your Friendly Neighbor (and, maybe also your Not-So-Friendly Neighbor)
The stigma of therapy is evaporating gradually. Mental health is health. We all have mental health just like we all have physical health. You deserve to find the right therapist for you because you're human. It's time that we crush the stigma and normalize therapy for everyone.
5.) Search for Therapists Who Offer Free Phone Consultations
Free Phone Consultations, which I believe should be an industry standard, can save you precious time, energy, and money while you're diligently trying to find the right therapist for you.
As you scan websites, online directory profiles, and social media accounts, take a close look to figure out who offers free phone consultations and who doesn't. For me, it's a bit telling, isn't it?
Anyone who contacts me for a phone consultation gets at least 15 minutes of my time for free. It's my way of paying it forward because I want to help you find the right therapist for you.
Check out "A Beginner's Guide to Therapy" by Therapy Den for more tips to get you started:
When you scroll through therapists' websites and profiles, check to see if the overall vibe is more about you or more about them. Does their message speak to you or is it all them, them, them?
If a therapist's digital presence is really all about them, then what could you imagine it might be like during an actual therapy session? Will it really be all about you - the client?
You need to be able to see, hear, and feel that the therapist gets you from the very first interaction - even if it's online or over the phone - because you're the one who is investing your time, energy, and money to find professional support. This relationship needs to feel right.
Maybe you're feeling like I could be a good fit. Maybe you've found the right therapist for you. Joining you through the truth here - you won't know until you know. Even if we're not a good fit, then I'll definitely offer a few suggested referral options for therapists who I know, like, and trust.
Either way, I hope you find the right therapist for you. Let me know if I can help.
You can book a free 15 minute phone consultation with me online by clicking here.
You can book an intake appointment with me any time online by clicking here.
Or, you can send me a quick message or share feedback online by clicking here.
Phone: (212) 287 - 4027
Email: Click the envelope icon at the bottom.
About the Author:
Matthew Braman, LCSW is the Founder & CEO / Therapist of Verve Psychotherapy LCSW, PLLC; Your Right Hand Therapy Man.