Finding a therapist in the community may seem challenging, but with information and persistence, you can connect with someone who meets your needs and your schedule. There are several resources you can check out on your own, including the Psychology Today Therapist Finder tool and your insurance company’s provider search tool.
Before Starting Your Search
Before starting to search, it can be helpful to answer a few questions for yourself:
- What am I looking for in a therapist?
- What do I want help with? (e.g. anxiety, sleep, mood, adjustment to college or graduation, relationship issues, trauma, family relationships, learning difficulties are common things people want help with...)
- Do I want someone with specific skills? (e.g. cognitive behavioral training, experience with trauma, etc.)
- Do I want the provider I chose to hold particular identities?
- Do I want to use my insurance?
Helpful Search Tools
Once you have a sense of what you are seeking, you can use this tool to help you find a therapist in your area: Psychology Today Therapist Finder
- Go to Psychology Today webpage:
- Click on "Find a Therapist" or scroll down to the "Find a Therapist" search bar
- Enter your zip code (or neighborhood if you are in larger place)
- Use the filter to choose your insurance (if you are using insurance)
Tips for Choosing a Therapist
If you choose, you can also filter by therapy type, gender, and many other categories. If you do not have specific requirements, it can be a good idea to start with a wide search and refine if too many results come back.
Read about therapists who interest you. Choose three or four that you are interested in exploring further.
Call or email (usually easier) the therapist using the information listed on their profile.
If you choose email, you will see a form to complete. You can write “I’m a college student looking for help with (my mood, stress around my classes, difficulty with my friends, worry about my future, etc).” You may include days that work best for you or times that will never work. Include your insurance type as well. If you call, you may want to leave similar information, and be sure to say when you might be available for a return call. Make sure your voicemail is set up.
You may need to follow up a second time, as many therapists are solo practitioners and handle all their email and phone calls after their workday. Be persistent. If someone does not return your call or email after two tries, consider looking for another person.
If you use your insurance website, you will see ALL therapists who accept your insurance, however these lists are updated infrequently and depending on the insurance, less information may be available about individual providers.
For more information on finding a therapist, check out these resources:
Adapted from: Amherst College – “Counseling Center: COVID-19 News and Updates” (https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/resources/how-to-find-a-therapist-in-your-community)