top of page
  • Writer's pictureJessica Matthews LCSW, LICSW

How to Find the Right Therapist

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

It is not easy to find quality mental healthcare in the middle of a global pandemic.

Mental health resources are in higher demand than ever, but harder than ever to access. Finding a therapist is no easy task, so I want to share my thoughts on how to find the right therapist for your unique needs. Research shows that the greatest predictor of success in therapy is the therapeutic relationship, so it is of the utmost importance to find a therapist that you feel genuinely connected to.

Some good places to start when you’re looking for a therapist are resources such as Psychology Today, Alma, Therapy Den, or other reputable sites where therapists’ licenses are verified before they can advertise their services. You can filter results by insurance type, fee, specialty, and identities of the therapist that are important to you. Besides the financial factors, such as insurance coverage and/or fees, there are some important questions that you should ask yourself when looking for a therapist:

  • Do I have any preferences for who I work with based on therapist identity?

For some people it doesn’t matter, but for others, it feels important to work with someone who can identify with their lived experience based on similarities in gender, race, sexual orientation, age, and/or religion. Sometimes it is the opposite- clients may prefer to work with someone different than them in identity, in order to gain a different perspective.

  • Do I have any preferences around theoretical orientation or therapeutic modalities used?

Certain reasons for entering therapy- such as trauma, eating disorders, or personality disorders- require specialized training, so it is worth looking into therapists who advertise themselves as specialists in these areas, rather than general practitioners. Generally speaking, if you are looking to build insight and examine how your past experiences influence present behaviors, a psychodynamic approach might be helpful. If you want concrete tools and enjoy therapeutic homework, on the other hand, a cognitive behavioral approach might be more your style. If you are looking for a more experiential approach and have tried “talk therapy” in the past without getting much out of it, you might benefit from an approach such as EMDR or somatic therapy.

  • What type of personality and approach would make me most comfortable?

Some clients prefer their therapist to serve in more of an expert role, in which they receive guidance and advice from someone who acts similar to a doctor. Other clients prefer more of a casual, conversational approach to therapy, in which the therapist "gets on their level". I, for example, tend to be a very “down-to-earth” therapist- which either really works for clients, or doesn’t.

Above all, however- more important than any of the above qualities- is how the therapist makes you feel. Do you look forward to going to therapy? Do you feel genuinely respected and understood? Does the therapist make you feel safe to open up and be vulnerable? A good therapist should make you feel truly seen and unconditionally accepted, even as you work to make changes in your life.

I recommend scheduling a consultation when you identify a therapist you may be interested in working with, in order to ask these questions and assess goodness of fit before scheduling an intake. If it seems to be a good fit, give a first session a try, and by the first or second session you should be able to tell whether or not the therapist is truly a good fit for your needs. I also recommend giving your potential therapist honest feedback about what works for you and what you are looking for in a therapist, so they can either accommodate you, or point you in the direction of someone who might be a better match for what you are looking for.

I am wishing you all the best on your therapy journey!

47 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page