Finding the Right Therapist

Once you have made the decision to seek counselling, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to find a counsellor and how to know if they are the right fit for you.

Where Do I Look for a Therapist?

There are a lot of therapists out there and you may be unsure about where to start looking for one. If you feel comfortable and know someone who might be able to make a suggestion about where to find a counsellor, it can be helpful to ask them. However, sometimes even those you are closest to are unaware of our inner conflicts and relational challenges and you may not be ready to share that with them.

When trying to find a therapist, some places you can look and people you can ask include:

  • Google (search the internet with a phrase like “therapists in my area” or get more specific by including what kind of therapy you are looking for or what concern you are seeking support for like “grief counselling” or “counselling for religious trauma”)

  • Your pharmacist (they already know what medications you’re on!)

  • Your doctor or primary care provider may be able to provide suggestions or referrals

  • Your insurance provider

  • Your workplace (many employers have Employee Assistance Plans that provide access to mental healthcare)

  • Teachers (especially if you’re looking for support for your kids)

  • People in your life (like your hairstylist, spiritual leader, acquaintances) as word of mouth can be a great source for a referral to a trusted counsellor

How do I Choose the Right Therapist?

Once you’ve found the names or practices of a few therapists, you will have to decide which therapist is right for you. Not all therapists will be a good fit for you and what you need at the time. As with any service, it is okay to “shop around” for a mental health professional. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a therapist.

You will want to think about some of the practical issues around your choice, including:

  • The types of therapy they offer or specialize in

  • If they work with the concern or area of counselling you are seeking help with

  • If they offer culturally competent counselling, meaning that they can understand and work with any part of your identity that you feel is relevant (culture, race, spirituality, gender, sexuality, etc.)

  • The location of their office if you prefer in-person services

  • Whether or not they provide virtual or phone sessions

  • Accessibility of their office

  • Parking options and nearness to transit

  • Their availability and if that fits with your schedule

  • If they have a waitlist or can see you soon

  • Cost and payment options, including whether or not they offer a sliding scale, qualify for your insurance coverage, or offer direct billing

Many therapists have introduction videos on their websites or social media pages that will tell you a little bit about them and give you an idea of their demeanor. You can often find videos or pictures of the therapist’s office as well so you know what to expect and can see if the space looks warm, inviting, and safe. Many therapists also offer free consultations that you can take advantage of to get a sense of the counsellor and how you will work together.

Regardless of how you go about this process, remember that if one therapist doesn’t work out for you it doesn’t mean that therapy isn’t right for you. It just means that you haven’t found the right therapist for you yet. Finding the right therapist who can help you make the changes you want is worth the effort.

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