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5 Tips for Finding a Therapist

a client and a therapist in-session
how to find a therapist

Are you interested in starting therapy, but having a hard time finding a therapist? Perhaps you have tried contacting several therapist, but you never hear back. Here are 5 tips to help you increase your chances of finding a therapist that is a good fit for you:

  1. Consider therapists who do not take your insurance. Therapy is expensive. It makes sense that you would want it to be covered by your insurance. Many therapists, including myself, are pre-licensure. Most insurance companies will only pay a licensed therapist for services. All therapists have to go through internship and their post-graduate experience before they can become licensed. That means there is a whole pool of therapists that you may not even know exist if you are only working with insurance. While the belief is that insurance is going to make therapy less expensive, often times, clients are still required to pay a co-pay. Some insurances only cover certain types of therapy, and specific treatments. So even after finding an in-network therapist, your treatment might not be covered. If budget is a concern, look for therapists, such as myself who offer sliding scale (pay what you can afford options). I would much rather offer sliding scale options than spend as much time as I do in therapy filing claims and trying to get an insurance company to pay. Additionally, insurance will often only cover designated treatments (even if they aren't right for you) for designated diagnoses (even if you don't need a diagnosis). Despite insurance being often limited (some are good and getting much better!), if you happen to have an HSA (health savings account), you can pay for therapy with the debit card provided to you.

  2. The best way to find a therapist is Psychology today is essentially a directory of therapists. Therapists pay to be listed in this directory, and it is well worth it for them. Psychology Today allows you to filter your search by many preferences, insurance, type of therapy, location, etc. This will help you narrow down who you would like to work with. Take time to read the profiles of the therapists, and watch their video clips. This will be the best way for you to know if you are going to connect well with your therapist. A good client/therapist fit is the greatest predictor of how effective your treatment will be for you.

  3. Be flexible with scheduling. 9 times out of 10 when someone tells me that they can't find a therapist, what they mean is they can't find a therapist who works past 5 pm on weekdays. While I know this seems the most convenient, therapists take on a heavy emotional and mental load to provide support to their communities. And then they also go home to families who need and want them to be present. Most of us do the best we can to add a few hours per week to see those clients who really cannot leave work, but need help. However, it is unrealistic to find a someone who will choose to work evenings and weekends when maintaining a good work/life balance is such an important part of being able to be a high functioning therapist. Consider talking to your employer about your therapy needs. Ask if they are willing to provide you with accommodations since your wellbeing ultimately affects how well you do your job. Consider doing appointments on your lunch breaks. Most therapists offer Telehealth services that allow you to do a session in the privacy of your car while you take a lunch break. If you are not willing to shift your schedule, just know there is a very limited pool of therapists who are willing to work outside of regular business hours.

  4. If the type of therapy you are looking for isn't available in your area, consider other types of therapy that might work just as well. As an LGBTQ+ allied therapist, I know how many of my clients say that there are plenty of allied therapists, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are LGBTQ+ informed. There are many specific treatments for the type of therapy you need and you really should work with a therapist who is experienced in the areas you are seeking support. Most therapists don't know everything, and they should be transparent about what they do not know. However, if they are willing to learn and support you and you feel comfortable with their approach a lot of good work can still be done. You are allowed to expect your therapy to be effective. As suggested before, read the Psychology Today profiles of the therapist you are interested in. Even if they do not treat your specific issue, consider setting up a consultation with them. Most therapists will offer free 15 min consultations, where you can ask questions and get to know them a little better to understand how they would plan to treat your case. You might be your therapist's first client with ADHD, and yet they might be the best fit for you because you connect well with them and they are willing to learn more to provide you with the best care.

  5. Consider Telehealth. There is something about going to a nice office outside the setting of your life, sitting face to face with another human that just cannot be translated to a Zoom meeting. However, there is no comparison for the effectiveness of consistent therapy appointments. If you can only go to therapy in-person once a month, you are really missing out. If your goal for therapy is for you to eventually understand enough that you can learn to cope all by yourself, this is going to be really hard if your sessions are spread out. Telehealth provides you not only access to more ideal hours for your work schedule, but more therapists. Since COVID-19, many therapists are running Telehealth only practices. Also, when you open up to Telehealth therapists as an option, you can see any therapist in your entire state who provides Telehealth and not just therapists from your region. This is a great option for anyone who is a prominent community member who doesn't want to see their therapist at the grocery store.

If you think you live in Colorado and have had trouble finding a therapist. I'd be happy to help you find someone who works for you. You can also click here to schedule an appointment today. 

DD Love, MFTC - (970) 852-0687 -

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