How to Find a Therapist

How to Find a Therapist


Community Therapists

Finding the right therapist is key to a successful counseling experience. Here are a few tips in identifying the right therapist for you.

  

If you have insurance

  • Call the phone number listed on your insurance card under “Behavioral Health” or “Mental Health.”  If there is not a number with either of these headings call the “Member Services” number. Ask if counseling is covered by your insurance plan.
  • If counseling is covered, ask how many sessions are covered and how much your co‐pay is. You may also want to ask what type of counseling is offered (e.g. individual, couples, family, group) as well as other psychological services such as psychological testing, learning disability testing, etc. Often times they will give you about 3‐4 names to start with, but you can ask for more if you like.
  • Some insurance companies may refer you to their website to locate a provider. Often times this will allow you to search for a provider through variety of filters including therapist gender, location, specialty areas, types of therapy, etc.
  • You may also want to ask friends, family, colleagues or you Primary Care Physician if they have any recommendations of therapists they may know.
  • If counseling is not covered, ask if your insurance provides any type of reimbursement for counseling. Sometimes this is referred to “out‐of‐network” services. If so, be sure to get all the forms from your insurance for reimbursement prior to seeing a counselor.
  • Prior to contacting a counselor, you may want to do some research about the provider. You can verify their license status with either the Board of Psychology (Psychologists only) at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov or with the Board of Behavioral Services (for Marriage‐FamilyTherapists (MFTs) or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)) at http://www.bbs.ca.gov.
  • When calling providers you may need to give them some basic information about yourself such as your age, current symptoms, previous counseling experience, etc.
  • Ask the counselor what types of therapy they provide and their areas of expertise. 9) Some providers may offer free consults, so ask! This may give you a great opportunity to see if the counselor is a good match for you.
  • Sometimes counselors do not have openings or are not accepting new patients. Most of the time insurance companies are not aware of this when giving out referrals. Don’t get discouraged! It is ok to ask the counselor you are speaking with if they have colleagues they can refer you to that may have openings and accept your insurance. You can also call your insurance company back and ask for more names.
  • Sometimes after a couple of sessions you may decide that the counselor you are seeing is not a good match. It is ok to let the counselor know this and ask for a referral to another counselor. You can also call your insurance company and ask for other providers.



If you do not have insurance

There are many community resources out there for counseling. We have listed community agencies that provide low‐cost/sliding scale options to the community. Please see our Community Resources page for the listings of these agencies.

Some counselors in private practice may also offer counseling at a reduced rate or sliding scale. Whether you are looking for a provider through an agency or private practice we suggest following these guidelines in identifying the right therapist for you.

  • Prior to contacting a counselor, you may want to do some research about the provider. You can verify their license status with either the Board of Psychology (Psychologists only) at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov or with the Board of Behavioral Services (for Marriage‐Family Therapists (MFTs) or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)) at http://www.bbs.ca.gov.
  • Many community agencies have interns that are in graduate programs and are receiving training at the agency. Be sure to get the name and license number of their clinical supervisor as well.
  • When calling providers you may need to give them some basic information about yourself such as your age, current symptoms, previous counseling experience, etc.
  • Ask the counselor what types of therapy they provide and their areas of expertise. 5) Some providers may offer free consults, so ask! This may give you a great opportunity to see if the counselor is a good match for you.
  • Sometimes after a couple of sessions you may decide that the counselor you are seeing is not a good match. It is ok to let the counselor know this and ask for a referral to another counselor.

Internet Sites That Allow You to Search for a Therapist

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/
http://www.networktherapy.com/directory/find_therapist.asp
 

For medical or psychiatric emergencies, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital.