• Yolanda Bartow

How to Find a Therapist


Congratulations for taking steps toward your healing! Seeking therapy can be a scary and daunting task given the stigma associated with mental disorders and what it means to maintain mental wellness. Let’s explore some common concerns and questions associated with finding a therapist who is a good fit for you.


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Preparation

As you begin your journey consider asking yourself the following questions before you begin your search …

  1. Do I have a preference as it relates to demographics …. age, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, education?

  2. What is the ideal location for services … in-person, telehealth, close to work or home?

  3. What is the ideal day and time for services …. consider whether you will need time to yourself after sessions, or be okay to go back to your day?

  4. Do I only want to work on a specific topic or am I open to exploring whatever may come up … is there anything that you are not willing to discuss/work through?

  5. How do I learn best …

Visual - using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.


Aural - using sound and music.


Verbal - using words, both in speech and writing.


Physical - using your body, hands and sense of touch.


Logical - using logic, reasoning and systems.


Social - learn in groups or with other people.


Solitary - work alone and use self-study.


Answering these questions can guide you through the consultation process.


Where do I look?

There are multiple resources for finding a therapist.

  1. Word of mouth may be one of the best tools. You get to hear directly from someone who has had experience with the therapist or the agency.

  2. If you plan to use your insurance, contact the insurance company to get a list of in network therapists that match your demographic preferences. Understand that you must have a diagnosis of a mental health disorder to use insurance.

  3. Directories …. There are multiple directories designed to meet your needs. Some are general while others cater to specific demographics … here are a few

  4. https://therapyforblackgirls.com for black women and girls

  5. https://therapyforblackmen.org for black men and boys

  6. https://therapyforqpoc.com queer affirming therapists for people of color

  7. https://www.nqttcn.com queer and trans affirming therapists for people of color

  8. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us for everybody

  9. https://openpathcollective.org for individuals seeking low cost therapy due to being uninsured or underinsured (you must prove financial need)

After identifying potential therapists take time to visit their website, read about them, and pay attention to how your body responds as you read. Note concerns you may have and address them during your consultation.


How do I schedule an appointment?

Contact the therapists you would like to work with to set up a free consultation. Depending on the therapist, this could be by phone, telehealth or in-person. It is important to note that not all therapists provide this service for free. The consultation is designed to allow you and the therapist to explore whether it is a good fit … can the therapist meet your needs. Once you have chosen the therapist that is right for you, ask them how to schedule an appointment.


For your consideration …

Therapy is wellness for you mind. In much the same way we see doctors for check-ups when we are physically ill, we can see therapists when we experience mental fatigue or illness. Understand you are the expert of your life and be willing to advocate for yourself and have discussions when things are not working well. Using tips and tricks from friends who have been to therapy or your favorite social media site can be therapeutic, but it is not therapy. Look for my blog Therapy vs. Therapeutic for more about this topic.

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