Congratulations on deciding to begin therapy! It may not seem like a big deal, but taking that first step can be one of the biggest and bravest moves you can make for your health.
This guide will help you get started on your therapist search so you can begin to Unmute yourself. If you have any questions or would like help, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jumping into a therapy search with no direction is going to be overwhelming. Instead, begin by getting a picture of what you’re looking for in a therapist. Create “Must have,” “Should have,” and “Nice to have” lists, so that you can prioritize based on what is most important to you. Make sure to consider topics such as specialties, types of treatment, age/gender/ethnicity, location, and insurance needs.
Remember also, an online profile is not a full picture of a therapist, and sometimes you will have to make compromises. If you have a long list of issues that you need help with, or have a very narrow geographic and demographic requirement, your options may be slim. Prioritizing needs can help widen your search and increase the likelihood of finding a great match.
Where Do I Look?
The internet is full of information and listing sites. In general, Psychology Today tends to be the first place most people look, and where many therapists have a listing. Zencare and TherapyDen are also very popular sites. For additional listing sites that serve specific populations, email us at email@example.com.
A quick note: while listing sites are great for reading about a therapist, they aren’t the best for making contact. We recommend Googling the name of a therapist you find on a listing site and looking for a personal website or office number.
Reaching Out to Therapists
Once you’ve found some people you want to talk to, you will likely be directed to a contact form, email address, or phone number. Some places, especially group practices, will have an intake questionnaire that they want you to fill out. Most of these will ask for specific information, but if not, make sure that you provide your name, insurance provider (or budget if paying out of pocket), availability for a consultation, callback number, and email address.
If submitting a request through a website or phone call, it is best not to share medical information unless you have been told that the voicemail inbox or contact form is confidential or HIPAA secure, which means that your health information is protected.
Preparing for Your Consultation
Once you’ve set up time for an initial consultation (often 15-30 min on the phone), or have scheduled an intake appointment, you’ll want to make sure you learn as much about the therapist as you need to feel comfortable. Check out our Phone Consultation Guide for a list of questions and helpful tips on making that first conversation work for you.
Building a Successful Relationship
You’ve found a therapist, hooray! To get the most out of your time with them, the most important thing to remember is that they are here to help you, and the only way they can do that is through open, honest, vulnerable communication. It will take time to form that sort of trusting relationship, and remember that if they don’t make you feel safe and listened to, it’s alright to tell them, or shop around for someone else. Read more about our tips on how you can build a strong foundation with your therapist from the get-go here. You deserve help that works for you, and we wish you the best on your journey.
The author of this blog, Rhiannon Chiachiarro, is the Director of Customer Success at Unmute, a free service that helps connect people seeking therapy to therapists quickly and easily.
Note: This article covers general information & guidance. If someone you know is in crisis, please call the emergency services or the national suicide helpline: 1-800-273-8255.