10 Tips on Finding a Counselor


April is Counseling Awareness month! Entering counseling can feel like a scary or daunting process. You may have a number of questions. Maybe you’ve given some thought to seeing a counselor but have felt uncertain about what to do. Or, maybe you’ve avoided the process because it feels too overwhelming trying to decide where to begin. This post provides some tips to help you find a counselor who will be a good fit for you and hopefully eliminate some of the uncertainty around getting started.

Here are 10 tips on finding a counselor who is a good fit for you:

  1. Check therapist directories such as PsychologyToday and GoodTherapy.org Both sites allow you to filter the type of counselor you’re looking for by zip code, insurance coverage, issues of concern, and more. These sites promote counselors with verified credentials.
  2. Contact your health insurance company and ask whether mental or behavioral health is covered, there is oftentimes a phone number for these services on your insurance card, or you may visit your insurance company’s website and search for a provider there.
  3. Talk with friends and family, chances are someone you know is already seeing a counselor or has seen one in the past and they might have recommendations
  4. Talk to your doctor, they may have a go-to provider or a list of providers to refer you to.
  5. Check to see if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program that provides a limited number of free mental health sessions for employees.
  6. Do a Google search for counseling or therapy in your area using specific key words you want help with such as “depression” or “teen counseling.”
  7. Call a few counselors. Many counselors offer a free initial consultation either in person or over the phone. Speak with a few of them to help you decide who you might feel most comfortable with and to get a sense of what you’re looking (and not looking) for. If a counselor wants to schedule you while you’re still trying to decide, just let them know you’re not ready to schedule yet and you’d like more time to think about it.
  8. Visit counselors’ websites. You can shop around and learn about the counseling services you’re interested in before you pick up the phone to call anyone. On many websites you can find out information about fees, insurance, and the counselor’s approach to helping.
  9. If you schedule with a counselor and discover afterward that it’s not a good fit you can always let your counselor know you don’t think it’s working. Your counselor may be able to refer you elsewhere, adjust the treatment to better meet your needs, or explore with you where the feeling of disconnection might be coming from. Unless you’ve been court-ordered to attend counseling, you have a right to stop going whenever you want and for whatever reason.
  10. Check your local colleges, places of worship, mental health agencies, or family crisis agencies to see if they offer counseling and if you are eligible for services.

Uncertainty and avoidance are two possible barriers to getting started with counseling and can prevent you from getting the help you need. Since April is Counseling Awareness Month, hopefully this post has increased your awareness about how to find a counselor and given you some suggestions to help you feel more confident when you’re ready to reach out and begin the counseling process.

5 thoughts on “10 Tips on Finding a Counselor

  1. Thank you for the help. My wife and I are looking for a counselor to meet with. I like the idea of talking to the counselor on the phone before deciding. How many counselors should I meet before we make our decision?


    • Hi Justin, thanks for your question. I would recommend starting with “a few” (3 or 4) counselors in mind. Then, if you aren’t able to find a good fit, you may need to consult with “several” (5 or more). The goal is to find someone both you and your wife will feel comfortable with and who can help you reach your goals. You will be sharing a lot of information with your counselor so you want to feel comfortable with the person you’re sharing with. Best wishes to you and your wife as you begin your counseling work together.


  2. My daughter suffers from depression and we are trying to find a counselor for her. Thanks for the advice about how you should check with the insurance to make sure you can find a counseling service that is covered. Hopefully, we can find a good counselor that my daughter will get along with.


  3. My sister has decided to seek out a professional counseling service to help her overcome the anxiety she has had since she was 10. So I appreciate your tip to call a few of the therapists you are considering to see if you feel comfortable with them and make sure they are what you are looking for. I’ll be sure to help my sister set up some phone calls with different professional counseling services so that she will know that she can feel comfortable with the therapist she ends up going to regularly. http://www.barbarasabanlcsw.net/therapy-with-me


  4. My son has been struggling with his mental health lately, and we’re thinking he might need counseling to help him out. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to talk with friends or family about who has been great for them. I’ll have to start asking around, and I’ll be making sure I can find someone who will help him get his mental health under control.


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