With the news at our fingertips on our phones or other devices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the bad stuff happening in the world. Social media causes us to compare our lives to those that we follow, while just regular life stuff can get heavy and hard to deal with. Thankfully it has become more “normal” to talk about mental health, self-care, and getting help when needed. Perhaps you are going through a hard time at work or in your personal life, or maybe you just feel a little “off” and want to do something about it. Or maybe you’re still feeling funky after experiencing, oh I don’t know, a global pandemic!! Finding a therapist is a great option for getting your mental health on track and being kind to yourself.

How do you go about finding a therapist?

Once you’ve decided you want to go to therapy, how do you even begin finding a therapist or counselor? A quick Google search of therapists in your area is a great place to start. When I was looking for a therapist I searched therapists in my area on Once you start searching, it’s important to set filters on your search to find therapists within your insurance plan or budget. When searching, look to see what therapists accept your insurance. Some therapists don’t accept insurance but do offer a sliding scale for payment based on income, which is also a great option if you don’t have insurance. All of this information should be found under the therapist’s profile on the website or on their personal website.

What type of therapy are you looking for?

Another thing to consider is what type of therapy you are interested in. Do you want a male or female therapist? Do you want someone that is religious? Do you want a therapist that is LGBTQ+ friendly or is LGBTQ+ themselves? Take a moment to reflect on what is important to you and what qualities in a therapist will help you feel comfortable. Again, all of these details should be listed on the therapists’ profile. 

Additionally, some therapists will do art therapy, meditation, or even assign work for you to do outside of your sessions. Are those things important to you? After you’ve found a few therapists that are within your insurance plan, budget, and values, reach out to them. I recommend reaching out to three to five therapists to see if they are accepting new clients. On Psychology Today’s website, you can email the therapist or call them if their number is listed. If you are nervous about reaching out, an email is a great option. You can send the same message to each therapist, and if it’s your first time seeking out therapy, mention that.

Meeting with a therapist for the first time

After you’ve reached out to the therapists you are interested in meeting, they should all get back to you and mention their availability and insurance they accept, as well as if they have a sliding scale. In my experience using Psychology Today, several of the therapists didn’t accept my insurance even though it was listed on their profile, so you should always confirm before moving forward with an appointment.

After finding a few therapists that line up with your needs, book a consultation appointment. Some therapists also offer a free phone consultation, so you can also do that to decide if it is a good fit or not. When I started therapy I met with two therapists in person for a consultation so I could decide if I felt comfortable with either. Therapists are people too, and just with any new person you are meeting, you might jive with some people better than others. I recommend meeting with two or three therapists and going back to the one you feel most comfortable with. Maybe you want a therapist that is very vocal and asks a lot of questions, maybe you want someone who listens and doesn’t talk as much—these initial consultations will help you figure this out. Be patient during this process!

Choosing which therapist to stick with

After your initial consultation, take some time to reflect and decide which therapist you’d like to go back to. When deciding on your therapist, remember that therapy is for you. Don’t feel bad for telling a therapist you’ve met with once that you will not be returning. Just tell them that you found someone that matches your needs and fits your schedule and thank them for meeting with you. You can even send an email telling them this if that is more comfortable for you.

Once you have chosen a therapist and started going regularly, just remember therapy is a process. Some sessions will be super awesome and productive, while some sessions you might leave feeling worse than when you got there. Think of therapy as self-care and time specifically for YOU. I always like to get myself a treat after therapy like ice cream or wine to thank myself for taking care of me. It sounds silly but keeps the good self-care vibes going the rest of the day.

If you’ve decided to start the process of finding a therapist, congratulations on taking that step. Take your time in choosing someone you feel comfortable with, and remember you are in control and call the shots. Good luck!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Hooray! 

Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Our mental health is ever changing and evolving throughout our lives, just as our physical health does. Mental Health Awareness Month started back in 1949 as a way to bring attention to the importance of mental health, and to celebrate people dealing with their own mental health issues to find balance in their lives. Now in 2020 we have a bunch of awesome resources for people to learn about mental health, different types of mental health issues, and find resources to best care for our mental wellbeing. 

Over 450 million people across the world are living with a mental illness, and even more people have experienced bouts of mental health challenges throughout their lives, or perhaps have a mental illness that is undiagnosed. Mental health issues are common and a part of life. Anxiety and depression are most common, and even people without a diagnosed mental illness will experience these feelings at some point. It’s best to seek professional help when you feel that your mental health is affecting your life. Professional help can look like going to a therapist, seeing a psychologist to get a prescription to help you manage your symptoms, or finding support groups to attend. It’s also important to note you can see a therapist as a way to maintain your mental health and process life events. You don’t have to wait until you’re struggling to start therapy.  

You can find a therapist through your primary care doctor, or you can use resources such as Psychology Today to find therapists in your area. There are other mental health resources readily available to us as well because of the Internet! 

Youtube channels for mental health are great to gain an understanding of mental health issues and help us understand our feelings. One of my favorites is licensed therapist Kati Morton who makes videos on mental health every week. Online therapy resources such as Better Help, Theralink, and Talk Space also make therapy accessible and inexpensive for people that need it.  For a little dose of mental health resources, Instagram can be good too. I wouldn’t recommend replacing seeing an in person therapist for following therapists on Instagram or Youtube, but following some good therapy accounts can serve as good reminders for us throughout the day. My favorites are The Holistic Psychologist, Sit With Sharon, Dr. Jenn Hardy, and Lisa Olivera Therapy. 

As I mentioned, these resources are no replacement for actual therapy or a consultation from your doctor, they are just great resources to help normalize talking about mental health and give you some food for thought throughout your day. 

When it comes to mental health, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s normal to experience challenges with your mental health, it’s normal to feel really great and on top of your mental health as well. It’s important to share your feelings, talk openly about your mental health issues, and seek professional help when needed. 

If you or someone you know is really struggling with their mental health, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255.