How to Find a Good Therapist

How do you find a good therapist? This online series provides all the information you need to get started in your search for finding a good psychotherapist. Psychotherapy is important to improving your mental health. A good therapist can make all the difference in the world.


Therapy works.

It seems like such a simple statement, but it's taken several decades of research to confirm that most people do, in fact, benefit from therapy.

Some of this research has also addressed the trickier question of how therapy works. As it turns out, the...

Chapter 1: Kinds of Therapy

Even if you've never been in therapy before, you probably have some mental image of what it's like based on TV shows or movies: two people sitting in leather chairs, talking quietly in a beautiful office.

Over the next ten chapters, that mental image is...

Chapter 2: Payment of Therapy

Let's talk about money.

I placed this chapter near the front of the book because I'm a realist. Money can be a very big deal. Most former clients will tell you that their therapy was worth every penny; but make no mistake, those pennies do...

Chapter 3: Settings for Therapy

Therapy can take place in just about any reasonably soundproof room with enough space for a few chairs, but it's remarkable how much difference the environment can make.

If your surroundings make you feel uneasy or unsafe, you're probably going to remain closed off. On...

Chapter 4: Professions That Practice Psychotherapy

Medicine is practiced by doctors. Law is practiced by lawyers. So who practices therapy? Actually, there are more than a dozen different professions that offer some form of therapy or counseling.

Each group offers something a little different in terms of education, training, and philosophy,...

Chapter 5: Psychotherapy Treatment Approaches

A treatment approach, or theoretical orientation as they're sometimes called, is nothing more than a set of ideas about what makes people tick and how they change, and a set of techniques for helping people make those changes.

The last time anyone bothered counting them,...

Chapter 6: Experience of the Therapist

Nobody wants to go to a doctor's office or a mechanic's garage and hear the phrase, “I've never seen this problem before.” Similarly, when you tell your problems to a therapist, you look for understanding, not surprise.

If you're in the workforce, you probably know...

Chapter 7: Special Considerations

The issues addressed in this chapter don't fit neatly into any other category, but you may consider them the most important of all. They deal with the fit between you and your therapist, which is a big part of how therapy works.

In most situations,...

Chapter 8: Sources of Possible Therapists

Now that you have some idea of what you're looking for, it's time to start considering your choices. There are more therapists practicing than ever before, but they can be tough to find.

Most therapists don't advertise their services. Instead, they rely on word-of-mouth and...

Chapter 9: Setting Priorities

By now you have some idea of what you're looking for, and you've created a list of potential therapists. In this chapter, you're going to learn how to pull all this together to make an informed decision.

You'll spend some time with that stack of...

Chapter 10: Interviewing and Making a Decision

You've probably already crossed a few names off your list, so you're getting closer and closer to your best option.

You've gotten all the information you can from friends and family, provider directories, and the Internet. In this last step, you'll actually be talking with...

Appendix: Common Initials and Abbreviations

AA Alcoholics Anonymous
Associate of Arts
AAP American Academy of Psychotherapists
AAPC American Association of Pastoral Counselors
AANP American Association of Nurse Practitioners
AATA American Art Therapy Association
ABAP American Board for Accreditation in
ABFP American Board of Forensic Psychology
ABPN American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
ABPP American Board of Professional Psychology