How To Seek Out A Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Updated April 16, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Dutil

If you want to see a therapist, then odds are, you're concerned about something in your life. You shouldn't pile on that stress by searching hard for a therapist who best fits you. Finding a mental health counselor, especially licensed can be difficult at first, especially depending on where you live. If you live in the middle of nowhere, finding a good counselor can be very hard. Finding a good fit in a large area may be like finding a needle in a haystack.

A licensed mental health counselor can help support you.
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You especially need one who is licensed and uses techniques that are appropriate to you and your circumstances. In this post, we'll explain how you can find one.

Do You Need A Mental Health Counselor?

Before we look into finding a licensed mental health counselor, you may wonder if you need a counselor in the first place. There are many ways to figure out whether you need one, including the fact that you probably need one if you have to ask. Here are a few other ways of knowing.

  • Your age. Therapy is good for any age, but it's perfect for a young adult who is 18-35. Your life is going through many transitions, and it may be hard to figure out your life is headed and your purpose in life. A therapist can help you with these issues.
  • If you're going through a significant life change. Such as: moving to a new house, losing a family member, getting a new job, and any other massive shift that can make your life difficult, a counselor can help you by being able to get you to consider potential solutions and develop coping strategies.
  • If you have a mental disorder, then you should seek out mental health counseling. Therapy, in addition to medical solutions, is important when it comes to treating your mental illness. Anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health counseling forms are good in these situations.
  • If you need to talk to someone, talking to a therapist can help you. You probably have friends and family who can help you, but they will be biased and not know how to help in most cases. Counselors are not your friends, but they do want to help you in a way that is honest and solely focused on you and your needs.

These are just a few of the many reasons why you need to seek out a health counselor. Here are some ways you can find a licensed counselor that is the best for you.

Just Ask!

Someone in your family or friends' circles have probably seen a therapist, even if you don't know it. It's worth it to talk to those you know and ask if they have seen a therapist. Some may not want to tell you, simply because of the privacy aspect, but they don't have to tell much. They can tell you who they see, and these recommendations can help narrow your choice down. If they helped your friends and family, then odds are, they can help you. With that said, your situation may be different, and the counselor may not help you. However, this is a good way to start since a therapist can recommend other colleagues if they feel you might not be a good fit or too busy.

Research, Research, Research

When it comes to finding a counselor, you probably won't find one in the advertisements. Counselors rarely advertise. Instead, you need to look online. You can look up different resources that can tell you where the closest counselors are near you, and you can see if they're licensed. You can then find the website of the counselor to see if their services work for you.

Source: lynn.edu

Many websites can give you a list of providers. Psychology Today, NAMI, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and other professional sites of a similar sort can help you.

Look Local

Local mental health clinics, which are state-run, can be a good place to start when it comes to your search. They are cheaper, but the problem is that people overrun them. They may have a long wait time, and you should expect this. If you need help as soon as possible, you may not find the solution here, but you could get lucky. This will depend on the size of your town and the counselor's current caseload.

Your Job Can Help You

Employee assistance programs are available for many full-time employees at various organizations. They can either provide counseling directly or a list of therapists nearby with availability. These therapists are usually paid for by the EAP for a specific number of sessions, be sure to ask. Thus, giving you a boost for your mental health.

Colleges And Universities

If you live in a college town, universities may provide counseling for the public for a much fairer price. Not only can you get services, but you can also help support your local university and the students who are trying to succeed in clinical psychology or counseling programs.

Therapy Cost? Your Insurance Can Help

If you're insured, you can talk to your insurance provider and find a list of mental health counselors. These counselors are covered and can provide you care for free or for very little money. This allows you to go to therapy without the worry of being able to pay for services.

Talk To Your Doctor

If you love your general practitioner, you can talk to them, and they can recommend a mental health counselor to you oftentimes. By getting a professional recommendation, you can better find the mental health counselor right for you.

Your Pastor Can Help

Not everyone is very religious, but if you are, talk to your pastor or authority in your worship place. Religious counseling can help you through the lens of your religion. For example, if you're having marriage problems, you can get a solution from a Christian perspective, which can help you by putting God before everything else.

When You Find the Counselor, Then What?

So you found a mental health counselor who seems like a good fit. However, you should interview the counselor and see if they're right for you. Wait, interview the counselor? Yes, that's right. Good counselors will love for you to ask them questions and be sure they're the right fit for you. Not only that, you should do some research on the counselors. Here are some ways you can do this.

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Source: trevecca.edu
  • Look up the reviews. Many counselors have reviews from previous clients. These reviews are not the deciding factor if a counselor is right for you. For example, a good counselor may have one review, and that one review is a one-star review by a client who didn't listen to the counselor and blamed them rather than themselves. However, some reviews can help break down how the counselor works and provide legitimate criticisms of the counselor. It all just depends on the reviewer and should be used in addition to other search tools.
  • Ask about their credentials. One of the most obvious credentials to ask for is their license, but you can also ask about the college they went to for their degree. You may wonder about their experience, how they've helped people, and what they can do for you.
  • You should speak to the counselor first and see if the two of you connect. If the counselor is honest, they will want to talk to you on the phone, and you can give a rundown of what you want to see them for, what the two of you can do to fix it, and they can tell you what solutions they can give you. This can be on the phone, but an in-person conversation is an even better idea. With in-person, you can read their body language, get a feel for their office, see if they are focused on you and not a million other things, and you can learn more about how they will help.

Online Therapy Can Help

If there are no counselors in your nearby area, there is hope. If you are reading this, you have Internet access and talk to a counselor online. Online counseling allows you to talk to a counselor anywhere, any time, and using various formats at your disposal. You can text a therapist when you can't talk or have a video chat with them on your computer when you have privacy. When you are having an episode, you can sometimes interact with your therapist, helping calm you down.

While online therapy has limitations, the evolving technology we have has made it close to the in-person experience. It has allowed those who live in remote areas or those who can't travel due to disability or lack of transportation to find a counselor they need.

Source: argosy.edu

Licensed Mental Health Counselor 

Conclusion

A mental health counselor can change your life, and by the following everything above, you can narrow down the counselor who can help you specifically. It can be difficult to find the right counselor, but once you do, you can fix your life and treat any issues you may have. Talk to a therapist today.


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