The Best Way To Find A Counselor Near You
Updated January 31, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
When it comes to finding a counselor, you shouldn't have to travel too far. You're already dealing with the many stresses of life, and the last thing you want is to drive more than you can handle to find a good therapist.
Finding a counselor near you can be tough, especially if you live in a small town. A large city has plenty of options, but a rural area will have limited choices, and some of them may not be equipped enough to treat your problems. This can make it harder, but they're still are ways.
When you're searching locally, here are some ways to find a counselor near you.
When To Know You Need A Counselor
As you begin your search, you should figure out whether or not you need a therapist to begin with. If you ask yourself, "Do I need a therapist?" you probably do need one, but there are other ways of determining whether or not you need one.
First, look at your age. A good time to get therapy is when you're a young adult. The age range of what's considered to be a young adult varies, but the ballpark is 18-35. This is when your life is going through many changes. You're trying to figure out who you are, establishing your career, finding love, and so on. It's quite a challenge, and you may face plenty of trouble as a result. A counselor can help you face any challenges you have.
A counselor is recommended after a life transition. If you're moving to a new place, have lost a family member, or have experienced another big change, a therapist can help you with that. Even if you feel like you can handle it, there are many times when a therapist can help you. You can't do it all.
Therapy is good if talking to your friends doesn't help. Your friends can be good outlets when it comes to talking about your mental problems, but they are not perfect. They don't know the many techniques used by counselors to treat you. Also, counselors are not your friends, and this is a good thing. They can approach your issues in a way that is honest and doesn't give you any exceptions. Counselors do not berate or harshly criticize you, but they provide honest solutions in a way you can swallow.
Ask For Recommendations
People going to therapy is more common than you think. There's a good chance that one of your friends or family members have gone to a therapist. You probably have some similarities to your family members, and there's a good chance that their therapist may be able to help you. Plus, there may be benefits to being a recommended patient. Don't be afraid to ask which therapist they've seen, what they helped treat, and if they think that therapist is good for the job.
This method may not provide any good leads, though. Even if they're your friends, some people do not feel comfortable talking about their therapy, and that's understandable. One of the therapy principles is its privacy, and by telling others, they may feel like they have no privacy.
If you can't find anyone who will tell you anything, one thing you can do is ask around local forums. There has to be someone in your town who is willing to share information with you.
Do Some Online Research
Counselors rarely advertise, and instead, you need to do some research. Typing in "counselors near me" in a search engine should yield some results. You may find a website of a few local counselors. When going to the website, make sure you explore every page. Often, it takes a bit of clicking to learn what the counselor can offer you. You can then determine if this therapist is a good fit for what you need.
Look At Local Mental Health Clinics
Most clinics have counselors that can help you. The state runs these, and they can be a good place to start when finding a local counselor, but their waiting times can be difficult to handle. They are often crowded and can take a while for a session. If you need mental help ASAP, this isn't a good way, but sometimes you can get lucky and have a quicker local clinic. This will all depend on the staff and the size of the clinic.
Look At Websites That List Therapy Providers
Some websites can give a list of therapy providers near you. The American Psychological Association, NAMI, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the American Medical Association are good places to look at.
Look At Your Job
If you're a full-time employee, your job may have an Employee Assistance Program. These programs provide therapy for their employees and a list of therapists. Often, the therapy sessions are paid for, or at least for the first few sessions.
Look At Universities
If there's a college or a university nearby, they may provide counseling services for the students and the community. These programs also tend to be less expensive than normal therapy sessions, making them ideal for those on a budget.
Look At Your Insurance
Your health insurance can provide a list of therapists locally that are covered under their program. More and more insurance providers recognize the value of therapy and will pay for your sessions if needed. This is good, as you can go to therapy with less of a risk should the therapist not be a good fit for you.
Ask Your Doctor
Talking to your general doctor can be a smart move. If your doctor provides excellent services, it's a good thing to ask if they know any therapists who can help you. There's a good chance they can have someone to recommend to you.
Talk To Your Pastor
If you're religious, many pastors offer or know someone who offers religious counseling. Christian, or any other religious-based, counseling is good if you view your life through the lens of your particular religion.
When You Have An Idea Of Who You Want To Talk To
Once you find someone who you believe may be a good fit, you need to assess them and make sure they're right for you. Here are a few ways you can do that.
- Read the reviews. The reviews and testimonials of other clients should tell you whether or not the counselor is right for you. It's not the perfect way to assess a counselor, though; the reviews will often come from people who have an ax to grind or people who didn't listen to the therapist and blame them for not getting better. However, there are critical reviews that have legitimate complaints, too.
- Look at the counselor, credentials. Are they licensed? Where did they get their degree from? How many years have they been in the field? Ask them about their credentials and see if they're qualified. Most therapists have the experience, but there are a few who are quacks.
- Just talk to them. A good counselor won't charge you for a phone conversation, so you can get an idea if they're right for you or not. You can ask any questions you want and see whether or not they are a good fit for you. Also, see if they can meet in person for a consultation. You can get a good idea of their character through the phone, but the best way to see how they are is to personally talk to them. There, you can get a good idea of their quirks, their body language, their mannerisms, and many more factors that can determine whether or not the therapist is for you.
Look To Online Therapy
There are some places where there are just no good counselors for your area. This is common in rural areas, but urban places where they don't have a good counselor for your situation.
Online therapy can connect you with counselors all across the globe, making it much easier to be matched with the counselor who best suits you. Some may say that online therapy isn't as good because it isn't in person. However, with video chat, you can have that face-to-face conversation.
Online therapy is also great for when you are traveling. You can call or text a therapist for your sessions. You can talk to them in the middle of the night when you can't sleep. There are so many options, and it's good for younger adults who are always on the go.
If you need therapy, do not be afraid to find one and get the help you need. While finding a counselor can be difficult, once you find one suitable for your situation, your life will change for the better.
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