The Best Way To Find A Counselor Near You

Updated August 22, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team
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When it comes to finding a counselor, the first thing you'll want to consider is how far you're willing to travel. 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 may have plenty of options, but a rural area can have limited choices, and some of them may not be equipped to treat your particular concerns. Even if you live in a more rural area, you can still find the help you need.

This article will discuss how you can determine if you need a counselor and, if you do, how you can go about finding one.

When To Know You Need A Counselor

As you begin your search, you should figure out whether you need a therapist to begin with. If you're asking yourself questions like, "Do I need a therapist?" or "Who would be the best therapist for me?" it's possible you do, in fact, need one, but there are other ways of determining whether or not you need a counselor.

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 problems as a result. A counselor can help you face any challenges you may have.

A counselor is recommended after a life transition. If you're moving to a new place, have lost a family, or have experienced another big change, a therapist can help you with that. Even if you feel like you can handle it, there are still many ways in which a therapist can be of help to you, including making sure you're doing all that you can to move on through this transition. 

Therapy may be a good idea if talking to your friends about what's troubling you 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 nonjudgmental. Counselors do not berate or harshly criticize you, but they provide honest solutions in a compassionate way.

So, you've determined you want to find a counselor. Now what? Here are some ways to find a counselor to work with.

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Ask For Recommendations

People going to therapy is a more common practice than you may think. There's a good chance that one of your friends or family members have gone to a therapist. If your friend or family member has gone through what you're experiencing, there's a decent 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 the therapist has helped them.

This method may not provide any good leads, though. Even if they're your friends or family, some people do not feel comfortable talking about their therapy, and that's understandable. 

If you can't find anyone to recommend a counselor, you can always turn to the internet. 

Do Some Online Research

Counselors rarely advertise; instead, you need to do some research. Typing in "counselors near me" in a search engine should yield some results. If that doesn't work, you may also try, "Is there affordable counseling near me?" The right search term should provide you with at least a few local options. When going to a counselor's 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. If traditional face-to-face therapy makes you uncomfortable, look for a counselor that offers online therapy or telephone counseling.

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 it can take a while to get scheduled for a session. If you need mental health assistance ASAP, this may not a good way to get it, although depending on the clinic, you might get lucky and get help quickly. For more immediate help, you may need to look elsewhere.

Look At Websites That List Therapy Providers

Some websites offer 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 all good places to look for local counselors. 

Look At Your Job

If you're a full-time employee, your job may have an Employee Assistance Program. These programs may provide therapy for their employees, and, if they do, your HR department should be able to give you a list of therapists. Often, the first few therapy sessions are paid for, if not your whole course of therapy.

Look At Universities

If there's a college or a university nearby, they may provide counseling services for students and/or the community. These programs 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 local, in-network therapists that are covered under their program. More and more insurance providers recognize the value of therapy and will pay for your sessions if needed. 

Ask Your Doctor

Talking to your general doctor can be a smart move. If your doctor provides excellent services, they may know of good therapists in the area who may be able to help you and can offer you some recommendations.

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 can be good if you view your life through the lens of your particular religion.

You've Found Someone Who Might Work—What Now?

Once you find someone you believe may be a good fit, you'll need to assess them and make sure they're right for you. Here are a few ways you can do that.

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  • 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's credentials. Are they licensed? Where did they get their degree? 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 you're looking for, 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 that way. You can ask any questions you want and decide whether they are a good fit for you. You may want to see if they can meet in person for a consultation. You can get a reasonable idea of their character through the phone, but the best way to get to know them is to talk to them face to face. This can give you a good idea of their quirks, their body language, their mannerisms, and many other factors that can help you determine whether the therapist is for you.

Look To Online Therapy

There are some places where there are just no good counselors in the area. This is common in rural areas, but even some urban places may not offer good counselors 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 as in-person therapy. However, with video chat, you can have the same type of face-to-face conversation and connection.

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.


There are many options when you're trying to locate a good therapist to help you through a difficult time. You can try to find one in your local area, or you can look online.

One online therapy platform to consider is BetterHelp. BetterHelp therapists are licensed, and the service is both affordable and convenient. At a low cost when compared to in-person therapy, you can meet with your BetterHelp therapist whenever you have time and wherever you have an internet connection.

If you need therapy, the general advice is that you should not be afraid to find a therapist and get the help you need. While finding a counselor can be difficult, once you find one suitable for your situation, your life can change for the better.

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