I Live In A Rural Area. How Do I Find A Mental Health Therapist Near Me?

Updated April 11, 2024by MyTherapist Editorial Team

Have you been trying to get counseling (and you live in a rural area) or don’t have many available options for therapy in your town? You may be disappointed at the limited results you get when you do a Google search for “find a mental health therapist nearby” or find a “family counseling near me.” For many people, finding a therapist in their neighborhood when they live in a rural area is often a challenge. 

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Get quality mental health support wherever you live

Online therapy provides flexible, affordable opportunities for people to obtain mental health support from any location with a secure internet connection. In this article, we discuss the benefits of online therapy, how to pay for online therapy, and how to know if you qualify for online therapy. Let’s begin with how to find a psychologist or therapist online.

How to find a mental health therapist

Many people who need mental health services aren’t sure where to start with getting help. Many people complete an online search to find local, affordable providers in their region. But what do you do when your search for a “mental health therapist nearby” yields no results? There’s no need to panic, as there are new options available for seeking mental health care services online.

Pay attention to the search results you get when you Google “child therapist near me,” “family therapist near me,” or” cognitive-behavioral therapist near me.” Have you been bypassing online therapy options? Telehealth and telemedicine providers now provide distance therapy for basic medical and mental health-related treatments that don’t require a face-to-face visit in an office.

The online counseling platform MyTherapist provides flexible therapy format that includes SMS messaging, video chat, and phone call capabilities. Taking part in therapy online eliminates the need for searching only for in-person or local therapists and provides online mental health seekers with more options; this facet can be particularly helpful if you are seeking support for a rare condition.

Online providers hold the same credentials as offline providers. For example, the providers at BetterHelp.com all hold advanced degrees in psychology and their niche field of study (i.e., family counseling, addiction recovery, support for post-partum depression). Examples of common providers that you’ll find online are psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Together, this group of mental health professionals provides online counseling, therapy, medication management referrals, and advice for mental health clients.

Today’s online mental health providers offer treatment and counseling services for chronic mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. BetterHelp or MyTherapist providers will take the time to get to know you, how you’re experiencing challenges, and what your goals are in order to help form a treatment plan and start supporting you in achieving your goals. It may be that you do not receive a diagnosis of a mental illness, which doesn’t invalidate anything concerning you’ve been experiencing. 

What are the benefits of online therapy?


Getting psychotherapy online is still a relatively new concept for many people. With this being the case, many people are wondering what the benefits are of seeing a psychotherapist online vs. an in-office therapist. The most common reason mental health clients are finding it beneficial to get therapy online is the fact that it saves time.

Not having enough time to get things done is one of the main reasons people might experience stress in the first place. Eliminating the need for a long commute – or any commute for that matter – can go a long way towards restoring peace of mind. Parents don’t need to sacrifice attending their kids’ sports matches or socializing with friends in order to get help. Additionally, if two people want to attend therapy together but they don’t live in the same zip code, they can still meet virtually with a therapist; this can be helpful in terms of divorced or separated parents seeking support for co-parenting skills.

MyTherapist’s flexible meeting options enable users to take control of their therapeutic experience. It might make sense for them to text their counselor in the middle of a critical moment if they need a helpful reminder of how to use strategies, for example. If you’re on vacation and encounter an unanticipated trigger to your recovery process, you can call your therapist and chat through difficult emotions. You can decide how often you meet and from where.

We mentioned that online therapy is also more affordable, in most cases, than traditional in-person therapy. That’s because MyTherapist counselors can also work from home, eliminating the need to pay for monthly office rent and associated fees. Many people may be experiencing stress due to financial hardship, so opting for a more cost-effective form of therapy can reduce some of the existing burden.

What will happen in my first online therapy sessions?

If you haven’t been previously diagnosed with any mental health-related concerns, you may not understand what to expect when you reach out to a healthcare provider. Your first consultation will likely involve you taking one or more assessments to determine what (if any) mental health diagnoses you have. 

Alternatively, or at the same time, the counselor may ask you to fill out forms sharing information about your upbringing, major events from childhood and adolescence, relationship and family history, and current stressors. They will want to get a full picture of your life and what experiences have helped shape your thought and behavior patterns – both biological and environmental influences.

Based on the results of your mental health screening assessment and a few other factors, your mental health provider will determine if they can provide services for you online or if they should refer you to an in-office provider for more intensive therapy or medication management. If your issue is severe or requires a prescription that your online provider isn’t able to prescribe, you’ll be referred to offline services available near you.

Otherwise, you’ll receive a treatment proposal from your therapist. A treatment plan is an initial recommendation for how your therapy will progress based on your therapist’s initial assessment of your condition. MyTherapist and BetterHelp treat many mild cases of mental health concerns like anxiety and depression with talk therapy, medication management, concurrent in-office therapy, or any combination of the above. 

One of the most popular forms of talk therapy for today’s mental health providers is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of talk therapy that helps mental health clients make positive changes in their behavior by first acknowledging and recognizing negative behavior patterns and stressors. There are many variations of talk therapy, including exposure therapy, which can help clients overcome fears and negative behaviors by being gradually introduced to a troubling stimulus.

The amount of time that you spend in therapy depends on many factors, including your rate of progress. Some clients resolve challenges and life issues within 16 weeks of CBT, for example, while others will spend more or less time based on the complexity of their issues.

How do I pay for online therapy?

Therapy options online range in cost from free to as much as in-office therapy sessions, which can exceed $200 per hour. Don’t let these numbers scare you. There is an affordable option for online therapy available to everyone – regardless of your income or insurance. 

Subscription-based therapy breaks your therapy costs into smaller payments to make them easier to afford. For example, leading therapy platforms like BetterHelp.com offer subscription-based therapy services that start at just $65.00 per week. When you consider the national average, it’s much easier to afford $65.00 a week than $200.00. This is especially true when you’re paying for the same services that you would get in an office.

Sometimes, insurance companies who provide behavioral health coverage may cover the costs of online therapy with or without a copay. Insurance providers who don’t offer coverage may reimburse clients for sessions with certified mental health professionals online, like board-certified psychologists. If you’re not sure if your health insurance plan offers coverage or reimbursement for mental health care, check with your health insurance provider for details.

Is online therapy effective?

Yes – online counseling is efficacious in treating myriad symptoms of mild to moderate mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. People who are living with substance use disorders have also experienced positive outcomes from attending online counseling. One particular study sought to determine the effectiveness of e-therapy as a treatment for patients with substance use disorders and other addictions. Evidence revealed that therapist-guided e-counseling reduced problematic alcohol consumption and cannabis use.

Researchers have also studied the impact of online therapy in helping people overcome eating disorders. In a randomized trial, practitioners engaged groups of participants in internet-based CBT (iCBT) and intensive day-patient treatments. All participants entered the study with a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa. One year after the study concluded, participants in the iCBT treatment group continued to improve, whereas those in the face-to-face cohort merely sustained their improvements. 

Many other studies have been conducted regarding online therapy’s efficacy, and not just pertaining to CBT. You can visit websites like Frontiers and the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) to look up studies specific to certain conditions (i.e., borderline personality disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and PTSD) and read about how different online approaches have helped patients reach fulfilling and healthy lives.

Get quality mental health support wherever you live


By now, you should have a better idea of where you can find mental health therapists, including CBT counselors and family therapists. You can feel confident that when you search for a “cognitive behavioral therapist near me” that you’ll find options that range from in-office visits to online therapy.

Online therapy options are available for adults who are living with mental illnesses, people going through stress and difficult life transitions or relationships, and anyone who wants to support someone enduring hardship. You do not have to have a mental disorder to experience the benefits of online therapy, and you don’t have to feel limited by the area you love living in order to find qualified support. Reach out to a compassionate, dedicated MyTherapist counselor to start making progress toward your mental health goals.

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