Making the decision to start therapy can be difficult. You may have been debating backing and forth for a while. Maybe you’ve been googling symptoms and attempting to fix things all on your own. Maybe you’ve started medication, but you are sick of the side effects.You push through the anxiety and indecision, and you finally decide that its time to start therapy.
But now you face a new hurdle: “ok, so how do I find a counselor?” The quest of finding a therapist you can trust, who can help you, and who you can connect with can seem just as difficult a decision as starting therapy in the first place. If you are searching for child counseling or a counselor for your teenager, you may feel even more pressure to make the right decision. You want your child to connect with their therapist, but even more importantly to get the help they need now.
How to Find a Counselor
Here are a few different tips to find a counselor or therapist near you that you can trust.
Tip #1: Ask around
This is the best way, and sometimes the most difficult way, to find a therapist. If you trust your friends and family, you can trust the therapist or counselor that they recommend. Sometimes it means more that someone you know has had a personal experience being helped by a counselor. It can make you feel more comfortable and confident in your choice of a provider.
However, this also means that you need to admit you are looking for therapy. To avoid opening up more than you want to, you could always say something along the lines of “I just want someone to talk to about some things” or “I want a name just in case I decide to go”. You could even use the “I have a friend who is looking for a counselor.” But if you don’t want those closest to you to know you are going to therapy, read on for more tips that are a little more private.
Tip #2: Ask another provider you trust
If you have other professionals in your life that you trust, you can ask them for a referral to a professional counselor. Examples of these people who you may already have a relationship with include your primary doctor, your child’s pediatrician, school counselors, psychiatrist, teachers, massage therapist, hairdresser, or even a personal trainer. Again, when you know and trust someone, you can trust their judgement as they refer you to someone they know and trust.
Tip #3: Use a directory
There are many different directories that list therapists in your area. In fact, if you search for “counselor in williamsville, ny” in a search engine, such as google, directory listings are often listed in the top few links. Each therapist in the directory generally has a profile page that describes more about them, a picture of them, and a way to get more information (phone number, website, etc.). *Please note that some require a subscription to use. Here are some of the more popular directories:
- Psychology Today
- Good Therapy
- Open Path Psychotherapy Collective (exclusive to sliding scale fee therapists)
- Therapy Tribe
On these directories you can search for a therapist in your area, then browse the profiles that match your search. Some offer the option to search by the primary issue that is causing you to seek counseling (anxiety, depression, teen counseling, etc.). That way you can find a therapist that best fits what you are looking for.
Tip #4: Google It
Alright, so this might seem like a dreaded option. Kind of like casting a fishing line in a giant, unfamiliar pond and not knowing what you’ll find there. The nice thing is that if you type in “Counseling in Williamsville, NY” google will bring up a map of different businesses that are listed in that area. Some may even have ratings or reviews to give you an idea of how well they do in the community.
Most therapists will also have their own website where you can learn more about their practice. Much like the directories, you can discover their specialties, see a picture of them, and get a feel for what their personality is like. They will also have the option to contact them to schedule an appointment.
Tip #5: Search Facebook
I have never tried this, so I can’t guarantee that it is a great choice for those seeking professional therapy. However, since Facebook seems to rule most of our lives these days, searching for a therapist via Facebook is a viable option. Many therapy practices have business pages or groups available where you can find out information about their practice. You might see feedback from previous clients or content that the business might post to give you a better idea of their services and if they are a good fit for you. The negative would be that any practice not on Facebook would not come up in your search, which means you’d be missing out on some options.
These tips should get you started on how to find a counselor near you. Most counselors have multiple ways to reach out such as phone, email, texting, or even a contact form on his/her website. Don’t let your fear or anxiety get in the way. REACH OUT. Get the help you need. If the first counselor isn’t a good fit, keep trying. My hope is that therapists will be up front with you about what they can help with and what they can’t.
Do you have any other tips that i forgot to mention? How have you successfully found your therapist in the past? Please leave your answers in the comments section below.
If you are looking for a counselor in Williamsville, NY please contact us. If Made to Thrive is not the right fit for you, we can help you connect to a trusted provider in the area.
Erica K. Cieri, LCSW is a therapist and trainer at Made to Thrive in Williamsville, NY. She specializes in working with kids, teens and college students dealing with anxiety, behavior problems, tough relationships and difficulty managing their emotions. She collaborates with her clients to develop strategies to manage their current issues, but also to discover long term how to find peace. Erica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.