How Does Therapy Work? A Series (Part 3: Administrative Stuff)

Updated: Jan 17

So, you know you want to start therapy and you've asked yourself questions to help you research a therapist. But, how do you go about actually finding a therapist?

Therapist directories are typically able to be filtered by the who, what, where, when, why and how. These directories can often be overwhelming—sometimes with thousands of choices, depending on your location. It can be helpful to have some kind of idea of what you want. You probably know how to use a search engine. You can type something like “marriage counselor” into Google or Bing...or Yahoo or Excite or Lycos or Ask Jeeves if you’re time traveling. If you do this on Google, you’ll get one of those little maps and a list of therapists in your area beneath it. If you skip past that map, you’ll get to some of those big therapy outfits like Better Help or Talkspace that offer therapy like a subscription service (a discussion for another blog).

If you’re using insurance, you can go directly to your insurance company’s website, usually, insurance companies categorize psychotherapy as “behavioral health.” There, you can find a therapist in your insurance network and in your geographical area. If you want to go very in-depth, you can do some cross-referencing at this point.

  1. Write down some therapists from your insurance’s website

  2. Use a search engine to see if you can find their professional website or a directory listing. Now, you can determine if they meet some of your interrogative questions.


Psychology Today is the big directory. Many therapists use it to put themselves online. There’s information about pricing, theoretical orientation, specialization, insurances accepted and a blurb about their practice.

Other directories can hold a collection of therapists who work with a specific communities, niches, or needs:

Therapy Den


Good Therapy

Being Seen

Therapy for Black Girls

Therapy for Black Men

Melanin and Mental Health,

Pride Counseling

National Queer and Trans Therapist of Color Network

Asian Mental Health Collective

Inclusive Therapists

Latinx Therapy

National Deaf Therapy

Open Path Collective (low cost therapy)

As always, this is by no means an exhaustive list and please comment if you know more directories!

Use People You Know and Places You Go

You can really find resources all around you, you just have to ask for help (which is the hardest thing, I know).

  • You can go to your college’s counseling center for short-term services and they’ll help refer you to a therapist in your community.

  • You can talk to your company’s human resources department which will often hold a list of therapists in the community.

  • You can talk to one of your doctors who will be able to refer you to a therapist.

  • You can talk to your neighbor who, much to your surprise, knows someone.

  • Your local librarian, massage therapist, electrician, your child’s teacher.

Really, any of these people may either know someone or knows someone who knows someone.

The reality is, there are almost 1000s of new therapists every year in counties near this practice (distant suburbs of NYC). There’s no shortage of helpers. It’s a matter of reaching out and doing the work.

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