Psychologists Near Me in Washington DC
Whether you’re interested in trying therapy for the first time or looking to return after some time away, deciding to seek professional help is never easy. Deciding to attend therapy requires resilience and self-awareness—but the benefits of therapy are worth it.
But before you can enjoy the benefits of therapy, you’ll need to find a psychologist near you. Finding a therapist can seem like a daunting task, especially in the nation’s capital. You might feel lost about where to start, or it might feel like there are too many options, and you’re not sure how to filter your search to find the right fit.
Fortunately, there are countless resources to aid your search and help you navigate the process.
Finding a Psychologist Near You
Before you start your search for a specialist near you, take some time to decide what kind of therapist you’re looking for, what you want to get out of treatment, and what attributes are essential to you. There’s no right or wrong way to search for a therapist—it’s all about identifying your needs and making a choice that works for you.
With that in mind, here are some crucial factors to consider during your search for a psychologist in the nation’s capital.
Which type of therapist is right for you?
Because the terms ‘therapist’ and ‘psychologist’ are often used interchangeably, it’s essential to understand the key differences between different kinds of mental health providers before starting your search. Psychologists hold a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD), typically have multiple areas of expertise, and have years of experience and training in talk therapy.
Meanwhile, psychiatrists diagnose mental health disorders and prescribe medication. If you’re seeing a psychologist who thinks medication would help in your treatment, they can refer you to a psychiatrist.
Clinical social workers, family and marriage therapists,, and professional counselors usually hold a master’s degree and are licensed to provide psychotherapy services. While clinical social workers receive training in therapy, case management, and advocacy services, counselors and marriage and family therapists perform mental health evaluations and utilize therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy, to treat patients.
Are they licensed?
Make sure your mental healthcare provider is licensed to practice in Washington D.C. Common licenses include licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed psychologist, and licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs).
Does your insurance plan cover therapy?
If you’re planning to use health insurance to cover the costs of therapy, you may wish to filter your search to include psychologists who accept your insurance plan. Keep in mind that not all insurance companies cover mental health services, and not all therapists accept insurance. It can be difficult to find therapists in DC who take insurance. It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with how out-of-network benefits work with your insurance plan as you do you search for a therapist. Additionally, all insurance plans which cover mental health services require treatment from a licensed therapist.
If affordability is an issue, some private practice therapists offer sliding-scale fees or payment plans for uninsured patients. Many interns at community mental health centers and volunteers at nonprofits offer free or low-cost psychology services. In Washington, DC, one lower fee therapy practice is the Capital Therapy Project. Online therapy is also an affordable alternative for many patients, as it eliminates the costs of transportation.
Are you struggling with a specific issue?
One of the best ways to find the right therapist is to narrow your search to therapists who have experience treating your specific condition. For instance, if you’re seeking professional help for a specific mental health issue such as anxiety, prioritize specialists who have experience treating patients with anxiety disorders.
Many therapists specialize in multiple areas, such as substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. Even if you haven’t received a formal diagnosis, using search terms like “depression treatment in Washington D.C.“ can help you filter your results. Finding a therapist with years of experience treating others in the same boat as you can not only help you feel more confident entering treatment, but it can also give you the peace of mind that you’re in good hands.
Do you have any personal preferences or requirements?
Do you prefer a clinical psychologist of a certain gender or a therapist with years of experience treating LGBTQ+ patients? Do you want to see a psychotherapist who offers individual therapy or couples counseling? Do you want to work with someone who shares your ethnicity or who received training in cultural competence? These are all important factors to consider during your search for a psychologist.
Depending on your mental health needs, a therapist with a similar background can promote better outcomes in treatment, according to the American Psychological Association. While accreditation and past experience are important, prioritizing your preferences can help find a therapist that resonates with you.
Do you prefer online therapy or in-person therapy?
Depending on your specific needs, it might feel impossible to find a good fit near you. Or maybe it would be too difficult to travel to a therapist in your area, or you’re too busy to schedule in-person appointments. Teletherapy can help you access therapy whenever and wherever works best for you.
Online platforms like the Therapy Group of DC connect patients with online therapy specialists that match their personal preferences, requirements, and availability. You can also choose a psychologist who focuses on specific treatment methods, such as CBT or psychodynamic therapy. Many online mental health care providers even offer family and couples counseling.
Online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy and offers a safer alternative to mental health services in the age of COVID-19.
Choosing the Right Therapist
Now that you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, how do you find the right therapist match? It might be tempting to start with a Google search for “psychologists near me,“ but sorting through countless pages of results can feel overwhelming. Here are some ways to start your search:
- Ask for a recommendation or referral. If friends and family members have received therapy in the past, consider asking for a recommendation. Even if you don’t want to use the same psychologist as them, you can still ask their psychologist for a referral. Additionally, you can ask your family care practitioner or primary care physician for a referral to a nearby therapist.
- Use your insurance provider’s directory. Use your insurance company’s online therapist directory to search for psychologists by zip code and specialty. Sometimes, your insurance provider’s list might feel too short—or even too long—and can feel overwhelming to sort through. If you find a psychologist that seems like a good match, a phone call can help you learn more about their credentials and past experience.
- Use your employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many employers offer EAP programs for employees, which typically provide short-term counseling services. EAPs provide a network of therapists with different areas of specialties. If needed, your counselor can provide a referral for longer-term treatment.
- Explore your school’s resources. If you’re a student, faculty member, or alum, check whether your university offers counseling services. If you’re a parent, most elementary and secondary schools have a counseling or guidance office. Your child’s guidance counselor may be able to connect you to a network of therapists specialized in treating children and adolescents.
- Use online search engines. Online search therapy search engines such as WithTherapy or professional associations, such as the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association, offer search engines to help prospective patients find lists of licensed psychologists.
- Use an online platform. Using an online platform like the Therapy Group of DC can help you find therapists that match your preferences and availability. Online platforms typically offer short descriptions with each therapist’s credentials, years of experience, and theoretical orientation, along with options for scheduling an appointment. If you think a particular psychologist would be a good match, consider browsing their personal website or social media accounts to find out more about their accreditation, past experience, and education in clinical psychology.
The choice is yours.
Ultimately, the best way to find a psychologist near you is to trust your instincts. Above all else, choosing a new therapist is all about finding someone you feel safe and comfortable opening up to. Although therapy can be challenging, you should always feel like your therapist is someone you like and respect.
During your search, give yourself enough time and space to schedule initial appointments with potential therapists before committing to one, and remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to say “no“ if a particular psychologist doesn’t feel like a good fit. Putting your mental health in the hands of the right person is essential, and finding a good therapist can and often does take time.
When you’re ready to start your search, reach out to a licensed psychologist near me through the Therapy Group of DC. We know that finding a psychologist can be complicated, especially given the stress and uncertainty of the current coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’re interested in teletherapy or in-person sessions, the mental healthcare professionals at the Therapy Group of DC can help you navigate life’s challenges, find new ways to cope with stress and start feeling better.