‘Therapists Near Me’, Personalized Matches, or Referrals: Which is best?
Starting therapy isn’t easy, but choosing the right therapist can be even more challenging. Even if it takes some trial and error, you should choose a therapist you feel comfortable with. It’s normal for painful emotions to surface during therapy sessions, but you should always feel safe, heard, and validated during therapy.
So, how can you choose the right fit? Between local therapists, personalized matches, and referrals, here’s how to find the best therapist for you.
Should you work with a local therapist?
When considering therapy, the natural first step is to search for “therapists near me.” To create a shortlist of potential therapists, you might scroll through online databases, search your health insurance directory, or research local organizations to find local providers.
Working with a local therapist can help kickstart your mental wellness journey, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re dealing with a hectic schedule, interested in a specific type of therapy, or living in a small town, video visits with a licensed therapist can help you access quality psychotherapy from the comfort of your own home.
What are personalized matches?
Just like choosing a doctor, choosing a counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker is incredibly personal. According to the American Psychological Association, the therapeutic alliance—the relationship between a client and therapist—can have lasting impacts on an individual’s mental health, even after therapy ends.
That’s where personalized matches can make all the difference. Online therapy platforms like The Therapy Group of DC connect every client to DC therapists, or therapists who are licensed to see clients in DC, based on their unique preferences, requirements, and mental health needs. Whether you’re seeking help for a specific mental health issue or just looking to improve your mental wellness, personalized matches can help you find a mental health professional who truly understands you.
How do referrals work?
If you’re starting therapy for the first time, you might ask trusted friends, family members, coworkers, or health care professionals for referrals to local therapists. When you ask a trusted doctor for a referral, your doctor will send your information to a local therapist so you can easily schedule the first appointment. Your doctor will ask about your mental health issues so they can choose the right psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health professional for you.
Referrals can be especially helpful if you’re searching for a therapist within your insurance network. Sometimes, local therapists specialize in private practice or don’t accept insurance coverage. Your doctor will consider these factors when providing referrals to make appropriate suggestions.
What’s the best option?
When deciding between referrals, local therapists, and personalized matches, the best choice will depend on your personal preferences, requirements, and mental health needs.
If you’re dealing with a serious mental health issue, such as schizophrenia or substance abuse, working with a local therapist can help you prioritize your mental health with additional support. And if you’re starting therapy for the first time, referrals can help you skip the time-consuming process of searching for potential therapists in your area.
Of course, “therapists near me” and referrals have their downfalls. Not everyone can access in-person therapy, and finding a mental health specialist in your area can be difficult, especially if you’re living in a rural town or are looking for care for LGBTQIA+ concerns, for instance. Even if you get a glowing referral from your closest friend or family member, it’s important to remember that everyone has different mental health needs. The right therapist for them won’t always be the right choice for you.
Meanwhile, an online therapy platform with personalized matches can help you find a therapist with the right credentials, whether you’re searching for an experienced family therapist or a psychotherapist with years of experience treating panic attacks — some who may be near you, some who may be a few states away. Studies show that online therapy is as effective as face-to-face therapy in treating many mental illnesses, and online therapy can be a helpful first step in anyone’s mental health journey.
How can you choose the best therapist?
To make the most of every counseling session, you need to place your mental health in the right person’s hands. The right therapist will listen to your unique needs, work toward your goals, and create a personalized treatment plan so you can make positive changes in your mental health.
To find the right match, reach out to a therapist through The Therapy Group of DC. We know that therapy can feel overwhelming, and we’ll help you every step of the way with personalized matches and data-driven therapy. One of our compassionate mental health professionals will help you kickstart your journey toward mental wellness so you can start feeling better.