Are you struggling to find a therapist who you feel can really help you? Are you going to therapy search websites and feeling overwhelmed by all the profiles and information that’s out there?

You’re not alone; I hear about this struggle time and time again. Maybe you’re ready for therapy but aren’t sure how to tell if a therapist is right for you, or perhaps you just don’t feel you’re clicking with your current therapist and want to explore other options. Either way, there are some things you can ask yourself and potential therapists to make sure you find a good fit.

The best therapist for you is someone who fits your personality and who’s able to understand and help you with the particular issues you want to work on. You don’t always find “the one” on the first date. Not every therapist out there is going to be “the one” either.

So what can you do to narrow down the search and have a better chance at finding that therapist who is right for you?

First, ask yourself some questions to help you discover what kind of therapist you’re really looking for:

*Do you prefer to see a male or female therapist? Or does that not matter to you?

*What time are you able to meet? Some therapists have evening and weekend availability, others do not. Do you have a strong day and time preference, or are your hours flexible?

*How important is location to you? Do you want someone close to where you work, study, or live?

*Do you have a preference when it comes to therapy style? For example, would you like a therapist who is proactive during therapy sessions, who makes them feel more like conversations and discussions? Or are you looking for a therapist who is more passive, giving you most of the session to talk and providing small pockets of feedback periodically?

*Do you need to use your insurance for therapy sessions? Or can you afford to pay privately if the therapist you want to see is not on your insurance panel?

*What issues do you want to work on?

Once you understand your own preferences and needs, you can ask any potential therapists the following questions to feel out if they might be a good match for you:

*What is their availability? Does their schedule match yours?

*Where are they located? Do they have multiple offices?

*How would they describe themselves as a therapist? Are they more passive or proactive in sessions? Are they direct and blunt, or do they carefully guide people toward answers? Some therapists may also have a website that provides more information on who they are as a clinician.

*Do they take insurance? If so, which ones? If not, what is the out-of-pocket fee?

Note: If you need to use your insurance, you can also start your search by calling your health care provider and asking for names of clinicians who are on your insurance panel. This is an easy way to narrow down your initial list of therapists to speak with.

*Do they treat what you are looking to work on? If so, how long they have been doing this type of work? And what methods do they use in sessions to help?

*Lastly, how do they sound on the phone? Does this person sound like they know what they are talking about? Do they sound helpful? Do you get a feeling that you click? I know some people find using the phone difficult, especially if there is anxiety involved, but I do encourage you to speak with your potential therapists at least once over the phone before scheduling a session.

There’s no 100-percent guarantee that you’ll be able to feel out a good fit just by talking to someone on the phone for 10 minutes and asking them questions, but this process can certainly help you discover what you need and hopefully lead you to a therapist who you think you might find helpful and enjoy working with.

I know the search for the right therapist can feel like an uphill battle at times. I hope this advice is helpful as you look for a therapist who best fits you and your needs.

As always, I am sending good energy your way.

Originally published at


  • Angela Ficken

    Boston-based psychotherapist and entrepreneur

    I am a therapist who will challenge you to work on becoming the happier, healthier self you envision. I am an active listener in sessions and believe that providing feedback is the best way to challenge behavior patterns and to ultimately help you connect with your own strengths, wisdom, and inner resources. I ask questions and will engage you in a thoughtful way while providing you with a non-judgmental, supportive environment. I use several therapy strategies to guide patients toward accomplishing goals: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Supportive Psychotherapy Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) – Exposure therapy is specifically used for people diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Each individual comes with different experiences and needs, therefore we might use one or all of these strategies based on what you want to work on. I believe in progress, not perfection and that with every problem there is an opportunity for growth.