This Shouldn't Be So Hard: The Daunting Task of Finding a Therapist in LA
The truth is, Los Angeles is saturated with psychotherapists. If you go to the popular therapist search website, Psychology Today, you will probably find a lengthy list of therapists in your area. That being said, why the hell is finding a therapist so hard?!
I used to be surprised when clients of mine would tell me how hard they looked for a therapist before finding me. I have come to realize that it isn't just finding A therapist, it is finding YOUR therapist. We don't have a choice as to the family we are born into and we are limited in our selection of friends in both high school and college. As adults, we have the incredible power of choice when it comes to our relationships! Hopefully, one of those relationships is a therapeutic one where you can gain a new and perhaps deeper perspective.
It is my belief that finding a good therapeutic fit is of great importance when choosing the person to assist you in breaking old relational patterns, embracing both acceptance and change, processing past trauma, increasing your sense of self-worth, developing a stronger sense of self-awareness and so on. Therapy can be a vulnerable space, and you will often work through some of your relational anxieties with the therapist in the room.
TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR THERAPIST
Look at their specialities
Most therapists work with a range of things (anxiety, depression, career, relationship issues, etc.), but not every therapist will specialize in what you are looking for. For example, although many therapists work with the LGBTQ community, it may be important to you to find a therapist who has received LGBTQ training or certification.
Look at their fees
Therapy is expensive, but is an important and powerful investment in YOU. As you may know, some therapists offer sliding scale fees. If so, do not feel bad asking them about it! They have it for a reason, and will tell you if they have any sliding scale availability. If they cannot accommodate your needs, you can ask them if they know therapists who can. There are always lower fee options including other licensed professionals, interns, and no-fee to low-fee agencies.
Read about their therapeutic orientation/approach
One thing to know is that most therapists have a theoretical orientation and operate through that therapeutic lens. Some therapists stick to one orientation, and some choose to blend orientations depending on the client. For example, although I integrate tools from different theoretical orientations (also known as integrative/holistic therapy), I tend to view things through a psychodynamic lens. Psychodynamic theorists believe that change happens through insight and deeper understanding. This can be found through exploring childhood relationships, unconscious conflicts, relational patterns, and attachment issues. If someon
e is not interested in exploring the past, I am probably not the best therapist fit for them. Most therapists will list their therapeutic orientation in the "About Me" section of their website. If you are interested in learning the basics of different psychotherapy approaches, click here.
Ask for a free consultation or brief phone chat if available
Although you will get a much better feel for the energy of the therapist when you meet in person, it is a wonderful idea to have a brief phone chat with the therapist to see if you may be a good fit. Sometimes you have to have a few of these conversations before you decide who you want to see. You also have to see if their fee is manageable and if they have openings that work with your schedule!
Ask for referrals
If scheduling or fees do not work out with the therapist you had in mind, ask them for referrals! Hopefully, they will do the work to give you a few therapist referrals that may be a good fit for you.
Trust your gut
Yes, trust your gut (that inner intuitive voice that tries to get your attention whether you are listening or not). Lastly, know that building a relationship, especially an intimate one, takes time.
I wish you the absolute best in finding a therapist to assist you in your life journey, and if you need referrals, feel free to contact me at any time!