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Therapy 101

How to find a therapist

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How to find a therapist

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Finding a therapist can seem overwhelming. You might find a great match right away, or it might take a few tries to find someone you can work with—that’s normal and you should trust your instincts on this. If available, try to book a free therapy consultation first. 

Therapist fit

It’s very common and completely acceptable to have preferences around gender/gender expression and sexual orientation, age, cultural or religious background, or even the way a therapist’s voice sounds. It’s all about finding a therapist you click with. 

Viewing a therapist’s interview videos on First Session is a great way to get a sense of their personality and learn more about their approach. Toggle through our search filters for specializations that match your situation. 

Keep these tips in mind for establishing the foundation for a strong relationship:

  • Honesty is essential. The more honest and open you are with your therapist, the more positive change becomes possible. If you don’t feel comfortable being honest with them, they might not be the right fit for you.
  • Communicate your boundaries. Being open with your therapist will help your treatment progress. If you feel uncomfortable or emotionally overwhelmed, it’s perfectly acceptable to change topics or even end the session. A therapist who is a good match should pick up on this, and make it easy to discuss.
  • Progress may be slow, and that’s okay. Daily life today can feel very fast and competitive, but that’s not the expectation for your therapy experience. Progress doesn’t always occur in a straight line. Let your experience unfold at its own pace, in its own way.

Some other things to keep in mind when browsing for a therapist, counsellor, psychologist or psychotherapist:

  • Budget. Therapy costs vary widely. Choose someone you can realistically afford.
  • Coverage. If you have extended healthcare coverage, ensure you’re selecting the right type of therapist for your coverage plan.
  • Location. Check out the therapist’s office and ensure it’s easy to get to on a regular basis. Many therapists offer phone or online options. 
  • Availability. Decide when and how often your schedule will allow for therapy. Frequency of therapy is ultimately up to you, however your therapist can help recommend a plan based on your first few sessions.

Booking an appointment

Once you’ve found one or more potential therapists, you may be able to book a free consultation with them. A consultation is a way for a therapist to speak to you directly about your needs and goals, and for you to assess fit.

After a consultation, ask yourself:

  • Did they make me feel welcome and at-ease?
  • Did they explain their approach in a way I understand?
  • Do we share any commonalities that may make this relationship work well?
  • Can I afford them?
  • Can I regularly attend my appointments with them?

It’s also common to book a full first session with a therapist after reviewing their video interviews and online profiles. You may feel like you’re ready to jump in right away, and this is totally up to you. Remember, you can always change therapists at any time.

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