How to Pick a Good Therapist?
Home/  Blog/ How to Pick a Good Therapist?

How to Pick a Good Therapist?

Over 198,811 therapists employed in the United States. Also, with nearly 200,000 mental health professionals to choose from, finding a therapist can be challenging, to say the least.


You may currently be in the process of finding a good therapist. Because of this the answers to these questions can help them narrow down your search and choose the best person to meet their needs.



Table of Contents

(click on a question below to be directed quickly)

What should I look for in a therapist?
Should I stick to therapists in-network with my insurance?
Where do I go to look for therapists? What’s the best way?
How important is it for me to like my therapist?
What questions should I ask a counselor to see if we are a good match?
How do I know if I chose the right therapist?



What Should I Look for in a Therapist?


Regardless of the type of therapy a person is considering, some overarching attributes should be taken into account when weighing one’s options. The following are some specific characteristics to look for when researching a potential therapist:



In the U.S., each state has its own licensing requirements that therapists must meet before they can legally practice.


The minimum education credential for a therapist is a master’s degree, according to Good Therapy. However, many go on to extend their training and also pursue doctoral degrees.



Whether they practice mindfulness-based therapy, family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or any other type, a good therapist will have experience in that specific field.  Also, they will share the amount of experience they have or details about where they gained that experience (working in clinics, recovery centers, etc.).


License and Credentials

Always look into a therapist’s credentials to ensure their license is up to date and that they’re licensed to practice in a specific state. From a marriage and family therapist to a social worker, it should be easy to look online and verify their credentials and legitimacy. Further, insurance will only cover licensed therapists.



No matter what kind of therapy they practice, a good therapist will use evidence-based methods. This is because those methods have been proven to help with certain mental health conditions. They shouldn’t go outside of their scope. Instead, they should always refer out when a patient needs help beyond their area of expertise.


Good Personality

In addition to experience and expertise, personality matters for therapists, too. So, patients should consider whether or not their personality matches with their therapist’s. This helps to ensure a cohesive, supportive relationship and can yield better results over time.


Busy and Popular

The best therapists tend to have relatively full schedules and plenty of patients or clients. If someone has a wide-open schedule, that can sometimes be a red flag. This is especially true if they’ve been practicing for a while. However, newer therapists can sometimes be an exception to this rule.




Should I Stick to Therapists In-Network with My Insurance?


For those who are looking to minimize treatment costs and maximize their insurance benefits, it’s best to stay in-network when trying to choose a therapist. Sometimes, though, it can pay off to look outside one’s network.


For example, sometimes people run into situations where all of the in-network therapists for their specific insurance company have long waiting lists or don’t specialize in the type of therapy one is interested in. In these cases, going out of network can provide more benefits and ultimately be worth the extra upfront costs.


Best therapist twin cities near me




Where Do I Go to Look for Therapists? What’s the Best Way?


There’s no denying that counseling is an investment of time, money (the average session costs between $75 and $150, according to this article from Healthline), and energy. Because it requires so much of an investment on the patient’s part, they need to be choosy and choose wisely when they start to look for a therapist.


For those who aren’t sure where to go to find therapists or any other reputable mental health professional, here are some tips that can help:


Seek Friend/Family Referrals

Asking friends or family is a good starting point for a lot of people. This is because if they know of someone else who has been to therapy for similar mental health challenges, getting their opinion can make a big difference. Also, it simplify the search process.


Call Your Insurance Company

If someone is determined to stay in-network, it’s a good idea to consult their insurance company. This helps them to ensure they’re not considering out-of-network therapists.


Talk to the Receptionist at a Clinic

Speaking to a receptionist at a mental health clinic can help potential patients to get a sense of the office environment and whether or not it’s a good fit for them. Is the receptionist polite and professional? Do they provide helpful information?


Find Reviews Online

Reading online reviews is helpful, too. Many websites, such as Psychology Today, make it easy for those seeking therapy to read reviews, look at a therapist’s credentials, and find someone who’s in-network. Also, read a clinics Google Business page to see what others are saying. Here is ALL IN’s page as a reference.



How Important Is it for Me to Like My Therapist?


The short answer is that it’s very important for patients to like their therapists.


If someone doesn’t like their therapist or feel connected to them on some level, it’s going to be much harder for them to express their thoughts and feelings. On top of that, they may be comfortable talking about the serious issues that are affecting their mental health. Therapy works for a lot of people. However, the patient and the therapist must be on the same page. In fact, the connection between the therapist and the client is one of the most influential factors that determines whether therapy will even work.


A strong therapeutic alliance is a key component of the therapy process because it can have a significant impact on a person’s treatment outcomes.


Also, someone can be a good therapist but not necessarily the right therapist for a particular patient. Further, the therapist might be qualified and good at their job but also not be a good fit for someone’s specific needs and concerns.


Because of this, if this ends up being the case for someone, it’s okay for them to stop seeing that therapist and start looking for another one.


What Questions Should I Ask a Counselor to See if We Are a Good Match?


Your questions are important. Thus, during their first few therapy sessions, it can be helpful for the patient to ask questions to learn more about the therapist and their approaches to therapy. Conversely, if you aren’t sure what to ask, the following questions can be good starting points:


  • What certifications or degrees do you have?
  • How long have you been working as a therapist?
  • What kind of therapy do you think will work best for me?
  • How does this type of therapy work?
  • What are the pros and cons of this type of therapy?
  • What kind of success rate have you seen with this type of therapy?
  • Do you recommend other types of treatment, such as medications?
  • How will you assess my progress?
  • What should I do if I don’t start feeling better soon?



How Do I Know if I Chose the Right Therapist?


It takes an average of 15-20 sessions for 50 percent of patients to start seeing improvements. However, within a few sessions, patients can usually assess their thoughts and feelings and determine whether or not their therapist is a good fit.


Taking time to do this can help them to ensure they’re working with the right therapist and are feeling heard and seen during their sessions. Additionally, here are a few signs that indicate a person has chosen the right therapist:


They Treat the Patient as an Individual

A therapist shouldn’t give cookie-cutter advice. instead, they should treat each patient as an individual and offer recommendations tailored to that person’s situation.


They Actively Listen

Active listening is key for good therapists. As such. they should listen more than they talk and make it clear that they’ve truly heard and understood what the patient is saying.


They Give Homework

Good therapists assign homework and ask their patients to work on certain things between appointments. Because of this This patients see progress faster and implement what they’re learning.


They Seek (and Implement) Feedback

The best therapists aren’t afraid to ask for feedback. In fact, they ask for it often. And, if a patient suggests they make certain changes, they do their best to follow through with those suggestions.


They Work Inside and Outside of the Patient’s Comfort Zone

Therapists know when to work inside a patient’s comfort zone. However, they also know when to push them a little bit into a space of growth.



Are There Other Conditions That Antidepressant Medications Can Be Used to Treat?



Antidepressants are, naturally, designed to treat varying levels of depression. As such, here are other mental health conditions that medication can be prescribed to manage. In turn, anxiety disorders can also be treated with medication.  This includes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD), and Social Anxiety Disorder.


People with Bipolar Disorder can also benefit from antidepressant medication in some instances, as can those who struggle with chronic pain.



Additionally, tricyclic antidepressants are effective when it comes to chronic pain management. Experts aren’t entirely sure why they work. However, they suspect that these drugs may be effective because they influence the production and availability of neurotransmitters. In turn, that reduces pain signals transmitted through the spinal cord.




American Psychological Association

Fraga, J. (August 31, 2021). Therapy for Every Budget: How to Access It.

Good Therapy

Knobloch-Fedders, L. (2008). The importance of the relationship with the therapist. Clinical Science Insights1, 1-4.

Zippia. Therapist Statistics and Facts in the US.



Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.






Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.


  1. One of my close friends is struggling with depression right now and they want to find a good therapist to help them. I appreciate how you said that a good starting point when looking for a therapist is through referrals from friends or family. I will have my friend talk to the people around them that they trust and get recommendations of good therapists.

    1. Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT says:

      I’m glad you found the article helpful. Good luck to you and your friend!

  2. Thanks for sharing such an amazing and informative blog. This is really good for finding the therapist. It is really helpful for those who are suffering from mental health issues to overcome their mental health issue.

    1. Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!

Comments are closed.

Need Help ?