How to Find a Therapist
Monday, January 8, 2024

Finding a Mental Health Care Provider

What are you looking for? Assess your areas of needs and what you are seeking.

  • Physician - physical Exam, patterns of illness symptoms can be linked to effects of mental health related issues.
  • Psychiatrist - mental health condition that may benefit from the use of medication-based treatment plan.
  • Mental Health Professional - Mental health condition that focuses on seeking aid/balance with behaviors, thinking patterns, emotions, trauma responses, etc. Therapists and counselors offer guidance, support, help identity solutions, etc.

How to Pay for Therapy

Have Insurance? Knowing your insurance provider can be beneficial in finding a provider that will be covered (or mostly covered) by your insurance company.

  • If using an in-network provider: Therapists will bill insurance directly, but you will be responsible for your copay or coinsurance fee, after your deductible (“an expense that a person or a business pays out of pocket before an insurance provider or tax authority pays any amount”).
  • If using an out-of-network provider: The insurer may cover a small portion of the fee, but you will need to pay, infull, then file for reimbursement from insurance company.treatment plan.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Call the number on your health insurance card, ask: “Does my policy cover mental health treatment, if so, are there any requirements that I should be aware of?”
    • If you do not know your online portal log-in information, this would be a good time to ask for that information too!
  2. Ask the insurance representative: “How can I access the directory of in-network therapists in my area?”
  3. Check your insurance company’s online portal, you will need your log in information. Navigate through the site to find a list of in-network mental health professionals.
    • If you have a particular condition you would like to find services for, such as substance use, eating disorder, neurodivergence, ask for professionals within that specialty that you can contact.
  4. Create a list of three potential therapists to try.

MediCal Insurance

If you have MediCal, call the DMH ACCESS LINE (800) 854-7771. Please ask staff for the MediCal handout.

Paying Privately

Some therapists only accept direct payment from clients.

  1. Utilize a website like Psychology Today to research therapists in your area.
  2. Identify therapists whose experience and expertise seem to fit your needs.
  3. Create a list of at least three potential therapists to try

Sliding Scale Fees

Some therapists offer a sliding scale fee. This means that some providers can adjust the prices for services dependent on the customers’ ability to pay according to income level and/or personal expenses. 

Additional Options? These websites can be useful in narrowing down your search!

  • Psychology Today
  • Alma
  • APA, American Psychological Association
  • Good Therapy
  • ZocDoc

Navigating Through the Websites

  • You can narrow down your search by using the top navigation bar and entering in your search.
    • Enter: insurance provider, location, type of service, zip code
  • Follow each websites directions until you find someone that aligns with your needs.
  • Create a list and begin to reach out using the same methods as mentioned above.

Interviewing a Therapist

  1. Call their office and confirm that they are currently taking clients.
  2. Important items to ask about during your initial phone call:
    • Are you able to help me with (insert presenting problem)?
    • What types of problems do you have experience with?
    • How long have you been a therapist?
    • What is your pricing and payment with insurance?
    • What is your pricing and payment without insurance?
    • Do you provide sliding scale fees and what is the process to qualify?
    • Do you provide services in person or via telehealth?
    • How long is your current waitlist to receive services?
    • What is the co-pay when using (insert insurance company name)?
  3. Schedule your 1st appointment! If the provider has a long waitlist, make sure to join the waitlist then move onto #2 on your potential list.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Be aware that many providers have a waitlist! If you feel you need support before you are off the waitlist, an option can be to see a therapist through private pay. Please keep in mind that this service can range from $150-200 per session. Ask about sliding scale!
  • Therapy is most beneficial when there is a connection between the therapist and the client.
  • Explore the values and life experiences you want your mental health professional to embody.
  • It often takes at least 3 sessions to develop a relationship and feel comfortable talking to a therapist. Don’t give up after only one session but if the fit isn’t right, don’t be afraid to try someone else.
  • Getting stuck? allcove Beach Cities is here to help you! (310) 374-5706
  • Getting stuck? Beach Cities Health District is here to help you! (310) 374-3426 option 1