Tatiana Answers: How to find a good therapist.

Dear Tatiana,

I have been looking for a therapist for my son and myself and I am feeling very frustrated. Our pediatrician gave us a list of providers that I spent a day calling on for him. Most of the messages I left were not returned and those that called me back were full. I experienced a similar outcome using the provider list published by my insurance company. Between the lack of responses, being told “that’s not an area of expertise for me” (when the insurance has it listed as something the provider treats) and many providers not accepting new patients, how is one to find a good therapist?





Dear Anonymous,

I wish I could tell you that your experience is an isolated one, but unfortunately it is not. When selecting a therapist, the best place to start is with your own social network. I know it may be intimidating, but feel the discomfort, lean into it and start asking around. You don’t have to go into detail. Find out whom people have seen, what they worked on and how they felt about the results. Be prepared to make several calls and if possible, get the therapist on the phone “to get a feel for their personality and style.” If the therapist tells you they are not accepting new clients or that’s not an area they treat, ask them for a referral. If a therapist tells you they don’t accept insurance and it is a needed for you to access care, ask them if you can send them a copy of your provider list for their review and recommendations. You can also ask if they “have any sliding scale” or master level interns that can see you for a reduced rate. (Just a side note, you are going to have more options if you are paying out of pocket. HSA accounts are a great resource for this.) County mental health and college counseling departments (for students) often offer free therapy services.

The therapeutic relationship is just like any other. It has to have the right chemistry. Be open to the concept that you may need to meet with more than one provider before you find the right match. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel like you can wait for therapy and someone may be in danger or is no longer able to attend to their activities of daily living, we have several psychiatric hospitals in Atlanta. Their intake departments can help assess an appropriate level of care and assist you with referrals.


Tatiana Matthews LPC
Atlanta Specialized Care

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