For many, starting therapy can be a big step. There are lots of questions, and you might not know where to look or where to even begin. Although it may feel daunting, we’re here to provide you with helpful tools for finding the right therapist when it seems impossible.
I started therapy almost six years ago. Beforehand, I looked into aromatherapy benefits. It was great, but I wanted more. My initial stage of finding a therapist was difficult. Therapy wasn’t talked about in my household growing up and felt somewhat taboo. So I struggled with the idea and went back and forth on if it was something that I truly needed. I lived my life under the principle of not telling anyone my struggles because I thought if I sought help, that was a sign of weakness. I wasn’t willing to see what the possible benefits of therapy could be.
But the body keeps score of trauma and stress, and when not dealt with properly, it can take a physical toll. Heightened stress levels, depression, and anxiety can cause headaches, body aches, affect your sleep, and more. These were all responses that I had, and they became harder to manage. I knew it was time for me to talk to someone, and who that would be, I didn’t know, but after talking to some of my friends and following some licensed psychologists on Instagram, I discovered directories and tools that helped me in finding the right therapist.
Let’s take a look at some of these tools and directories as you consider taking your first steps toward therapy.
Therapy for Black Girls
Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to helping Black girls and women as they work on prioritizing their mental health. Therapy for Black Girls encourages girls—despite the stigma around many people of color not receiving help—to take care of themselves and address mental health topics in a digestible and accessible way.
It’s as easy as entering your address in the search bar to see if there are therapists near you that are available for both in-office and virtual sessions. There, you’re given the option to input your insurance information, the proximity you’re willing to travel, and add any additional information into the filters.
Psychology Today is a media organization with a focus on mental and behavioral health. Their website features therapy and health professionals’ directories for the public to find the right therapist and service. In addition to therapists, Psychology Today supports finding psychiatrists, treatment centers, and support groups.
Once you type in your location, a list of professionals is available to look through. What’s unique about Psychology Today is that there are various filters to choose from to help narrow down your decision. These include:
- Insurance: Many of the therapists also provide a sliding scale to help with the cost.
- Age: Toddlers to elders.
- Issues: You can choose which ones pertain to you and what you’d like to talk about specifically with a therapist. These topics range from anxiety, stress, trauma, PTSD, and more.
- Language: thirty-five languages available.
- Types of Therapy: This helps narrow down what kind of therapy you’re looking for or would like to pursue. Some examples are cognitive-behavioral, emotionally focused, marital, family, etc.
Therapy for Black Men
Therapy for Black Men, founded by Vladimire Calixte and Benjamin Calixte, is a space dedicated to Black men seeking mental support. Therapy For Black Men was born from the idea that Black men and boys face unique challenges and stigmatization. They’ve made it their mission to strip away that stigmatization and ease the process of finding help.
They do so by providing targeted resources and a database filled with professionals equipped to support men of color. These resources consist of a blog, personal stories, curated articles, financial assistance for therapy, and a list of contacts for immediate help or if in a crisis. In addition to finding a mental health therapist, there is an option to find a coach who creates a targeted action plan to help you achieve goals.
Better Help is the world’s largest e-counseling platform whose mission is to make professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient for those experiencing challenges. In addition, they offer a counselor directory that highlights trained and accredited psychologists who can provide hands-on experience and the necessary tools to help those in need.
Taking it Slow
These resources and directories are helpful, but we also encourage you to take your time as you search. Asking for help is never wrong, and sometimes it takes time to know how to ask for it or in what ways you need help. For example, before seeking therapy, take time to list out some of the struggles you’re having, where they might stem from, any symptoms you’re currently dealing with, and note your stress levels. Doing so can help give you a sense of the therapy you might need.
If you’re not ready to take this step, that’s okay. There are affordable mental health apps available to download to help with anxiety, stress, depression, and more if you’re not ready for one-on-one therapy. Therapy won’t help solve everything, but it can help you understand yourself more, that your feelings and emotions are important, and that you’re deserving of someone hearing you and helping you on this ongoing journey of healing.
Take it one step at a time, and if you have a friend or accountability partner to help you on the way, connect with them and let them support you as well as you supporting them.
Ready to take charge of your mental health? Check out these resources today.