I have found that there are a lot of people that are wanting to go to therapy, or at least try it out, but they are really unsure of how to go about finding a good therapist. There are several ways to go about this that I want to share with you, and then I’m curious of your own methods in doing this.

This is a really good way to find a therapist. And by reputation, I mean those therapist’s names that you have heard before, or recommended by others before, or that keep seeming to come up for good reasons. Anytime you are situated in a community (church, social, work, family) there are certain names, in certain professions or services that one tends to hear over and over again. That’s what I mean by reputation. There is a therapist in Phoenix, AZ and a couple in Pasadena, CA that I continually refer people to over and over again because of reputation.

Personal Referral
This is a really strong indicator of finding a good therapist, and even stronger motivator for often taking that extra step needed to get people in the door. This is the recommendation that comes from a personal friend or family member. More often than not, the person who makes this recommendation has been to see this person in therapy themselves, or is connected with others who have. I think a lot of therapists build strong referral bases primarily on this source of recommendation.

Authority Figure
It is pretty well known that pastors, doctors, psychiatrists, et cetera can be great sources for referrals for people who are looking for a therapist. These professions, and ones like them have had a strong history of providing names of good therapists for people. I know many church attenders who wouldn’t think of asking anyone but their pastor, or some person on their church staff about where to find a good therapist.

Social Media Crowdsourcing
This is probably not as well known, but I think will slowly begin to replace the more traditional methods of therapy recommendations. By crowdsourcing I am referring to the practice of going online and asking people’s opinions via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. I think this practice will gain strength very quickly. A form of this has been the popular chat groups and sites on Yahoo, forums populated by “mommy bloggers”, etc. This is the most common way that people ask my recommendation about finding a therapist, especially in other states.

Therapist Locators
Now there are all kinds of services, such as Therapistlocator.net, and many others like it. But this involves going online, usually doing a Google search for therapists, and automatically you will find all kinds of locators for finding therapists in your area.

Outside of the personal recommendation, I think the majority of people find a therapist online, whether it be through a website or some other social media medium. Obviously this is not guarantee that who you find will be a good therapist, or someone that you connect with, but it’s a good way to locate people in your area.

My Recommendations
There are several ways that I usually go about finding a good therapist, and it usually involves a combination of personal referral, or information through a person who has had experience with that therapist. And I also like to do some of my own research on that therapist. This is where the therapist having an online site is important for me, that way I can do some extra research on them. Usually when I can’t find something on that therapist online, I usually tend to look at another therapist (unless I find that the personal referral trumps everything).

There are lots of others ways to go about finding a good therapist, but I’m sure you have some that I haven’t mentioned.

What do you recommend?

What has been helpful for you finding a good therapist, or in finding a good therapist to recommend to someone else?