How to find a good mental health therapist in 2024

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By Macro Analyst Desk

Discover the key steps to finding the best therapist for your needs. Our guide offers practical advice and empowers you to live your brightest life.


Many people are seeking mental health treatment in 2024. For good reasons—Mental Health has been at an all-time low. However, studies have found that simply seeking mental health treatment isn’t enough. Sitting down with a therapist is only as powerful as the therapist is effective. 

Why does the quality of therapists matter?

“The bulk of the evidence indicates substantial therapist variability,” quotes an article in the 2024 Joumetarnal of Pain. The article continues, saying that “this variability in therapist performance has been found to contribute to differences in treatment response.” 

This means that two clients being treated for the same mental health issue using the same treatment methods will have different results depending on the quality of their therapist. 

The average American sees 3 therapists before finding their perfect match, and it takes about 5 sessions to open up about their mental health. With insurance, a therapy session will cost an average of $30-$50. This means that on the low end, people are spending around $450 on therapy sessions before they get comfortable with a therapist who can truly help them. 

That is not a cost many people can afford! This is likely why 80% of Americans say they can’t afford therapy, despite insurance covering most mental health services. 

One way to make therapy more affordable is to be very specific about the therapist you choose. Mental health therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach: what works for someone else may not work for you. Also, not all therapists have the same experience, education, or skill, and it’s important to know your therapist’s credentials.

Here are three steps you can take to find a good therapist for your needs. 

Step 1: Know What You Want

When embarking on your journey to find a quality mental health therapist, it’s crucial to start by identifying what you want help with. Take a moment to reflect on your specific needs and the areas in your life that you’d like to address or improve.

For example, are you looking for therapy for depression or anxiety? Or have you recently experienced something traumatic and want to talk to someone about it? Be as specific as you can to find a therapist best suited for your needs. 

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, it’s important to consider whether you prefer online therapy or in-person therapy. Both have proved effective in treating mental health disorders, so it’s merely a question of personal convenience. 

Online therapy offers convenience and accessibility, allowing you to receive support from the comfort of your own space. In-person therapy, on the other hand, provides the benefits of face-to-face interaction and a physical presence.

Both options have their advantages, so it’s recommended to assess which aligns best with your personal preferences, comfort level, and circumstances. Remember, there is no right or wrong choice – it’s about finding the approach that feels most conducive to your healing and growth.

Step 2: Check Your Insurance

Next, check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage, limitations, and costs. This proactive approach can help you navigate the financial aspects of therapy more confidently, so you don’t accumulate unexpected bills or costly sessions. 

With recent legislation being passed, most big insurance companies are required to cover mental health therapy like they would for physical health. However, how your insurance does this varies. Some will cover 100% of a set number of sessions, and others will cover a certain percentage of fees. Also, not all mental health services will be covered. More experimental services, such as art therapy or music therapy, may not be covered. 

On average, therapy sessions can range from $65 to $250 per session without insurance. With insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses could decrease significantly, depending on your coverage. 

Step 3: Do Your Research

72% of people say finding a new therapist overwhelms them. To find a qualified therapist who will meet your needs, you need to look for 4 factors: 

  1. Education

A good therapist will be licensed. There are many different types of licenses a therapist can have, including:

  • Licensed Professional Therapist (LPC)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)
  • Psychologists 

LPC, LCSW, and LMFT will all have a Masters level or beyond. A psychologist will have their Doctors. All therapists will have their credentials in their bio. If you don’t see one of these abbreviations, ask them about their licensing before you schedule a session with them. 

  1. Experience 

Therapists can begin seeing clients right out of college (even during college for some internship programs). Although there are some great newly minted therapists, experience is important: both in years and focus. For example, some counselors spend decades in substance use treatment and won’t be a good fit for a client seeking therapy for depression. 

Again, their years of experience and clinical focus should be listed in their bio. 

     2. Alignment with Client Goals

What do you want out of a therapist? There are dozens of therapy modalities, ranging from psychoanalysis to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Doing a little bit of research into the field to learn what works best for you will go a long way in ensuring you’re matched with the best therapist for you. 

Also, consider if you want your therapist’s cultural background to be similar to yours. Many people find it easier to open up to someone of the same gender, sexuality, race, religion, or age as them. 

     3. Security 

Finally, therapist job security is an important consideration. Recently there was a mass cyber attack on Change Healthcare, a huge insurance provider for many mental health therapists and practices. Many therapists were stuck without insurance payout, meaning they weren’t being paid. This sort of stress can negatively impact their ability to show up for their clients in meaningful, effective ways. 

Although it’s not always possible to inquire about a potential therapist’s working environment, it can always help to learn about the company they work for. For example, online mental health companies like Talk Space, Grow Therapy, and Lifebulb are putting in the work to ensure their therapists have the tools and energy they need to show up for their clients. 

“Great therapy starts with a great client-therapist relationship,” Dan Belcher, CEO of Lifebulb Counseling & Therapy says. “That’s why we go above and beyond to connect our clients with therapists who not only have the necessary qualifications but also share our values and dedication. We truly value and prioritize our therapists because we know they are the catalysts for positive change.”

Lifebulb recently surpassed 100 licensed therapists on staff, all of whom were unaffected by the cyberattack due to the company’s commitment to therapist stability and a healthy workplace. 

When to Reach Out for Help 

Taking the leap into therapy is a stressful endeavor. There are a lot of people telling you what you should do and what the best path forward is. At the end of the day, the best therapy will be with a therapist who understands you and is able to meet your needs. 

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health, reach out for mental health support. Protect your mental health by scheduling with companies and therapists who have your best interest in mind.

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