Therapy can be a rewarding experience that helps us discover more about ourselves and lead more fulfilling lives. But if you’ve never been to therapy or are new to the Boise area, finding any therapist can feel overwhelming, yet alone the best one for you, or one that you really connect with and relate to. It can feel like there are just way too many counselors to choose from and somehow none at the same time.
I’m an anxiety therapist in the Boise area, and I want to take some stress out of the process of finding the best therapist for you.
What do I mean by the best therapist for you? I mean someone that you’ll connect with and be able to have a therapeutic relationship with. Research shows that the relationship you have with your counselor is one of the most important things in counseling. So the best therapist for you could be different from the best counselor for someone else. That may make it feel like it’s harder to find the right therapist, because now there’s even more possibilities, but I’m going to share a step-by-step guide to help you get to a place where you can find the best therapist for you.
Before you contact any local therapists, I think there are some important things to consider.
We do things for a reason or a purpose. This means that you’re looking for a therapist for a reason too! If you can understand the things that motivate you to come to counseling, the easier it’ll be for you to narrow down a therapist who will be a great fit for you. This will save you time as you look for a therapist later on.
For example, if you know that you’re struggling with anxiety, then you can focus your energy looking for a therapist that specializes with anxiety.
If we’ve had a lot of overwhelming things going on, it can be really hard to narrow this down. Here are some questions to think about, to help you figure this out:
This is a great thing to make a list for. Something to keep in mind, is that this list will look different from person to person, and yours will be unique to you. In my work, some of the most common things that come up are:
Don’t forget to add in there your reason for searching for therapy. This may be something related to anxiety, people pleasing, or even self-esteem. Whatever your reason is, it’s worth putting on the list, because you want to make sure you find a therapist who can help you with that issue.
This directly builds on the list that we talked about before, because all of these things that are important to us have certain pros and cons. It’s important to know how you feel about each of these ideas and to know the pros and cons.
Unfortunately, you may not find a therapist who hits everything on your list. There may be things that you end up compromising on, in order to find a therapist that does work for you. This can feel disappointing, but that doesn’t make this list any less important. It’s still a good idea to know that your preferences are, so you know what you’re willing to compromise on and what you aren’t willing to compromise on. By figuring all of this out, you’re more likely to find a therapist who hits the things that are most important to you, which means one who is more likely to work for you.
I had mentioned before that the cost of therapy is an important factor for a lot of people, as well as insurance (these often go hand-in-hand). Here are some pros and cons to consider if this is important to you as well.
Another important factor that I had mentioned is online therapy. As an online therapist, I think this is a really important factor to think about. Please keep in mind that when I’m talking about online therapy here, I’m talking about video therapy, so things similar to Skype or FaceTime. I’m not talking about phone calls or messaging. So from an online therapist’s perspective, here are some pros and cons to online therapy.
One huge advantage of online therapy is that you don’t have to see a therapist in the Boise area. Technically, a counselor can only work within the states that they are licensed. What this means, is that if you’re working with an online therapist, as long as you’re in Idaho, and they are licensed in Idaho, you can work together. Even if you move, they move, you aren’t in town, etc. This is a huge advantage to online therapy, because sometimes people can’t find exactly what they are looking for with a local counselor, but by working online they can find a therapist that is the best fit for them.
Doing research can feel overwhelming, and if you’ve tried to look for therapists before you may have found yourself really lost at this point. But I’m still here to help when it comes to looking up counselors. This is also where all of the work we’ve done before this will help narrow things down, and make it easier.
It can be so hard to know where to look for a therapist, especially if you’re not involved in the world of therapy. I want to help demystify this for you. In general, there are a lot of different places you can start looking for a therapist, from Google, to big therapy directories, to individual therapist websites. Let’s look a little closer at each of these places that you can look.
Keep in mind that all of these are options that you can look. You don’t have to look at these places, I’m just letting you know that these are out there for you to use if you feel comfortable and want to use these resources for your search.
Also, as you do your research, look at several therapists’ information. The more information you have, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to find the best counselor for you.
Sometimes we have to compromise on what we want, and our first pick of therapist doesn’t work out. If that happens, having a list of other therapists that we like can come in handy and save us time later on. As you go with your research, ask yourself:
This doesn’t have to be a major conversation where you spill your guts to everyone you know. If people like a therapist, they’ll let you know, and you can’t always find that information online. If you’re feeling unsure how to ask (and want to ask) people you know, here are some ways you can have that conversation:
People will remember bad experiences with therapists, so even learning which ones your friends and family don’t like can be helpful as you do your research.
Many doctors know local therapists in the area that they refer to. Sometimes they know therapists that even Google doesn’t know. If your doctor has a good idea about what you’re struggling with, they may also try to refer you to a specific counselor that they think will help you with those concerns.
If you want your insurance company to help you pay for your therapy, you can contact your insurance to see which local therapists take your insurance. There’s a phone number on the back of your insurance card you can call to get this information. Most insurance companies also have a website you can use for this as well. Something to keep in mind is that this list the insurance company gives you may not be accurate.
Your work may also have what’s called an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). This works like an insurance plan, where you have a limited number of visits that they will pay for so you can see a therapist. If this is something you’re interested in using to see a therapist, you can contact your EAP to see which therapists in your area are covered.
If you’re here, I imagine that you’re comfortable looking online for a therapist. Even online, there are a lot of places that you can search for a therapist. One of the most straightforward is Google. If you’re using Google to look for a therapist, I think it’s a good idea to go back to the list we made before. This will help narrow down therapists so it isn’t so overwhelming.
Start by searching for “therapist in Boise.” Look at a few of those websites, and compare what the websites say to your list. As you’re looking at the websites, here are some things to consider:
Something I would keep in mind when you look at the reviews on Google, is that sometimes those aren’t the most accurate. Therapy is a different service than other businesses. We’re in some kind of pain when we see a therapist, which means it isn’t uncommon for people to be frustrated that their healing isn’t happening fast enough, and they take that out on their counselor. Reviews are important, but take them with a grain of salt.
Therapy directories are like the white pages for therapists. It’s a place where therapists are able to get listed to get connected to clients, and clients looking for therapists can get connected to therapists faster.
One of the biggest therapy directories is Psychology Today. The downside to being so big though, is that it can be overwhelming to see that there are that many therapists in Boise (whenever I look, there are at least 17 pages). This is where our list comes in.
If finding a local therapist you can see is important to you, you can select your neighborhood at the top to narrow down a location. You can also select options on the side to narrow down things that are important to you, according to your list. If you want online therapy, you can select “Teletherapy” at the top of the page, to see all the online therapists listed with Psychology Today.
Another helpful directory is Open Path. This is an organization where therapists join, and by doing so agree to only charge $30 to $60 per session. Keep in mind that this is for people struggling financially and if you go with this option you can’t also use your insurance company. You do also have to pay the initial $59 one-time membership fee. The website does allow you to contact therapists before you join though, so you can see if you connect with the therapists before you pay anything.
There are limited Boise therapists on Open Path, but you can also look for online therapists as well by searching for Idaho on the options on the left-hand side. There are other options there where you can narrow down things that fit the list we built as well.
We have a lot of lists at this point! But right now we want to focus on that list of therapists that you feel you connected with. Remember, we do things for a reason, that means you liked these specific therapists for a reason. As you reach out and start your therapy journey with these counselors, here are some more things to keep in mind.
It’s fairly common for therapists to offer free consultations to potential clients. This might be in person, online with a video session, or over the phone. The idea behind an initial consultation is to see what potential clients are struggling with and to see if the therapist can help somehow. But it’s also an opportunity for you to try out the therapist’s style. Think of it like a job interview, it’s not just the therapist asking questions, you get to ask some as well to see if this therapist could be a good fit for you.
Free consultations or even the first few appointments are great times to ask questions. This helps you figure out if the therapist you’re talking to will be a good match for you. Remember that first list we did, of what’s most important to you? This is a great chance to review it, and ask questions to see if your therapist matches what you’re looking for. Therapists are used to questions, so please ask what will help you figure out if that counselor is a good fit. Here are some great questions to consider:
Having a connection with your therapist is one of the biggest factors in determining how successful therapy will be. Please don’t settle with a therapist in Boise, just because you feel stuck with them. There are other counselors out there, and if anything there’s online therapy that can let you connect with therapists in all of Idaho.
After trying out the therapist for a while, see how you feel about them. Here are some things to consider if you’re reflecting on how therapy has been going for you so far.
If you find you aren’t connecting after a month, maybe it’s time to switch therapists. This may feel overwhelming, considering the work you’ve done up until now, but if you switch therapists you don’t have to do that work over. You have two lists that are there to help you, including the list of local therapists that you liked before. If you liked them, you’ll probably like them now. Switching therapists is a simpler process because you have that list already.
Finding the best therapist for you can be a challenge, but it can also be rewarding. Therapy is safe, nonjudgmental, and encourages growth, and when you find a counselor that you relate to they can really help you do what you want to do in life.
I also want to remind you that I’m an online anxiety therapist for the Boise area. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, I can help. It’s easy to set up a free consultation here.
Danielle is an anxiety therapist. She specializes in helping busy millennials manage their anxiety so they can perform at their best. Danielle has been featured on Apartment Therapy, SparkPeople, Lifewire, and Now Art World. When Danielle isn't helping her clients, she's playing video games or spending time with her partner and step children.