How To Find The Best Therapist For Your Needs Online

Whether you're new to therapy or have been in it for years, finding a therapist can feel overwhelming. Not every therapist is a match for every person, so it involves a bit of shopping around until you find that chemistry and comfort level that's going to make your mental health journey a positive one. You can't expect to get any work done and see progress if your therapist isn't the right fit for you.

Although online therapy — also known as teletherapy — has made access to therapy easier, the process of finding the right therapist remains unchanged. It still requires research, a knowledge of types of therapy out there, setting a budget, and initial meetings (via Healthline). But when you finally do find that right therapist, online therapy is just as impactful as in-person therapy.

"My relationships with my teletherapy clients are just as nuanced and rich as those I have with my other clients," licensed clinical psychologist in New York and Massachusetts Nicole Issa, Psy.D. tells Self.

So before you just go full throttle into therapy with the first online therapist you come across, here's how to find the best therapist for your online needs.

Know what you want

People go to therapy for many reasons. Sometimes it's depression, sometimes people need help coping with a loss of some kind, while other times you just want an unbiased source to help you navigate a particular period in your life. Whatever the reason, it's important to know what kind of therapy is available to you.

There are different approaches — from cognitive to behavioral to humanistic therapy — just to name a few (via American Psychological Association). There are also therapists that specialize in certain aspects of trauma. For example, if you're getting into therapy to deal with the fallout of a divorce, you want a therapist whose focus is on helping people process loss and grief. If you don't have one thing you want to work on, but many things instead, finding a cognitive therapist whose focus runs the gamut is your best bet.

In addition to knowing what you want, you should also have an idea of how much time you want to devote to your online therapy and what your budget is. Online therapy tends to be less expensive than in-person therapy and can be as little as $20 a week (via Talk Space). Examine what you want to spend per session and how often you want to spend that amount. Certain situations call for therapy twice a week, while other circumstances only require therapy every other week or even just once a month.

Use every resource available to you

Asking friends and family about therapists they'd recommend is a good place to start. If these people in your life have a therapist they've already vetted and like, then it makes your search quick and easy.

If no one you know has a therapist, get online and start researching databases like Psychology Today and/or PsychCentral. From there you can search therapists based on their speciality, gender, pricing, and other details that are important to you. You can also decide what medium you prefer — some prefer face-to-face zoom sessions, while others prefer mental health apps

Once you narrow it down, set up that initial appointment. When you do, make sure to put together a list of questions for the therapist and be prepared for their questions too. The therapist is just as concerned as you are that they're going to be the right match for you.

"We are interested in knowing what event or experience preceded you deciding to get some help to help us understand the nature of the problem and what you are wanting to work on," marriage and family therapist in San Francisco Kate Stoddard tells HuffPost.

Like you would on a first date, if the energy isn't right, thank them and move on to the next therapist on your list.

Although it may take a few tries, you'll eventually find an online therapist that has everything you're looking for — you just can't expect it to happen immediately. Of course, if it does, then fantastic! But if it doesn't, then keep trying. The right therapist is out there. It just requires a bit of work to find them.