You know what you’re looking for, and how your insurance works. Now you need to reach out to therapists.
First, like I said, you’ll need to reach out to at least 15-20 therapists. Also, it’s much harder to find a provider in-network than a provider that takes cash.
Finding In-Network Therapists
But, let’s say you do want to find a provider in-network. What you absolutely shouldn’t do is call therapists you find online, that don’t provide any insurance information, and ask if they take your insurance. A lot of people do this. The answer will always be no, and it’ll be a very frustrating experience.
There are two ways to find therapists in network. First, most insurance companies have an online directory of in-network providers. Google the name of your plan + “provider directory”. There may be a separate page for mental healthcare providers. You can also call your insurance company at the number on the back of your card, and they’ll tell you where the online directory is. Use this tool to find a list of therapists in your area.
The quality of this list will be low. There will be duplicates, therapists who aren’t taking your insurance anymore, or who aren’t taking new patients, or have moved or retired. Be prepared to call at least 50 numbers to find an in-network therapist.
If your insurance company doesn’t have a directory, you can call them to get a list of nearby providers. Finally, your primary care physician may have a few in-network therapists they can refer you to.
Finding Out-of-Network Therapists
If you’re looking for an out-of-network provider, you have a few options.
The first place to start is Psychology Today. You can search for therapists by zip code and specialty. Focus on the 3 specialties in green on the right hand side, and any specialties or styles of therapy mentioned in the bio.
Tip: the number listed on a Psychology Today profile may be disconnected. However, therapists often have a link to their website on their profile, so go to their website to find their current number.
You can also use Yelp, and you can go through the first few pages of search results on Google. I would just search for “therapist” + your city. For example: “therapist san jose”.
You can also get a few more results by searching for “mental health therapy clinic” + your city. Some of the numbers you call when reaching out to in-network therapists will actually be clinic front desk numbers as well. When speaking with the front desk, ask to do a free consultation call with the therapist you’re interested in - don’t schedule an appointment immediately. You can sometimes find a list of the clinic’s therapists on their website. You might want to see if there’s a therapist who seems like a good fit and ask about their availability when speaking to the front desk.
If you’re uninsured or can’t find a therapist in-network and can’t afford to spend more than $75 a session, here are some options in the Bay Area. These options cater to people who need therapy but can’t afford it, not people with high incomes unwilling to pay.
If an organization doesn’t offer exactly what you need, give them a call anyway - they can often refer you to someone more suitable.
- Reach out to at least 15-20 therapists!
- It’s much harder to find an in-network therapist than out-of-network. You may have to call 50+ numbers.
- Do not call therapists you that don’t provide any insurance information and ask if they take your insurance.
- Ways to find in-network providers:
- your insurance company's online provider directory
- calling your insurance
- asking your primary care provider
- Ways to find out-of-network therapists:
- Psychology Today
- Googling "therapist" + your city
- Googling "mental health therapy clinic" + your city
- Affordable options exist for people unable to pay more than $75/session. Scroll up for a list.
- If you don’t know what to do for whatever reason, call the SAMHSA 24/7 hotline at (800) 662-4357. For any situation, they will be able to provide you with information and/or referrals.