I have finally decided to get serious about starting therapy. If you have read more than two of my posts in the past couple of years, you know I need it. {Hello!} Here’s the thing though (a) I am terrified of entering a world completely unknown to me, and (b) I am clueless about how to find my “perfect” therapist match.

For starters, I have no local friends or family who know of a good therapist. So asking them is out. I got a referral from my doctor, and that is a long story, but I am not sure if I want to follow through with the referral. So, now I find myself basically stuck. I am fortunate enough to have insurance coverage, so I am trying to find someone in-network. This is proving to be a lot more difficult and anxiety inducing than I ever thought it would be. Wait, isn’t the idea of therapy supposed to make me less anxious?! Yea, I wish.

I have been reading a lot of therapist profiles online and looking at websites, and that shit is daunting. They ALL say they deal with anxiety, chronic illness, depression, etc. They ALL say they can help me. And don’t get me started on profile pictures. Man, I have never felt so judgmental in my life. “Umm, that person looks like a serial killer.” NEXT. “That person looks like they are auditioning for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” NEXT. “That person looks a lot younger than me.” NEXT.

If you actually are a therapist with your picture online, I am sorry. I know I shouldn’t be judging people’s head shots, but, I totally did. And I am sure I am not the first. Again, sorry! I am going to be telling this person a lot of very personal information, and I guess I am putting the cart before the horse…but, I feel so vulnerable. I haven’t even reached out for an appointment yet, and I already feel exposed. It’s ridiculous. There are dozens of in-network therapists within 1-2 miles of our house. Should I just pick a few that seem good and go with that? I mean, it might be kinda sweet to have my therapist’s office right around the corner. Ugh – I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about here.

I need help in moving forward with this. Anyone have any advice on how to get the ball rolling with therapy and finding a therapist? If you are comfortable sharing, please DO. I am worried I am going to get frustrated and just abandon this whole thing – which I know is most certainly not what I want to do.




  1. Reply


    October 2, 2012

    The best advice I ever received was to call 2-3 and discuss their methods of treatment to see it we would be a good fit. Most have been very honest if they feel their treatment methods aren't what I am looking for and have provided other recommendations.

    I also always consider the first appt. to be more of a try-out and I feel that they do as well.

  2. Reply

    Dead Flowers

    October 2, 2012

    I don't have any direct experience with therapy, but I do have friends who have benefited GREATLY from individual and couple therapy. So I'm just commenting here to say I hope you go for it and I hope it helps you! I think the main thing is don't worry if you don't like the first therapist you talk to. It sounds like you have a lot of options and you shouldn't settle for a therapist who you don't think is a great fit. Good luck!

  3. Reply


    October 2, 2012

    I just wanted to comment to say you ARE NOT alone in feeling that the process of finding a therapist is EXTREMELY daunting and anxiety inducing. I swear they need to come up with a better method! Awhile back, I called 5 different therapists and chatted with them about their methods and things and in the end couldn't pick any of them because they had too many clients and it wouldn't work with my schedule. Goes to show how many people need therapy! I do want to pursue it again though, as I've also heard how incredibly beneficial it can be!

  4. Reply


    October 2, 2012

    Pick 3 that appeal to you for whatever reasons (location, price, looks!) and then "interview" them. You can probably do this on the phone and get a sense of who you click with. Then see if that person will meet w/ you once for free to make sure it is a good match. You will not feel 100% comfortable w/ a therapist on the 1st meeting but once you gain trust and get to know him/her you will feel better.

    In terms of questions to ask – I would find out what "style" of therapy they use or what theory they follow. This will tell you a bit more about their style and you can see if you agree w/ it. I would also ask about their experience – have they worked w/ young woman w/ fertility issues, have they worked w/ anxious people, etc.

    You might want to ask about their "stance" on meds. See if that falls in line w/ what you believe.

    Make sure you know that they have a license and some good experience doing therapy.

    Ok that is all I can think of for now. Let me know if you have any other questions (since this is what I do for a living)! Ha!

    Good luck! I'm sure you will find someone great and have a few stories to blog about! πŸ™‚

  5. Reply


    October 2, 2012

    I'm with your first commenter and Jodi. You often can't really tell until you've been to a session or two – and often many will give you the first one for free. It's basically a "get to know you" session anyway.

    Personally, I liked having my therapist be a bit of a distance away from where I lived and worked. It really helped me to be away from things physically, but everyone is different! Most therapists are just a phone call away.

    We're actually starting to look for a therapist for us as well. Dealing with adoption, deployment, home ownership, and 2 working adults, everyone could use a pulse check from time to time!

    Keep in mind that any therapist worth their salt isn't there to "judge" you. They don't get paid to do that, and they'd lose clients if they did. They are there to help you – that's it.

    I benefited from 2 years of therapy. I'd recommend mine, but she's not anywhere's near your area – she's in Vista, CA. (She does do phone, but face to face really is best for therapy.) Shoot me an email if you want her info. πŸ˜‰

  6. Reply

    ruthy ann

    October 2, 2012

    Therapy was the best thing ever for me….where are you located again? I have a friend who works here: http://www.soulcarehouse.com/ but i can't remember where you live and this is in San Diego…if anything you could ask them for a referral in your area…

  7. Reply

    Alycia Asai

    October 3, 2012

    I think the main thing is – dont get overwhelmed, discouraged, over anxious about choosing a therapist. It is a very daunting task, yes, but it is doable. And unfortunately no online profile, picture, books published other crap they give you in their dossier is going to confirm they are the right fit for you. You have to just go and feel them out. I would suggest looking at it in a non emotional way first [ie: who is closest?], from there make a few phone calls and see how they react with you over the phone. then make the step to make an appointment and see how your first session goes. It's a lot of work to get mentally healthy, but I know you can do it. Just take 1 step at a time πŸ™‚

  8. Reply


    October 3, 2012

    I had pretty severe postpartum depression and found there was a center for women's behavioral health at the large university medical center in my city. They had psychiatrists and psychologists who specialized in mental health issues in women of reproductive age – infertility, miscarriage, depression, anxiety (at any point of pregnancy), etc. I realize that you are not necessarily wanting to talk to someone only about your fertility difficulties, but I thought it was extremely helpful to have a therapist who was very experienced in my particular situation (postpartum depression). I'm sure UCLA has something like this or perhaps you can ask your OB if he/she has any recommendations. I hope you are doing well and hope you find the help you need/want.

  9. Reply


    October 3, 2012

    Julie Morrell MFT

    Free Phone Consultations
    San Diego, California (619) 857-1355 julie@juliemorrell.com

    Recent Blog Posts

    WAYS YOU Can TREAT Depression And some Depression Facts
    A Professional Therapist should Actively help you!
    7 Pointers to building trust
    A Courage Challenge: What would be the most courageous thing for you to do?
    Being Aware of Your Inner Rebel

    About EMDR Therapy

    EMDR therapy is a style of therapy that is extremely helpful with many psychological issues, but particularly for those who have suffered trauma.

    In addition, EMDR therapy clients are also in counseling for a shorter period of time, because issues tend to get resolved much more quickly.

    Below are some examples of reasons why people come to therapy. Please be aware that the issues below are best addressed with face to face counseling and therapy:
    Relationship/Intimacy issues
    Marriage/Divorce mediation
    Sexual abuse issues
    Singles wanting a mate
    Depression/Grief therapy
    Shyness/Anxiety issues
    Dating help
    Phobias/Trauma issues
    Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

    Counseling Connections | Helpful Forms | About Julie Morrell

    2207 Garnet Ave, Suite A San Diego, Ca 92109 619-857-1355

    I know her and she is very compassionate and helpful and wise. Hope you can call her and find out if she can serve you or is close to you. Elaine – your mom's cousin

  10. Reply

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

    October 3, 2012

    A referral is definitely always a good first start. But it's not like there is a yelp for therapists and doctors (there really should be though!) It would be good to see what areas they have counseled in previously and personally I would prefer a woman. Are there any other preferences you may have about age, experience, background?

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  11. Reply


    October 3, 2012

    I agree, look at 2-3 hat you think may be a good idea and then call them and "interview" them and figure out what fits. They can usually tell you if your goals and their method s a good fit.

    And good luck taking the first step.

  12. Reply


    October 4, 2012

    Yes, this is a daunting task. I've been dealing with infertility and related issues for almost 2 years and a few months ago I decided to finally seek some therapy. Well I researched a bunch therapists in my insurance network and called about 5 of them. On 4 of them, I got an answering machine saying they were not accepting new patients (although the website said they were). The 5th returned my call only to tell me she also wasn't accepting any new patients. I was really upset that no one even recommended other doctors or therapists in the area. I obviously was seeking help from these people, but I didn't even get any suggestions about how to proceed. I was so disheartened that I just gave up on the process. So I know what you mean about getting frustrated and giving up – that is exactly what I did.

    If I were to start over, I would attempt to find some sort of local grief group to talk to other women in a similar situation, and get recommendations for therapists from them.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and wish you peace and happiness!

  13. Reply


    October 4, 2012

    I'm really lucky that I've met with a woman who used to be an intern at my church. She is wonderful. I think the best route is to give someone the benefit of the doubt. If you don't feel a connection after 2-3 sessions, go to the next.

    I think this is anxiety-based, but it might be worth looking into a support group. You might find one through your IVF doctor. We have one at our church, but our doctor recommended another one. Just another idea!

    Love to you…

  14. Reply


    October 4, 2012

    I was in a therapy group for awhile and while it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO freakin scary to go, I actually really liked it. The first hurdle is just making the appointment, going is the second, and then just let go! Big hugs. You can do it.

  15. Reply


    October 5, 2012

    @Denise: Thank you, Denise! That is exactly what I am going to do. I think I have nailed it down to a few names…now to make the calls…eep!

    @Dead Flowers: Thank you, friend! Your support means a lot. πŸ™‚

    @Jen: Yes, I have so much anxiety while trying to make an appointment to see someone to reduce my anxiety! Yikes. Best of luck, and let me know if you end up pursuing it again!

    @Jodi: Thank you so much, Jodi! You're the best. I think I will print out your comment and use it when I make all of these calls. Seriously. <3

    J. Darling: Thank you, J! So much good advice. And best of luck in your search for a new therapist! Let me know how it goes.

    @ruthy ann: Thank you for the referral! I am in Los Angeles, so San Diego is just too far away. I just checked out their website. Maybe I can get an L.A. referral.

    @Alycia: Thank you, Alycia! You are right. This is definitely do-able. I keep reminding myself that most of the anxiety is due to the fact that this is brand new territory. Once I get a few sessions under my belt, hopefully I won't feel so overwhelmed. :/

  16. Reply

    honey my heart

    October 5, 2012

    i'm not really sure about finding someone, besides just calling and visiting a few. is that a possibility for you? hoping you find someone just right πŸ™‚

  17. Reply


    October 5, 2012

    @Karen: Thank you, Karen. I am really sorry to hear about your struggles with postpartum depression. But, I am glad to hear you sought out support. I was actually considering asking my fertility doctor for some names. Thank you for the suggestion! I hope you are feeling better, and taking good care of yourself.

    @Elaine: Thank you so much, Elaine! San Diego is pretty far away, but perhaps Julie might know of someone in Los Angeles? I'll let you know if I follow up. Hope you are doing well!

    @Chic 'n Cheap Living: I think I prefer a woman who is older. But, honestly, that is just an assumption. Who knows how I will feel once I start meeting/talking to potential therapists? Ugh. I really wish there was a Yelp for doctors! That would be amazing.

    @Christina: Thank you so much, C.

    @Jacqueline: I am so sorry to read about your disheartening experience with potential therapists! That is terrible. Have you heard of Resolve? http://www.resolve.org/ I know they have local support groups all over the U.S. I was actually thinking about attending a meeting. Good luck and don't give up! Thank you for your comment – I wish you peace and happiness, as well. πŸ™‚

    @completelyrandomsally: Thank you so much, friend! I totally owe you an email, by the way. I am glad you were able to find someone you trust to talk to. I love the idea of finding a support group. I might look into that after I figure out all of this therapist stuff. Sending love right back to you!

    @Sugar: Thank you, love! I know – this has been so, so terrifying. But oddly, it feels good to at least try and get out of my comfort zone. I'm glad to hear you liked your support group – that is great!

    @Jella: Thank you! That is definitely a possibility. I am finding that L.A. is FILLED with therapists. They are on every block, literally. So, I have to weed through the pile, and hopefully find someone I connect with.

  18. Reply


    October 7, 2012

    I looked at tons of profiles and websites when I was trying to find a therapist and it was really daunting. I can totally relate to so much of what you wrote here. I ended up kind of randomly choosing a dr (dr Linda cox in newport beach) and it worked out so much better than i expected. i just had such a great experience with her i just had to share her name. I think she also does phone sessions. anyway, I hope you find someone that you work really well with and have a good experience, too. Just keep in mind that if you don't like the first person you go to, you can always switch. Lots of luck to you and thank you for this post!

  19. Reply


    October 9, 2012

    I feel like choosing a therapist is hard! I ended up going to two when I was in high school. The first guy? I was not a fan. It was set up in a white room and it seemed so non-personable to me. Also, he made no effort to really relate to me, a 16 year old. I then went to a woman who was a God-send. Working with her was life changing. And I don't say that lightly. So if you chose one and you don't like them, it is totally okay to switch to a new one until you find one that works for you! I hope you find someone to help! <3

    Also, I'd totally judge them off of their head shots too!

  20. Reply


    October 17, 2012

    Hi there! Funny – I am going through this right now in the SFV area of LA. I have 3 referrals from friends for anxiety – what area are you in? Maybe I can help! I also have a dear friend who is a therapist in West LA.