How do I choose the right therapist?

Tips to help guide you in your therapeutic journey...

Seeking therapy can be a transformative and healing experience, but finding the right psychotherapist for your needs can be a daunting task. Spending hours scrolling through online directories like PsychologyToday and search engines might leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to make the right choice. Below, you can find a number of considerations for selecting a psychotherapist to ensure a fruitful therapeutic journey.

Determine Your Goals

Before embarking on the search for a psychotherapist, take some time to reflect on what you hope to achieve through therapy. Are you seeking short-term therapy to address a specific issue? Or do you require long-term therapy to work through complex, ongoing challenges? Understanding your goals will help you identify therapists who specialize in the type of therapy that aligns with your needs.

Consider the Cost and Length of Therapy

Therapy is an investment in your mental health, and it’s important to consider the financial implications. If you have insurance, check with your provider to see if you are covered for mental health services and clarify which professions are covered (ie. Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Psychologist). If you require long-term therapy, be aware that it may be more expensive and your insurance may not cover all of your sessions. Factor in the cost and frequency of sessions to ensure it aligns with your financial capabilities.
If you are facing budget constraints to access therapy, you can check if you qualify for subsidized coverage through our not-for-profit Bridging With Support or look for a clinician who offers sliding scale options.

Assess Therapist Availability

Take into account the logistical aspects of therapy, such as the therapist’s availability and whether you prefer online therapy or in-person sessions. You may need to look for therapists who offer evening or weekend appointments. Ensuring a convenient schedule will increase the likelihood of consistent attendance and commitment to the therapeutic process.

Consider Life Stages and Backgrounds

Finding a psychotherapist who understands and respects your unique life experiences and background can be crucial to building a strong therapeutic alliance. Consider whether you would prefer a therapist of a specific gender, cultural background, religious affiliation, or someone who shares a similar life experience, such as being a parent. Identifying with your therapist on these levels can foster a sense of connection and facilitate a deeper understanding.

Specialization and Experience

Therapists often have areas of specialization. Keep in mind, some specializations require additional training or certifications so not all therapists will work with children, teens, couples, or families. When choosing a psychotherapist, inquire about their expertise and experience in the specific area you wish to address. A therapist who is knowledgeable and skilled in your particular concern will likely provide more effective treatment and guidance.

Take Advantage of Free Phone Consultations

Many therapists offer free phone consultations to prospective clients. This invaluable opportunity allows you to get to know the therapist, ask questions, and assess if you feel comfortable with them. Pay attention to how the therapist makes you feel during this initial interaction. Do they create a safe and supportive space? Do you feel heard and understood? Trusting your intuition and feeling a connection are important factors in choosing a therapist.


Selecting the right psychotherapist is a crucial step toward embarking on a transformative therapeutic journey. By considering your therapy goals, cost and length of therapy, therapist availability, life stages and backgrounds, specialization, and taking advantage of free phone consultations, you can make an informed decision. Remember that finding the right therapist may take time, and it’s essential to prioritize your comfort and connection with them. Trust the process and believe that with the right therapist, positive change and growth are within reach.

Rachel (she / her) is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, offering online and in-person sessions in downtown Toronto. She primarily works with teens, young adults, and 2SLGBTQIA+ folx.

Learn more about Rachel at