Finding a mental health therapist can be difficult. Covid has driven up the demand for therapy. Meanwhile, the supply of therapists has remained constant.
I would like to offer you 7 tips to help you find a mental health therapist if the therapists you’re contacting are not returning your emails or calls.
1. Look Outside Your City
If you’re struggling to find a counselor in Portland (or one of the nearby cities), and you are able to meet on telehealth, you may want to look for a counselor outside of Portland. Salem, Eugene, Bend, and Medford are a few options. This can open your options in cities where the demand for counseling may be lower.
2. Ask Someone You Know for a Referral
You will stand out to the therapists you approach if you tell them someone referred them. In the first email you send a potential therapist, your subject line can be:
“(Name of Referral Source) referred you…”
Just make sure your referral source is okay with you mentioning their name. This is not guaranteed to get a response from the therapist. But it will increase your odds.
3. Research The Therapist
Before you email a therapist, you may want to do some research on them. Go to their website. Google search them. Find out things you like about them and mention these things in an email. This research also helps you determine if the therapist is a “right fit” for you. Sincere flattery goes a long way, too!
4. Ask The Therapist for a Referral
In the email you write the therapist, you can say something like this: “I would really enjoy working with you because (give several genuine reasons). But if that’s not possible, do you know of a therapist who is as good as you?” This opens up another possibility for a referral.
5. Be Polite in Your Approach
Just a friendly reminder that a polite and kind email goes a long way.
6. A Caution Abut Oversharing
It’s tempting to tell the therapist the details about why you are reaching out for mental health support. I caution you about doing this.
7. Be Flexible
In a market where the demand for therapy is higher than the supply of therapists, it helps if you are flexible with the times you can meet. That does not mean you should skip work or neglect you’re other life responsibilities. It just means your chances of landing a therapist increase if you are flexible with the times you can meet. You can even mention this in your first email.
I hope these tips help you find a therapist. Good luck!
Wes Murph, MA, QMHA
Professional Counselor Associate