How to Find a Therapist in Los Angeles: 10 Helpful Tips

Find the right  therapist in L.A. with these practical suggestions.

If you search for “How to find a therapist in Los Angeles” on Google, it will seem like there is an endless supply of choices from individual and group practices to therapist databases or matching services. There are so many things to consider: their degree, their approach, their location, et. al. And then right when you think you’ve found the right one, you might get placed on a waitlist.

Whether you’re returning to therapy or trying therapy for the first time, here are some ideas for how to find and choose a therapist. Even if you are not in Los Angeles, you might find this list helpful:

       1. GET A REFERRAL. This may seem obvious to some, but it is definitely worth mentioning. If you know someone who has had a good experience in therapy, ask them for that therapist’s contact information. While your friend’s therapist may not want to work with you (because of the standing therapist/client relationship with your friend), they should be able to offer some solid recommendations from their network. Talking to your doctor or primary care physician is also a great first step. They will typically have therapists they can recommend to you.

       2. STATE YOUR GOALS. Let the therapist know if you have a specific concern or goal in mind, and find out how the therapist will respond to your needs. Does the therapist use evidence-based approaches? Understand the therapist’s training and treatment methods to ensure it is a good match. For additional context, you may also want to familiarize yourself with different degrees (MSW, PhD, MFT, etc.) a therapist may hold and what this tells you about their training and approach.

       3. BRING UP STRUCTURE. Ask how sessions will be structured. Some therapists offer unstructured sessions that follow the clients’ lead; other clinicians provide structure, feedback, and direction in each session. Media depictions of the passive, stone-faced therapist are outdated; many modern therapists, especially CBT therapists, are highly structured and communicative.

       4.TALK ABOUT COST. Discuss fees and payments—what types of payments are accepted? Will the therapist provide a superbill for out-of-network reimbursement?

       5. ADDRESS CANCELLATIONS. If you have an unpredictable schedule, ask the therapist about their cancellation policy. Most will charge the full fee for the session if you don’t give more than 24 hours’ notice of cancellation.

       6. CONSIDER YOUR TIME. If you would like to weigh the expected financial and time commitment, you can ask how long the therapist usually works with clients. If you have certain needs or expectations about the length of treatment, you should let the therapist know. At Therapy Lab, we are upfront about understanding your needs and recommending a treatment timeframe.

       7. UNDERSTAND ONLINE v. IN-PERSON. Logistics matter when you’re scheduling a weekly appointment. Of course, some prefer the in-person experience to online, but anticipating traffic, parking, etc. (especially in L.A.) can be a burden. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be either or. Ask if your therapist can be flexible and see you in person some of the time. In our Los Angeles practice, many of our new clients start in person and then transition to online.

       8. KNOW THE PLATFORMS. Find out more about the platform used for teletherapy and voice any concerns about digital security. Ask the therapist if they use HIPAA-compliant teletherapy platforms. At Therapy Lab, we take HIPAA compliance seriously.

       9. FIND COMMON GROUND. If you prefer to work with someone sharing your own cultural background, whether that’s your ethnicity, gender identity, or socioeconomic experience, we’d encourage you to weigh those factors in your search. At the very least, you could discuss the therapist’s own interest and appreciation for diverse backgrounds.

       10. PREVIEW TREATMENT OPTIONS. If you anticipate needing medication as part of your treatment, you should ask your therapist how they would collaborate with a psychiatrist. With a treatment plan that includes both therapy and medication, providers should plan to communicate and share information as much as possible to promote your well-being and treatment progress.

We hope you find these tips helpful and encourage you to share them with a friend or loved one. If you are curious about Therapy Lab’s approach to simplifying therapy, please click here to arrange a FREE consultation.

About Us

Therapy Lab is an evidence-based therapy practice offering treatment plans to help adults, teens, children, and families meet specific goals. With an upfront timeline and budget, we prioritize structure, efficiency, and results. We measure clients’ progress as we go and apply science-based principles such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to the therapy process. We offer in-person and virtual therapy with no waitlist.

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