How to Choose a Mental Health Care Provider


When choosing a mental health care provider, it can be challenging to know what to look for. There are different types of practitioners as well as a range of therapeutic styles, and you want to find the mental health services that best respond to your needs. The tips below can help you find the provider who’s right for you.

We also encourage you to download our Behavioral Health Access Guide, which goes into greater depth on how to choose a mental health provider, including explaining different provider credentials and exploring how to pay for therapy.

License and Credentials

Whether you found the name of a provider online or through a friend or family member, you want to make sure they’re licensed to practice. A professional mental health practitioner will have the proper state licensure, which can help ensure that you’re in good hands. It’s also important to learn about their education and experience. Whether you’re experiencing depression, grief, anxiety or other concerns, you want to work with someone who has helped others with similar issues.

Affording Mental Health Services

Many health insurance policies cover mental health services. Check with your insurance carrier to determine what your plan will cover, and ask a prospective mental health care provider if they accept your insurance. If you plan to pay out of pocket, many mental health care providers have a sliding scale policy, meaning the fee you pay is based on your income.

Your mental well-being is a vital part of your health, and there are a variety of ways to finance mental health services.

Theoretical Orientation

A mental health care provider’s theoretical orientation determines how they will approach your situation and the type of support they will offer you. If you want to delve into the unconscious, a psychodynamic therapist might be a good match. To work on changing your thoughts and behavior, a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) can help. If you want to work on family dynamics, choosing a family systems therapist would be appropriate.