Congratulations! You’ve decided to get therapy. You’ve gone back and forth with yourself, and possibly your loved ones, about what getting therapy means about you and if it can actually help. Spoiler alert- therapy will benefit you, and you may even have a little fun in the process! Now you’re probably wondering how to find a therapist in Philadelphia. There are so many things to consider.

How to find a therapist in Philadelphia

We have heard countless times from our clients that finding a therapist in Philadelphia can be daunting, frustrating, and exhausting. Admittedly, given the plethora of therapists, counselors, and psychologists in the Greater Philadelphia area, we are a little surprised by this. Luckily, you found our website to access high-quality clinicians in the Philadelphia area. Further, you can get additional information on finding a therapist in Philadelphia that’s right for you. Yes, it may not be one of our therapists, so we want to make sure you get the help you seek from someone you find to be a good fit.

Thinking about getting the process of finding a therapist in Philadelphia can feel overwhelming. You might be thinking to yourself, do I even need a therapist? How will I know if the therapist is the right fit for me? Is it even worth paying for a therapist if I have friends and family that can help me? These are all great questions. We will answer these and more throughout this page. We aim to make finding a therapist in Philadelphia less stressful and more streamlined for you.

Where can I find a therapist in Philadelphia?

As stated above, there are a lot of therapists, psychologists, and counselors throughout Greater Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The first question you should ask yourself is, where do you want to receive therapy? Do you want the convenience of virtual/online therapy, or do you want to know that you have a space specially dedicated to your therapeutic process and come in person for your therapy sessions?

After deciding whether you want virtual or in-person therapy sessions, think about timing. Therapy can be difficult at times, it can take up a lot of emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical energy. Do you want your sessions to be during a time when you have the most energy so that you can put it toward working on yourself? Or maybe you feel it’s best to have your session at the end of the day so you can go veg out afterward? Lastly, what is your daily schedule? Where can you accommodate a 50-minute therapy session in your work or school schedule?

Once you’ve decided time of day, you have the location somewhat narrowed down. If you think your sessions should fall during the work or school day, and you want in-person sessions, you should probably look for a therapist close to your work or school. However, if you want virtual sessions, it’s probably more advantageous to look for a clinician that has openings for the time of day that is best for you. This clinician may be a few hours away from you geographically but a good match for your schedule.

Now think about what kind of agency do you want your clinician to be working for. Are you looking for someone who works at a larger agency that takes your health insurance or maybe offers free services because the government subsidizes them? Or are you looking for someone working for a boutique group practice that can hold smaller caseloads? Maybe you don’t want an agency at all, you just want someone who is a sole practitioner not bound by anyone’s structure but their own, so that they can offer a bit more flexibility.

The last thing you need to consider when thinking about where you can find a therapist in Philadelphia is the therapist. Do you want them to have a particular certification, such as certified sex therapist, EMDR trained, or IFS informed? Many certifying agencies have websites that list their certified therapists, which could be a good resource for finding a therapist that’s a good fit for you.

Do you want your therapist to be of a specific background? Plenty of websites serve specific populations, such as Therapy for Black Girls or Inclusive Therapists. Which gender do you want your therapist to be? Many can be searched using a specific gender. These qualifiers should lead you to more helpful websites than just a Google search bar. Or at least have you be more specific in your Google search to get closer to a therapist that is a good fit for you.

Helpful trade outs for your searches:

When searching for a therapist, try to be as specific as possible.

Instead of typing:  Type this: 
Best therapist in Philadelphia Therapist that is specially trained in EMDR to work best with my trauma in Philadelphia
Therapist near me Therapist near me that works with complex PTSD from a feminist theory and has virtual appointments
Trauma therapist Trauma informed therapist near me that has evening availability
Couples therapist near me Couples therapist that does premarital therapy who is Gottman informed that does in-person therapy in Philadelphia 

 

Helpful websites to help you find different therapists:

How do I know if I need therapy?

People get into therapy for a variety of different reasons. Some people have a past they want to heal from, while others feel stuck in moving forward and need help figuring out where to go. Whether you want to go back in time to explore or shoot forward and feel better, therapy can help you gain insights into your interworld and how you fit into the world at large.

Top reasons people attend therapy:

  1. You feel stuck.
  2. The past seems like it keeps repeating itself.
  3. You’re lonely.
  4. Low self-esteem or worth.
  5. As a couple, you have communication issues.
  6. You feel like an underlying issue or truth about yourself needs to be discovered or revealed.
  7. Your relationship/sex life/work life isn’t where you want them to be.

Is it worth it to pay for a therapist in Philadelphia?

The short answer is yes. The long answer discusses investment in yourself and prioritizing growth. Much like going to the gym regularly, going on vacation, or having regularly scheduled meetings with your financial advisor, therapy can play a vital role in helping you maintain your well-being. Just like the gym, vacation, and a financial advisor cost money, so does therapy. You have to get yourself into the growth mindset.

Whether you want to work through old pain points and traumas or explore new behaviors and thoughts to help you feel happier and healthier, therapy in Philadelphia can help. For most of you reading this, therapy will be a brief part of your life. According to a research study published by the APA, ​​50% of clients in therapy average 15-20 weekly sessions to feel a measurable difference in their symptoms. For a more complete symptom remission, some clients stay for 20-30 weekly sessions. When there are more severe symptoms or comorbid diagnoses, clients tend to stay longer in treatment averaging 12-18 months. In the grand scheme of your life, 6-18 months doesn’t seem like that big of an investment of time but can have significant payoffs regarding how you feel and your overall well-being. When you are emotionally stable, thinking clearly, and acting in line with your values and belief systems, other things will fall into place. You will notice your friend circles are more fulfilling, your family brings you more joy, your career starts to take off, and so much more.

Ok, so you’re emotionally invested in getting therapy and think it could be really good for you. However, when you start to call around and ask people what the fees are for therapy, you find yourself asking, is it worth it to pay for a therapist in Philadelphia? With the new federal No Surprises Act, your provider should notify you of any fees you incur during your therapeutic treatment upfront before your first appointment. If you have questions, your therapist should take the time to answer anything they can or direct you to where you can find the answers. The two significant splits in your providers are whether they are “in-network” or “out of network” with your insurance. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) available to you, you can use that money to pay your copays or the out-of-pocket fees associated with your therapy services.

You have health insurance. Why would you not use your health insurance to pay for your sessions? Great question, and one we hear a lot! Our FAQ tab gives some insurance and payment details; you can read more below in the ‘my insurance doesn’t cover my therapy. What options do I have?’ section.

My insurance doesn’t cover my therapy. What options do I have?

If a provider is in-network with your insurance, that means the provider has a contract with your insurance company and will handle the billing directly with your insurance company. The insurance company sets the fee to reimburse your therapist plus a copay if applicable. If you have a copay, you are responsible for paying that to the therapist out of pocket.

If your therapist is out of network (OON), it means they do not have a relationship with your insurance company. Therefore, you will have to pay their fee out of pocket. However, you may submit to your insurance a receipt (that includes the therapist’s license #, NPI, a diagnosis code, a CPT code, and the date of service) for reimbursement if your policy offers OON benefits.

Typically, PPO plans (as opposed to HMO plans) offer OON benefits and reimburse at about 50-80% of allowable/proprietary fees after a deductible has been met. Allowable/proprietary fees are what the insurance company sets as the fees they consider appropriate for the services rendered (e.g., $100 for individual therapy). That means if your therapist charges $150 for individual therapy and your insurance will reimburse you at a rate of 50% of allowable/proprietary fees ($100), your insurance company will reimburse you $50 of the $150 fee.

There are pros and cons to both in-network and OON providers. In-network providers tend to cost you less over the course of your treatment because your insurance covers the costs. However, some OON providers will work with you to get your costs after reimbursement down to your copay. In-network providers are bound by the insurance companies in the services they can provide to you. Some insurance companies limit your sessions per week, month, or year. Or they limit the diagnosis they will reimburse for (e.g., most health insurances won’t reimburse for sexual functioning issues or couple’s therapy. Instead, an individual within the couple must carry a valid diagnosis). Additionally, insurance companies can audit a therapist’s chart at any time. Thus, they can access your assessment, treatment plan, and session notes. Lastly, people tend to want to keep costs down, so it’s common for in-network providers to have waiting lists, despite having larger caseloads than OON providers. Moreover, most insurance companies will only reimburse for licensed clinicians or those supervised by someone licensed. Accessing someone within your network with immediate openings could create more barriers to accessing treatment. Remember, therapy is an investment in yourself, and you spent a long time preparing yourself for this process. Strike while the iron is hot. A waiting list may deter you from staying motivated.

OON providers tend to cost a bit more as you pay out of pocket for their services. The cost could create a barrier to treatment. However, OON providers do not get audited by your insurance, so they only submit your service and diagnostic codes (if you want reimbursement) to your insurance company. OON providers have much more flexibility with handling your services – length of treatment, diagnosing, and services rendered (e.g., virtual vs. in-person vs. walk-and-talk services), couples intensives, etc. Because OON providers set their own fees, they tend to have smaller caseloads allowing more time spent researching or looking into resources for your treatment.

Let’s say you can’t find anyone with openings in network with your insurance company and want to keep costs down when paying out of pocket. Depending on your state, some therapists are allowed to practice with an associate’s license or under the supervision of someone licensed. You may also find agencies that take on Master’s and Doctoral level interns. Depending on what level of expertise your therapist is, you may be able to get services at a lower cost than the going rate in your area.

Additionally, most therapists offer what is called “sliding scale” fees. This is a discounted fee of their typical fee based on the client’s financial needs. Another way to decrease costs is to ask for biweekly treatment rather than weekly. Please be aware that biweekly treatment means you must hold yourself accountable for doing the work between the sessions and stay motivated and on track to working on your goals. You may also be eligible for a tax credit, which your therapist can also provide a receipt for.

By now, you should have a good idea of start-up conversations with a potential therapist or their intake coordinator: are they in network or OON, do they have different clinicians working at different levels with a range of fees, and do they offer a sliding scale? You should also ask them for their NPI or Tax ID when you call your insurance provider to check your benefits.

So what do you ask your insurance company to see what your coverage looks like? If your therapist is in-network, you should call the phone number on the back of your card and ask them the following questions:

  1. Does my plan cover mental health?
  2. Do I have a copay? How much is it?
  3. Do you limit how many appointments I can have within a week/month/year?
  4. Are there any diagnoses that aren’t covered?
  5. When auditing the therapists’ charts, What information do you look at?

If your therapist is OON, here is a script of the conversation you should have with your insurance representative

What questions should I ask to make sure my therapist is a good fit?

There are many factors that you should consider when thinking about if your therapist is a good fit. As mentioned above, you want to consider yourself and your scheduling needs, if you want virtual or in-person appointments, what characteristics the therapist has that will help you feel most comfortable in the therapy space, and cost and if you want to use your insurance.

In addition to this list, you want to see how you feel about the person. Some people can judge their comfort levels by a consultation phone call, while others need an entire session to feel out the therapist and themselves in the therapy space. Our motto is that clients should always shop around until they find someone they feel entirely safe and comfortable. Therapy is a vulnerable journey to embark on, you don’t want to share that with just anyone!

Think about your personality and things that you enjoy about your friendships or family relationships. Let these two things guide you to ensure your therapist is a good fit for you. Are you the type of person who likes to laugh and loosen up, or do you always take things seriously and want someone who can be in that space with you? Do you want a therapist to share some things about themselves for you to relate to, or do you want the therapist to stay somewhat of a mystery to you? You also have to ask yourself what things would annoy you. For instance, a therapist’s voice, mannerisms, or office space smells funny. Think about all of the things that could serve to distract you from your ultimate goal and try to avoid them when making sure you find a therapist that is a good fit for you.

You also want to think about the therapist’s style. Do they give homework between sessions? Are they certified, or do they closely practice a specific model? If so, do you like that model’s take on therapy, and do you think it will work for you? Does the therapist come into each session with an agenda, or do they let you lead? Remember, your therapist is working for you. Some people need the therapist to take more control, whereas others want a sounding board and some insight but can hold themselves accountable to do the work. Check out our article on FAQs 

Questions to ask the therapist to make sure your therapist is a good fit for you:

  1. What is your cancellation policy?
  2. Do you use humor in your sessions?
  3. Are you more stoic in sessions, or do you sometimes share some personal information about yourself?
  4. What is your schedule of availability?
  5. Do you give homework?
  6. Are you certified in anything?
  7. If you’re skeptical about therapy, it could be helpful to hear how the therapist has worked with resistant clients.
  8. What are your fees?
  9. How long is a typical session?
  10. How frequently do you meet with your clients?
  11. Do you take my insurance?
  12. Do you help with OON reimbursement?
  13. Lastly, and most importantly, discuss with the therapist a little bit about what’s going on for you and what your ultimate goals are for therapy. Pay attention to how you feel when you are giving them this information. Then pay attention to how they respond, does their reaction to your information feel good to you?

How to book a therapy session with The Better You Institute

We have a streamlined process for getting you set up with a therapist. You can reach out using our contact form, email us at [email protected], or call us at 267-495-4951. Our Intake Coordinator will be on the receiving end of your reach-out to set up a complimentary phone consultation. You will get about 15 minutes to discuss what’s going on for you so that the coordinator can match you with one of our therapists. During this phone call, you should ask the questions from above and consider all of the factors discussed in the above sections.

At the end of your phone consultation, you will hear who the coordinator thinks you’d be a good fit with. Sometimes, one clinician seems like such a perfect fit, while other times, you might have 2-3 therapists that could be a good fit for you. If this is the case, the coordinator will encourage you to look at the therapist’s website blurbs or read a self-help tip or two written by each of the therapists to get a better sense of each of them.

Once you’ve decided who you want to work with, the coordinator will schedule you on a day and time that works best for you. You will give your first and last name, email address, and phone number to get signed up. You will also pay our holding fee of 20% of the therapist’s fee. From there, you will get automated emails inviting you into our portal system. Before your appointment, we ask that you fill out the paperwork so that it doesn’t take up time in your session.

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