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Sunday May 16, 2021

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Find an Online Therapist

What is the best way to find online therapy services for my anxiety and depression? I just turned 63 and have become increasingly hopeless since the COVID pandemic hit and cost me my job. I need to get some professional help, but I'm also high risk for illness and very concerned about leaving the house.

I am sorry to hear about your job loss and the difficulties you are going through right now, but you are not alone. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, 45% of Americans report experiencing fear, anxiety and depression related to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

To help you through this difficult time, there are a variety of therapists, psychologists and other mental health providers you can turn to. Due to the pandemic, most of them are now offering online counsel to their clients through teletherapy services. This will allow you to interact virtually with a therapist from the comfort of your home using only a smartphone, tablet or computer.

How to Find a Therapist

A good first step to locate a therapist is to ask your primary care provider or family and friends for a referral. You can also look on your insurer's website for a list of therapists covered under your plan. Be aware that some insurers have limited or even no coverage for mental health, and many mental healthcare providers do not participate in insurance plans. (Medicare does cover mental health services.)

Other resources to help you find a good therapist include online finder tools at the American Psychological Association ( and the American Psychiatric Association (

If you want some help, there are also online platforms that can help match you with a licensed mental health provider. Many of these online platforms allow access through your phone or computer and contract with thousands of licensed and credentialed therapists. Typically, the process starts with a few questions to assess your goals, your condition and your preferences and then matches you with some top therapists in your state.

If you do not have insurance coverage or cannot afford therapy, you can call or text 211 (or go to anytime for a referral to a provider. These providers offer support at no cost or on a sliding scale, based on your budget.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 and ask for a referral to a local resource or provider. They also have the "warm line" for nonemergency calls, where you can talk anonymously to a trained professional at no cost.

Another possible option is Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are community-based health centers, some of which may offer teletherapy services at no cost. To search for centers in your area visit

Interview Your Therapist

Before you start sessions with a therapist, it is important to make sure he or she meets your needs. If you are not comfortable with the person, you are unlikely to benefit from the therapy. Schedule a call or a video chat to get to know each other and ask about the therapist's training, years in practice, specialties, therapy techniques and fee. Ideally the therapist you choose will be a good personality fit for you and will be within your budget or covered by your insurance.

Published October 9, 2020
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