How to a find a good therapist in Austin
Updated: May 27
First, good for you for deciding to make your mental health a priority. Just making this decision to move forward is one of the hardest parts. So, you have decided to make a change, but now you actually have to find a therapist in Austin. Fortunately, Austin is a town that values mental health, so you will have a lot of options. The downside is that there are so many options, it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many therapists in Austin, it would be difficult to throw a rock and not hit one. However, throwing rocks at therapists is not advised. Our superpower tends to be listening, not agility.
Some good places to begin your search are Therapy Den or Psychology Today. Both sites make it easy to narrow your search through a lot of filter options.
The difference between a counselor and a therapist
Surprise there really is no difference! For the most part, counselor, therapist and psychotherapist are all interchangeable.
The three most common types of clinicians you will see are: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). All of these indicate that a person has completed their master’s degree and are licensed to practice in the state of Texas. PhD or PsyD indicate that the person has completed a doctorate degree.
If you see the word intern or associate after the title, this lets you know that the person has completed their education requirements and they are working under the supervision of a licensed clinician while they complete their required post-graduate hours.
Consider your own mental health needs
Most therapists are well trained and have experience with a wide variety of issues. However, it is common for therapists to have 1-3 issues that are their primary focus. For example, substance use is my primary focus, but I have education, professional experience and interest around numerous issues. You want to make sure that the person you are considering has expertise that aligns with your needs. A good therapist should let you know if they think they are not the best fit for you.
Counseling offices in Austin
Environment matters. The place you will have your therapy should feel private and should be a place you feel comfortable in. Many therapists will display pictures of their offices on their website to help give you an idea of what their space is like. Also, consider other logistical things that matter to you. Does their office have onsite parking? If you have accessibility needs, can those be accommodated?
Location matters…to a point. The reality is that Austin traffic is just absurd. Therefore, the inclination will be to locate someone near you and of course that would be ideal. However, a really great therapist is sort of like a really great taco. Although tacos and therapists are ubiquitous in Austin, there are some that are just worth the drive.
Timing is everything…can the therapist see you when you want to be seen? This is easy if you have flexibility in your schedule. However, if you don’t, you will want to find out if they have hours that meet yours. Many therapists offer early mornings, evenings and weekends to help accommodate a variety of schedules.
How much does therapy cost?
There is pretty big range here. In general, the longer someone has been licensed and the more specialized they are in what they do, the higher the fee.
Therapists are split on whether or not they accept insurance. However, many will offer a sliding scale fee structure or hold a limited amount of sliding scale spots.
If a therapist you are considering offers a free consultation, take it! This is an efficient and cost-effective way to see if the fit is right. Many offer 15-30 minute consultations either over the phone or in-person. This is a great time to ask questions and decide if this is a person you feel comfortable with.
Good is subjective
A good therapist for you, may not be a good therapist for your friend. Really consider what you are looking for. You can determine if things like ethnicity, gender, experience with certain populations or age matter to you. If so, be sure to look for those qualities in your potential therapist and ask about that during your consultation.
About the Author:
Kimberly May, LPC, LMFT is a therapist at Substance Use Therapy in Austin, TX. Kimberly works with individuals, couples and families whose lives have been affected by substance use. By utilizing a harm reduction framework, Kimberly works effectively with people in any stage of use. In addition to substance use, she works with other issues such as anger, burn-out, anxiety and grief. Contact today to schedule a no-charge, 30 minute, in-person consultation.