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How do I choose a therapist?

¿Cómo elijo a una terapeuta?

Therapists vary widely in personality and approach. Therefore some therapists will be a better match for you than others. You may need to talk with several therapists before making your final choice because successful therapy depends on your working with someone with whom you feel comfortable.

You do not have to continue working with the first person you contact, especially if you feel uneasy. Sometimes people make the assumption that the therapist is the expert and knows best. While it is true that you are going to a therapist for his or her expertise, it is also very important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings.

Feel free to discuss your reactions with the therapist, and see how you feel about his or her responses. Also, see how you feel about whether the therapist understands your reasons for seeking therapy, and if you have confidence that he or she will be able to help you reach your therapeutic goals. Ask questions about the therapist’s training, experience, specialties, and anything else you want to know about how he or she works.

Make sure you have a sense of being able to develop a sense of trust with the therapist you select, and that you feel safe, respected, and understood.

All therapists in our directories are members of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists ( and practice according to CAMFT's Code of Ethics, which ensures potential clients are getting well-trained, highly ethical therapists. For more information, visit the CAMFT website to find out why CAMFT/RECAMFT therapists are among the best, top-notch mental health professionals in the industry. 

Limitations of Managed Care

Managed care provides mental health insurance coverage and attempts to keep costs down by paying for part or all of preauthorized sessions with therapists who have a working contract with the managed care company. A "utilization review" team monitors the progress of the sessions and keeps therapy oriented towards problem solving and symptom reduction. The number of sessions is limited. Managed care may limit service to crisis intervention, or brief, symptom-focused treatment

It is important to be sure you are comfortable with your therapist, and that the kind and duration of therapy matches your needs. Managed care usually reimburses you for two to twenty sessions. Because the number of sessions is limited and because the managed care company monitors your therapy, you may find that managed care coverage does not meet your needs. You may want more confidentiality, and you may want or need to continue therapy longer than your insurance will pay. Some plans allow you to choose an out-of-network therapist (a non-member provider), with somewhat less reimbursement, but with more confidentiality and often longer treatment.

Short-term therapy may be adequate for people going through a temporary crisis, or having a specific, well-defined problem. But many people know they need long term depth therapy to address life-long emotional pain, childhood trauma, emotional deprivation, or long-time patterns of relationship difficulties. We hope you will choose the kind of therapy most suited to your needs, whether problem-solving or a depth approach.

Are you looking for a Medi-Cal provider?

We are in the process of updating our Therapist Directory to reflect providers who take Medi-Cal. In the meantime, you can search for a provider on the Beacon website here

The use of insurance for reimbursement of Mental Health services
"The Affordable Care Act provides one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation."*  Ask your therapist if they belong to an insurance panel, including Medi-Cal. 

*"Health Insurance and Mental Health Services".  December 8,  2014.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  February 10, 2015.

RECAMFT Referral Service: Advocating Your Right to Choose

RECAMFT includes a diverse group of therapists who share a concern regarding the quality and confidentiality of care available to our clients. Some of us are oriented towards brief, problem-solving therapy; others do longer-term depth therapy to aim for major life changes; some of us are experienced in both approaches. Some work with managed care companies; others don't.

If you are selecting a therapist from our provider list, take into account the reason you are seeking therapy, the therapist’s specialty, your possible need for handicapped access, and the gender and geographic location of the therapist.

We encourage you to make an informed decision when you choose a therapist. We are all careful, responsible, experienced therapists with different approaches.

Choosing to enter therapy is an important decision, and shows a willingness to heal and grow. We hope this information will help you choose a therapist you can trust, respect, and work with towards your therapeutic goals.

Go to Directories to search for a therapist now.

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