Frequently Asked Questions


Many people seeking help for emotional difficulties face another challenge: how to find the right psychotherapist. The more stress an individual is under, the less particular he or she may be. Yet studies have shown that the most important factor for success is the right match between patient and therapist. Research on matching indicates that the initial sense of a working alliance is a powerful predictor of the outcome of treatment. Such an important choice is best reached through an informed search. While you want someone well-qualified by training and experience, it is also vital that you feel trusting and confident in the relationship, secure enough to unburden deeply guarded feelings. A therapist who communicates respect, empathy and warmth will make the best guide, and is most likely to provide the right blend of competence and chemistry.

Adults can start by conferring with their family or primary care physician, obtaining a thorough physical evaluation, and requesting appropriate referral recommendations. For children having problems, their pediatrician is usually a good start, and can determine if there is an associated physical cause. Inquire about therapists with a special area of expertise, as the current trend is toward specialization. For example, some therapists specialize in treating psychological trauma in victims exposed to emergencies or disasters, as well as reactions in the “first responders” who were involved in assisting them. Referral assistance can be provided by social worker or family therapist organizations, outpatient departments of hospitals or postgraduate training centers, psychiatric or psychological societies, and community mental-health centers. The resources web page here at PsychSites contains contact information for many recognized national associations. It may be helpful to interview two or three therapists before making up your mind. At your initial consultation, ask about the professional’s academic or clinical training, special-interests, approach, and fees. Be cautious trying to diagnose your own problems: after getting a professional assessment, also ask for recommendations of the best treatments for your situation. is pleased to provide an online directory, focused primarily on psychiatrists and psychologists, listing most of these essential criteria for each specialist, to assist in your search. To search among a broad range of mental health professionals and allied disciplines, please visit our sister site, .


Most of the specialists described below are subject to state or national licensing or certification boards. Although all professionals are required to submit their specialty and license number in their application to be listed on, it would be prudent for the user to contact the certifying organization and verify up-to-date licensing information. PsychSites has made no additional effort to ascertain their qualifications and competence, and makes no guarantee of the quality of work of any individual or group, nor of the likelihood of success from treatment.


Members of many different mental health disciplines can offer psychotherapy, so it may be difficult to know if the person is well-qualified. However the major therapeutic professions license and certify their members. This usually requires a therapist to pass a rigorous test in his or her state. Here are some guidelines:


IF YOU KNOW THE NAME of the clinician you are looking for, start with the “DIRECTORY”. Click once to view their page. If they are not listed, try visiting your local mental health society, or utilize links on the resources page to national organizations. Many provide directories of their members or will make referral arrangements. Feel free to click a Google ad, which may provide links to other natural or sponsored search results.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A NAME, AND ARE MOST CONCERNED WITH FINDING A THERAPIST NEARBY, click “ SEARCH” on the menu, and click your country, then click your state, and if needed city. Remember to hold down the control button (mac - command button) in any of the search windows to choose multiple criteria.

IF YOU ARE MOST CONCERNED WITH FINDING A PROFESSIONAL IN A CERTAIN SUBSPECIALTY, it will be easiest to click “SPECIALTY”,or you may combine several criteria on the “search” screen, to narrow down your best results. Remember to hold down the control button for multiple criteria.

IF YOU WISH TO SEARCH AMONG A BROAD RANGE OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, PLEASE VISIT OUR SISTER SITE,, where you will find an even more comprehensive directory for all mental-health professionals, which includes clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and allied disciplines, along with psychologists and psychiatrists. The two web sites list a combined total of over 2000 providers in 100 subspecialties and speaking 25 languages. Many profiles are linked to useful sites for mental health education. If you know of a professional who would benefit from a free listing, please encourage them to apply!

PROFESSIONAL LICENSING: most of the specialists described above are subject to state or national licensing or certification boards. Although all professionals are required to submit their specialty and license number in their application to be listed on, it would be prudent to contact the certifying organization, and verify licensing.

EMOTIONAL DISORDERS, TREATMENT APPROACHES, INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL CONCERNS: more detailed information about mental conditions, new research, provider orientations, payment issues, and guides for choosing a therapist are provided by national professional organizations. Credible and useful links can be found in PsychSites under "Resources" including the American Psychiatric Association; American Psychological Association; National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information; National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); Psychology; and


Using technology to improve access to mental health information and care that is appropriate, culturally competent, and may be located in rural or geographically remote areas. Using innovation to promote effective treatment and support for living, working, learning, and participating fully in the community. We trust that PsychSites will be a valuable part of this mission.