How do I find a therapist?

A simple, non-shitty guide to finding mental health support

Joshua Lavra


It’s 2016, and I’ve literally googled “gay therapist 94102', hoping the qualified, gay, handsome-but-not-too-attractive therapist of my dreams would manifest on my screen.

google search for ‘gay therapist 94102’

Instead, I find myself clicking through a handful of local therapy centers and support groups, eventually landing on Psychology Today.

A long search and a few emails later, I had my first therapy appointment scheduled.

screenshot of an email that connected me with my eventual therapist

This guide is a way of sharing what I’ve learned from struggling to find, and eventually finding, mental health support. It’s the advice I’ve shared with friends — simple, totally biased, but carefully considered.

Hopefully it helps you find the support you want. Everyone deserves to have their mental health cared for, and I hope you are able to find the care you need.

1 — Pick the type of support you’re seeking

There are many different forms of therapy. For the sake of this guide, when I talk about therapy I’m referring to talk therapy — where you spend time with another human (a trained professional), talking.

If you’re curious what exists beyond traditional talk therapy, you might consider exploring therapies like Psychodrama, EMDR, or Psychedelic therapies utilizing Ketamine or Psilocybin.

In many case, the human(s) you’ll be spending time talking with, typically come with a range of qualifications. This guide from WebMD gives a nice overview of the most common ones:

Psychologist. A psychologist has a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) in psychology, which is the study of the mind and behaviors. Licensed psychologists are qualified to do counseling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment for mental disorders.

Counselor. A psychological counselor is a mental health professional who has a master’s degree (MA) in psychology, counseling, or a related field. A mental health counselor is qualified to evaluate and treat



Joshua Lavra

focused on human ways to support the health and happiness of young queer people @Hopelab. formerly @IDEO @EY_Doberman @AirLiquideGroup