How to Find an Anxiety Therapist

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An anxiety therapist is someone who has specialized training to treat anxiety disorders. When looking for a therapist for social anxiety disorder (SAD), you should seek someone who specializes in treating this specific mental health concern.

Although the process of finding an anxiety therapist will not be easy, the benefits of entering into therapy with a qualified professional are great. Below are some steps to help you find an anxiety therapist in your area.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

If you plan to use your insurance to pay for therapy, you may need to select a therapist who is part of your insurance plan. The best first step is to contact your insurance provider for a list of therapists that are in your plan's network.

Once you have the list, narrow it down to those who provide treatment specifically for anxiety disorders and SAD. If there are a lot of choices, see if your family doctor might be able to help by recommending a specific therapist on the list.

Sometimes insurance plans aren't very generous about treating mental conditions. If you don't have insurance or are unable to cover the cost of copays, consider your local university. They may offer sliding-scale therapy or free counseling as part of ongoing research studies.

Pick up the Phone

If there is a large clinic in your area, they likely have therapists on staff that treat anxiety disorders. If you are comfortable, call their offices and ask whether anyone on staff treats SAD.

If you aren't comfortable making phone calls yourself to locate a therapist, enlist the help of a friend or family member to call on your behalf.

Search Online

There are a number of online directories to connect you with therapists near you. Sources like the American Psychological Association's ​Psychologist Locator or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America's Find a Therapist Directory are great because you can click on different filters to find therapists that meet your criteria. Both websites also provide resources for people living with anxiety.

Shop Around

Once you have located a therapist and gone to your first few sessions, remember that your treatment process is still unfolding. Even though a therapist may be trained to treat SAD, they may not be a good fit for you.

If you are having trouble opening up to your therapist, or feel like your concerns aren't being addressed, you may need to re-evaluate. It's OK to shop around until you find a therapist who is the right fit for you.

By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."