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How to Find an Anxiety Therapist

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Updated July 07, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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. Therapists who do not have a good understanding of the disorder are less likely to provide effective treatment.

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.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. If your treatment will be covered by an insurance provider, the best first step is to ask for a list of professionals whose treatment will be covered. 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.

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

  3. Go online. There are a number of options for finding a therapist for SAD on the internet. Visit such sites as UCompareHealthCare.com, the American Psychological Association's psychologist locator, or the Anxiety Disorders Association of America's (ADAA) find a therapist website. The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies find a therapist service, and the American Psychiatric Association website may also be useful resources. Most "find a therapist" services allow you to search by location and specialty.

  4. Once you have located a therapist and made your first appointment, it is important to remember that the process is still unfolding. Even though a therapist may be trained to treat SAD, he may not be a good fit for you. If you are having trouble opening up to your therapist, or do not feel like your concerns are being addressed, you may need to re-evaluate and decide if a different person might be a better fit.

Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. If you are not covered by insurance and the cost of therapy is prohibitive, your local university may offer sliding-scale therapy or free counseling as part of ongoing research studies.

What You Need

  • Contact information for your insurance provider
  • Phone book
  • Internet access
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