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How to Find a Therapist: Your First-Time Guide

Find a Therapist

Feeling the need to talk to someone? Here's how to get started with therapy in Ontario.

 Why Seek Therapy?

Proactive mental health care is as vital as physical health. Therapy helps maintain emotional well-being, handle challenges, and foster personal growth. It is often times easier to resolve a problem before it gets too big and overwhelming, Therapy is no different. The earlier we reach out for help, the easier and less painful it will be to resolve our concerns and worries. 

 Signs You Might Want to Talk to Someone

There are absolutely no wrong reasons to seek out therapy, below are just some topics and themes where talking to a professional therapist would benefit you: 

Find a Therapist

  • Persistent negative emotions: Sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or anger lasting weeks and disrupting daily life.

  • Difficulty coping with change: Struggling with major life events like loss, job changes, or relationship issues.

  • Relationship issues: Ongoing conflicts with partners, friends, family members, or coworkers.

  • Addiction or substance abuse: Using drugs, alcohol, or gambling to cope with distress.

  • Low self-esteem: Consistent feelings of self-doubt or low self-worth.

  • Stress and burnout: Overwhelm from daily responsibilities affecting physical and mental health.

  • Sleep disruption: Difficulty sleeping or insomnia pointing to underlying issues.

  • Difficulty managing emotions: Uncontrolled anger or feedback from others about overreacting.

  • Lack of purpose: Feeling directionless or uncertain about the future.

Types of Therapy Available


Therapy is a very tailored process, every clinician will have a variety of therapeutic modalities at their disposal to best suit and support you, below is a small list of some of the most common interventions currently available: 

1. Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT, DBT, ACT)

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy): Focuses on changing negative thought patterns to improve emotions and behaviors. It's widely used for anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

  • DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy): Combines CBT techniques with mindfulness and emotional regulation, particularly useful for borderline personality disorder and mood dysregulation.

  • ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy): Encourages accepting thoughts and feelings without judgment and committing to actions aligned with personal values. It’s effective for various psychological disorders.

2. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

  • IPT: Addresses how relationships and life events affect emotions. Often used for depression, it focuses on improving communication patterns and relationship skills.

  • Family Therapy: Works with families to solve problems and improve communication. It's helpful for addressing issues within the family system.

  • Group Therapy: Involves multiple participants working through their issues together under the guidance of a therapist, fostering peer support and shared experiences.

3. Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Therapy

  • Psychoanalysis: Explores unconscious thoughts and childhood experiences to understand current behavior. It’s intensive and long-term.

  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Similar to psychoanalysis but more focused on current issues and shorter-term. It helps uncover and understand deep-seated emotional patterns.

4. Humanistic Therapy

  • Client-Centered Therapy: Focuses on the client's perspective and experiences in a non-judgmental setting, promoting self-discovery and acceptance.

  • Gestalt Therapy: Emphasizes present experiences and awareness, integrating thoughts, feelings, and actions to understand the whole self.

5. Mindfulness and Somatic Therapy

  • Mindfulness Therapy: Involves being present and fully engaging with the current moment, reducing stress and increasing emotional regulation.

  • Somatic Therapy: Focuses on the mind-body connection, using techniques like movement and breathing to release physical tension and improve emotional well-being.

6. Narrative Therapy

  • Narrative Therapy: Helps individuals reshape their personal stories and identify the strengths within them. It encourages separating the person from their problems and viewing issues from different perspectives.

7. Play Therapy

  • Play Therapy: Primarily used with children, it uses play to help them express emotions and resolve issues. It’s effective for emotional and behavioral challenges in children.

8. Art Therapy

  • Art Therapy: Uses creative processes like drawing, painting, and sculpting to help individuals explore their emotions and improve mental health. It’s beneficial for people of all ages, especially those who find it difficult to express feelings verbally.

9. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

  • EMDR: A structured therapy for processing traumatic memories. It involves guided eye movements or other bilateral stimulation to reduce the emotional impact of trauma.

10. Brainspotting

  • Brainspotting: Identifies and processes trauma stored in the body by focusing on specific eye positions. It helps access deeper parts of the brain involved in emotional regulation and trauma response.

11. Trauma-Informed Therapy

  • Trauma-Informed Therapy: Recognizes the impact of trauma on an individual’s life and tailors the therapeutic approach to address trauma-specific needs, promoting safety and empowerment.

Finding the Right Therapist

Finding the Right Therapist
  • Check Credentials: Psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselors have different qualifications and costs. Check with your extended healthcare insurance and find out what you are covered for. 

  • Insurance and Costs: Therapy typically costs between $100 and $250 per session. Check your health benefits for coverage.

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Choose a therapist who understands your cultural or personal background to ensure better engagement and outcomes.

  • Consider Clinician’s Perspectives: Every clinician brings their own unique blend of personal and professional perspectives. Take a look at the profiles available and see who catches your eye.

  • Consider Location: Do a quick search via google maps to locate therapists near you. Even if you decide to utilize online therapy, it could be helpful to know if a clinician offers a physical office for you to utilize on occasion. 

  • Consider the Directory: not every directory is made equal, consider directories like Healing in Colour, Althea Therapy, Rainbow Health Ontario, or Association specific ones like EMDR Canada and CAMFT for specifically trained clinicians. 

  • Consider your Budget: Directories like Open Path, and Affordable Therapy Network will help you look for clinicians offering lower fees (usually under $100) 

How to Start

1. Clarify Goals: Reflect on your challenges, prioritize concerns, and be specific with your goals.

2. Ask Questions: Inquire about the therapist's approach, experience, fees, and availability.

3. Try Multiple Therapists: Meet with a few to find the best fit. Many offer free 15-minute consultations to assess compatibility.


Finding the Right Therapist

Finding a therapist can significantly improve your mental health and well-being. Start by considering your needs, exploring different therapy types, and choosing a therapist who fits your budget and understands your background. Remember, the relationship with your therapist is key to your success.



Judy is the founder and clinical director of Your Story Counselling Services, A private practice clinic in Vaughan & Markham Ontario servicing individuals, couples, and families across the Greater Toronto Area. As a Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor, Judy is passionate about creating change and making mental health services more safe and accessible to the public. Judy believes in working collaboratively with others so that they can get back to themselves and their preferred way of life and living.

To learn more about the Your Story Counselling Team and the services we offer click here.

If you have additional questions regarding the contents of this article please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer you.

Should you have questions or inquiries regarding counselling and the process of counselling, please visit our FAQ page. contact us to ask questions, or learn more about our team of therapists before signing up for a free 15 minute consultation.

Terms and Conditions of Use:

The information provided in this article is intended to be general knowledge and does not constitute as professional advice or treatment. This information is not intended for the use of diagnosis or treatment. Please do not share or distribute this article without the proper referencing or written/verbal consent of Judy Lui. Additional information can be found at or requested via


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