Find a local counselor

Finding a counselor in the Seattle area can be frustrating and confusing. We hope this information demystifies this task and provides useful information to help you find the best counselor for your situation.

Assess your insurance benefits, or the amount you are able to pay for therapy (if you do not have insurance with mental health coverage available in the state of Washington).

Be sure you understand the terms of your insurance. Call your insurance provider (this number is often on the back of your insurance card) and ask if you have:

  • session limits
  • a deductible
  • a co-pay

Also ask:

  • Which mental health services are covered (testing, group therapy, couple or family therapy)?
  • How many sessions per year are covered?
  • Do they have a list of counseling providers (preferred providers) that you must choose from for the insurance plan to provide the maximum coverage?
  • Do they cover out-of-network therapists (providing a lower level of reimbursement compared to preferred providers, for fully licensed professional counselors)?

If you will be paying out-of-pocket and cannot pay for full cost counseling services, look for counselors who offer a sliding scale fee arrangement, or for low-fee clinics.

Sometimes going to a therapist every other week or every few weeks instead of weekly can make the cost more manageable.

Think about what qualities are important to you in a counselor.

  • Is my counselor’s gender or ethnicity important to me?
  • Is it important that my counselor is a Christian?
  • Do I want a counselor who specializes in a certain issue or population (depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, couples)?
  • Do I have a preference for the style and approach my counselor uses (giving homework, working with you collaboratively, exploring your past, incorporating Scripture)?

Search for a counselor who will be the right fit for you.

  • Finding the counselor who is the right fit is important to success in counseling. Explore counselors’ websites and call those whom you are interested in meeting with to ask questions.
  • Some therapists provide a no-cost initial session. This is an excellent way to discern whether the counselor is a good fit.
  • Consider your schedule and ability to get to your counselor’s office. Make sure it is convenient enough that you can stick with it as long as you need.
  • Call your insurance company to get a list of in-network providers (counselors that you must choose from to get maximum insurance coverage for the services received).
  • Get recommendations from friends or family, your primary health care provider, or clergy.
  • Conduct a search on any of the counselor association websites.
  • Visit the Washington State Department of Health website to see if any legal action related to a counselor's practice has been taken against any therapist you are considering meeting. Type the name and look under the “Action” column. If it says “No,” the therapist has no legal action against them in the state of Washington. If it says “Yes,” you can click the therapist’s credential number to read more about the charges against that therapist.

If, while meeting with a therapist, you feel they are not the right fit:

  • First, try talking through your concerns with your counselor to see if there’s a way to make the relationship work.
  • If you decide your current counselor is still not a good fit, you have the right to ask for referrals to a different therapist or to find a new counselor on your own.