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Community Resource Guide

Copyright ©2012 Seattle Pacific University. Student Counseling Center: SCC@spu.edu 3307 3rd Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119

The Student Counseling Center at SPU offers mental-health counseling to our undergraduate population.  As a service to graduate students and to non-students in the community, we offer this community resource guide.


Emergency and Crisis Situations:


24-hour Crisis Line (Seattle): 206-461-3222 or 866-4-CRISIS

 Finding a Counselor or Therapist in the Seattle Area:

The following information, prepared by the Seattle Pacific University - Student Counseling Center, is intended to assist anyone seeking counseling in the Seattle area. This task can be frustrating and confusing for anyone unfamiliar with the counseling and mental health field. We hope that this information demystifies this task and provides useful information to help you find the best counselor for your situation.

Step 1: Assess your insurance benefits, or if you do not have insurance with mental health coverage available in the state of Washington, the amount you are able to pay for therapy

  • Be sure to understand the terms of your insurance, call your insurance provider (this number is often located on the back of your insurance card) and ask if you have session limits, a deductible, a co-pay, and what types of mental health services are covered (i.e. testing, group therapy, couple or family therapy), number of sessions per year that are covered, and if they have a list of counseling providers (preferred providers) that you must choose from for the insurance plan to provide the maximum coverage. Also check to see if they cover out-of-network therapists (meaning providing a lower level of reimbursement compared to preferred providers, for fully licensed professional counselors).
  • If you will be paying out-of-pocket and do not have the ability to pay for full cost counseling services, look for counselors who can offer a sliding scale fee arrangement, or look for low-fee clinics (see pages 3-6).
  • Sometimes going to a therapist every other week or every few weeks instead of weekly can make the cost more manageable.

Step 2: Think about what qualities are important to you in a counselor

  • Questions to ask yourself are: “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 (e.g. depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, couples)?” “Do I have a preference for the style and approach my counselor uses (e.g. giving homework, working with you collaboratively, exploring your past, incorporating scripture)?”

Step 3: Search for a counselor who will be the right fit for you

  • Research has found that finding the counselor who is the right “fit” is important to success in counseling. Explore counselors’ websites and call those who 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 or not the counselor is a good fit.
  • Take into consideration your schedule and your ability to get to your counselor’s office. You want to make sure it is convenient enough that you can stick with it as long as you need.
  • You can search for a counselor in many ways. Here are some ideas:
    • 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 website: Keep reading for a list of websites where you can conduct a counselor search.
    • IMPORTANT: You can go to the Washington State Department of Health to see if any legal action related to a counselor's practice, has been taken against any therapist with whom you are considering meeting. Simply type in his or her 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 as though they are not the right fit, you can take these steps:
    • First, try talking through your concerns with your counselor to see if you can find a way to make the relationship work
    • If you decide that 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.

Understanding a Counselor’s Credentials:


Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): These therapists have obtained at least a master’s degree in a mental health counseling field and have training in a wide variety of issues and concerns.  They have obtained a state required amount of education, supervision and counseling hours to obtain licensure in their state of practice.

  • LMHCA: Counselors with this credential have graduated from a mental health counseling program and are in the process of working towards licensure in the state of Washington

Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT): These counselors have obtained at least a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or mental health counseling and see individuals, but also have special training working with couples and families. They have obtained a state required amount of education, supervision and counseling hours to obtain licensure in their state of practice.

  • LMFTA: Counselors with this credential have graduated from a marriage and family therapy program and are in the process of working towards licensure in the state of Washington

Clinical Social Worker (LICSW/LCSW): Licensed clinical social workers have obtained at least a master’s degree in social work and are trained to help clients who are experiencing a variety of issues.  These therapists are trained to look at issues from both a social as well as an individual context.  They have obtained a state required amount of education, supervision and counseling hours to obtain licensure in their state of practice.

  • LICSWA: Counselors with this credential have graduated from a social work master’s program and are in the process of working towards licensure in the state of Washington

Psychologist (Psy.D. or Ph.D): Psychologists have received a doctorate. They have been trained to work with clients facing a variety of issues and also are trained to administer psychological testing for evaluation purposes.  They have obtained a state required amount of education, supervision and counseling hours to obtain licensure in their state of practice.


Psychiatrist (M.D.): Psychiatrists have obtained a doctorate of medicine with at least a 4-year psychiatric residency and have special training in how the body affects mental health issues.  They meet with clients who are experiencing significant emotional distress and/or mental health disorders and can prescribe/monitor medication for these issues.  They often work collaboratively with a psychologist or master’s level therapist who provide counseling to their client, but some psychiatrists counsel their clients as well.

  • For medication needs requiring less monitoring, your primary care physician can provide a prescription if they feel it is needed.


***Educational requirements and post-graduate counseling hours as well as license title may vary by state. Contact your state licensing board for clarification.

Therapist Locator Websites (therapists in private practice):

The following websites provide information about independent self-employed counselors. Each website lists only those practitioners from a specific discipline as described in the previous section, e.g. mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists. The fees for private practice counselors vary. The range is $50 to $125 per session. However if you have insurance that covers counseling services and the private counselor is a member of your insurance plan, part or all of the fee will be covered by your health insurance plan (see Step 1 in at the beginning of this document).


Low Cost Counseling Services in the Seattle Area:


Alliance Community Psychotherapy Clinic
Services:  low income mental health counseling
Fees:  sliding scale ($20-$80 per session)
Phone:  425-656-9627


Antioch University Seattle - Community Counseling and Psychology Clinic
Services: individual, couples, family, group therapy, assessments
Fees: sliding scale ($20-$100 per session / $250-$2000 for assessments)
Phone: 206-268-4840


Bastyr Center for Natural Health - Counseling Services
Services: short-term counseling (up to 12 sessions) provided by supervised student clinicians
Fees: $20 per session
Phone: 206-834-4100



Center for Human Services
Services: counseling for individuals, couples, and families
Fees:  sliding scale
Phone:  206-362-7282


Lutheran Counseling Network
Services: therapy for individuals, couples, families and groups
Fees:  for low-income; the Lutheran Church subsidizes the fee (sliding scale)
Phone:  206-364-1046


Pioneer Human Services
Services:   counseling & chemical dependency services, psychiatric evaluations & medication monitoring
Fees:   sliding scale ($6-$90 per session)
Phone: 206-768-1990

The Psychotherapy Cooperative
Services: psychotherapy for persons who cannot afford private practice rates, outpatient counseling
Fees:  sliding scale
Phone:  206-320-7988


Puget Sound Christian Clinic
Services: outpatient professional counseling, spiritual direction
Fees: sliding scale
Phone: 206-363-4105

Samaritan Center of Puget Sound
Services:  counseling for individuals, couples, and families with limited resources (ask about low fee clinic)
Fees:  sliding scale
Phone:  206-527-2266 ext. 117


University of Washington Psychological Services and Training Center
Services:  psychological testing, counseling and therapy provided by clinical psychology graduate students under supervision.
Fees:  determined by income level
Phone: 206-543-6511


Wellspring Family Services: General Counseling Services
Services:  outpatient counseling and therapy
Fees:  sliding scale based on income
Phone:  206-524-9055


Special Populations/Special Issues:


Asian Counseling and Referral Services
Services:  individual, group, and family counseling, and psychiatric services for the Asian-Pacific Islander Population: Asian-Pacific Islander
Fees:  sliding scale
Phone:  206-695-7600


Jewish Family Service of Seattle
Services:  outpatient counseling and addiction treatment
Fees:  subsidized sliding scale
Phone: 206-861-3152

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers
Services:  comprehensive services for alcohol and substance abuse
Fees:  accept insurance, fees based on income
Phone:  800-231-4303


Seattle Therapy Alliance (for women)
Services:  therapy services for women
Fees:  $40 to $65 per session
Phone:  206-660-4395


Domestic Violence Centers

  • Domestic Violence Shelters:
    • DAWN  425-656-7867

Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers

  • Drug and Alcohol Support Groups:


  • Drug and Alcohol Inpatient Treatment:


  • Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Treatment:

 Intensive Eating Disorder Outpatient Centers

  • Opal  206-926-9087


 Testing and Assessment