5 Things to Consider When Looking for a Therapist in Dunedin, Florida

Finding a counselor can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. There are so many options of how and where to look for a therapist in Dunedin, FL. You may have searched online. You may have asked your friends and family. Your doctor or insurance company may have given you a list of referrals.

When you are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious, or not like yourself, who wants to read reviews, websites, or directory listings? After all, it is scary enough to ask for help, wondering who to ask makes it all the more stressful.

You may have many questions, concerns, and fears about choosing the best counselor for you. 

You may have many questions about finding a counselor in Dunedin, FL

It is common to feel scared, confused, and have many questions about how to pick the right therapist.

What do all those letters mean after the therapist’s name? What does licensed mean? What is an LCSW? An LMHC? An LMFT?

  • What if this therapist spreads my secrets around Dunedin?
  • Can this therapist help me with my anxiety? 
  • I have heard that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help with my depression. How do I know if this therapist uses CBT in counseling for depression? 
  • I have a very busy schedule between work and my family. How will I find a counselor who has a schedule that works for me to help me with my caregiver stress? 
  • Does my insurance cover counseling with this therapist? 
  • I am going through a divorce and want to make sure that I find a therapist who has helped people cope with the stress from a divorce. How can I know if this counselor understands and has experience in this area? 

It's stressful to find a counselor.

I want to help you find the right therapist for you. 

I want to help make the process less scary and stressful. So, I have created this guide to assist you and to answer some of these questions floating around your mind.

1. Qualifications and Expertise

Have you ever found yourself wondering how you will know if a therapist has the right qualifications? Well, you are not alone. Understanding qualifications and experience can be confusing and daunting.

Is my therapist licensed?

Therapists must have a license to practice. The therapist should have this license listed on their website or other directory listings. How do you know if a counselor is licensed and what do those letters mean?

You may notice some confusing letters and abbreviations after the therapist's name. These letters refer to various licenses, credentials, certifications, and qualifications.

The most important letters for you to understand refer to the therapist’s licensure to practice. Florida allows for several different types of licensed therapists. Therapists licensed in Florida will have at least one of the following types of licensure:

  • LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
  • LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor)
  • LMFT (Licensed Marriage Family Therapist)

Can this counselor help me with my specific needs?

You may have wondered if there is a therapist who has expertise helping people like you. How do you know if a counselor has experience with your specific issue? A therapist’s website and directory listing should clearly discuss your needs that you want to address in counseling.

Many therapists focus their practice on specific issues. They go to trainings, read up on treatment for specific issues, and take classes on certain skills and interventions to help you. When you are looking for a therapist to help you, you want to find someone with expertise in what you want to address in therapy.

Take the time to review their website and profile. 

  • Schedule a consultation
  • Ask the counselor specific questions related to why you want to go to counseling

2. Therapy Approaches

Therapists use different methods in their approaches to counseling. You may read about different therapy approaches and counseling methods. What do these different approaches mean for your counseling session? 

Some commonly used counseling methods include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness based therapy
  • Solution-focused therapy
  • Positive psychology

When you are looking for a therapist, you may feel confused about these different approaches and wonder which one is best for you. You have some different options when it comes to therapy approaches:

  • You can ask the therapist how they help your issue
  • You can review their website to learn more about their approach and treatment style
  • You can conduct your own research and see what approaches may resonate with you.

Ideally, you want your therapist’s approach to make sense to you and fit in with your goals and desires for counseling.

3. Availability, Location, and Scheduling

You may worry about your busy schedule and wonder how you will make time for counseling. You may have demands on your schedule with work, family, and other appointments. How will you ever keep up with your therapy appointments when you don’t even have time for your life now?

When you can have consistency in your counseling appointments, you will likely have better treatment outcomes. With that in mind, it is important to match your availability, location, and scheduling needs with those of the therapist. When you take the time to discuss your scheduling needs with your therapist, then you can find a counselor whose schedule will 

When do you want to schedule your counseling appointments?

Make sure that the counselor’s hours match the times when you would like to have your appointments. You may want to consider these questions when looking for a therapist:

  • Do you work? If so, do you have flexibility in your work schedule to accommodate a daytime appointment?
  • Do you prefer evening or weekend appointments?
  • Do you prefer to have sessions every week?

In-person appointments or telehealth sessions?

You may have likely heard the buzz about telehealth sessions. You may have even had a few of them. But what if you prefer an in-person session?

If you prefer to have in-person appointments, then the counselor’s office location is very important for you to consider. Going to counseling can be very stressful by itself. A stressful commute to an office can make it even more difficult for you.

Pay attention to the office location so that you can select a counselor who has an office conveniently located for you. You should also consider the drive time to and from the office as well as parking availability.

If you choose telehealth sessions, make sure that you have a secured location for your session. If you choose to have your session while you are at work, find a private location where no one will interrupt you. If you are at home, make sure that you have privacy for your session and let your family know to not disturb you.

4. Insurance and Payment Options

If the question you dread is “How much will counseling cost me?”, then you are not alone. It is important to learn about the costs associated with your counseling sessions. Having a clear understanding of how much counseling will cost you will help you to plan for your sessions. You may have some important decisions to make regarding how to pay for your therapy appointments.

Will my insurance cover my counselor?

Do you plan to use insurance for your counseling sessions? If so, you would want to find a counselor who is in network with your insurance plan. You can ask the therapist and also ask your insurance company to verify if they cover the counselor would like to see.

If the counselor does not take your insurance you may have the option of using your out of network benefits. Out of network benefits apply to providers who are not within your insurance network. If you plan to use out of network benefits, then you want to ask the counselor if they will provide you with an invoice to submit to your insurance company. This invoice is what will help you to get reimbursed for the session.

It is then important for you to call your insurance company and ask about your mental health coverage and benefits. You want to ask them about your deductible and any copayment you will have for your sessions. If you use out of network benefits, you should ask the same questions, referring specifically to out of network providers.

If you do not use your insurance benefits, then it is important to discuss with the therapist the fees for counseling sessions. You can inquire about any sliding scale arrangements they may offer.

5. Confidentiality

When you find a therapist you want to feel safe and comfortable in knowing that your privacy is protected. A safe and confidential space is an essential part of your counseling journey. This confidential space will help to build the foundation of your relationship with your therapist.

You can ask your counselor about how they work to protect your confidentiality in the community. You might feel more comfortable when you understand how this counselor adheres to confidentiality and ethical guidelines.

Free Consultation to Help You Get Started on Your Path For Change

I hope that I have provided you with some guidance to begin your path down finding a therapist in Dunedin, FL. I know that choosing the right counselor can be a stressful and difficult first step on your journey for mental and emotional well-being.

If you are looking for counseling for anxiety, please feel free to contact me at 727-479-6041, email me at Sara@PathForChange.com, or contact me here.

I can help you to find relief from your anxiety, the inner peace you desire, and learn how to slow down those worrisome thoughts that seem to invade your mind.


Dunedin, Florida