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7860 Mission Center Ct, Suite 209
San Diego, CA, 92108


At The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, our psychologists have years of experience. Unlike many other providers, our clinicians truly specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and related problems. Our mission is to apply only the most effective short-term psychological treatments supported by extensive scientific research. We are located in Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, and Mission Valley.

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Read our award-winning blogs for useful information and tips about anxiety, stress, and related disorders.


Filtering by Tag: Tips for finding a therapist

Finding the Right Therapist for You

Jill Stoddard

by Annabelle Parr

Therapy can be incredibly helpful and healing in the midst of struggle, but it’s not “one size fits all” and sometimes it can be challenging to find the right fit. If you have tried therapy before and been frustrated by a lack of progress, it’s possible you haven’t found the right therapist for you. Having some knowledge about therapy and the different options available can help when you are seeking out help.

What do therapists do?

A therapist’s role is to provide you with empathy, help you learn healthy coping methods and give you tools to manage your emotions constructively. They are there to help you connect with your personal values and get in touch with your own internal strength, while offering you compassionate support and understanding along the way. They are like “training wheels” to help you learn to engage in life in a new way.


What don’t therapists do?

They are not there to pass judgement, minimize your feelings, or offer you advice. No advice means that they are not there to make decisions for you, such as whether or not to stay in a relationship or a job; they can, however, assign you homework to help you make progress and teach you coping mechanisms.

If you ever feel judged or like your therapist is minimizing your feelings, discuss this with them. This will allow you to discern whether you misunderstood their message or whether maybe they are not the best fit for you. It is important to talk with your therapist about the therapeutic process itself, especially if something feels off.


Note: therapy can be helpful and it can be hard.

Therapy is challenging. It requires active work on the part of the client and it requires facing uncomfortable and painful emotions, and likely making difficult changes. As James Hollis (1998) notes, “no one enters the therapist’s office whose adaptive strategies are still working.” So sometimes, clients may feel worse before they feel better because change is inherently uncomfortable. This kind of “feeling worse” is a vital part of the growth process, not a further descent into the same struggle that brought you into the office.

If it feels like you have tried various therapies or therapists, and have not progressed despite your commitment to finding help and engaging in the therapeutic process, you may not have found the right therapist yet. Here are some things to look for when seeking therapy.

  1. Connection with the therapist. Therapy requires that you let another person in on your innermost thoughts and feelings. This is not an easy thing to do, so it is important that you feel comfortable with the person you choose. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship itself is the most important aspect of therapy – accounting for about 30% of the variance in treatment outcome, which is more than any other factor including the technique the therapist uses. So make sure that the therapist you choose to see is someone you trust and whom you are willing to talk to. If it doesn’t feel like the right fit, it probably won’t be.
  2. The therapist’s areas of expertise. While the relationship is the most important piece of therapy, specialization and technique are still very important pieces of the puzzle. When looking for a therapist, make sure to search for someone who has experience working with individuals dealing with your particular concerns. Otherwise, you may end up wasting time and money working with someone who might not conduct a proper assessment, or who does not have experience working with your particular issue. Ask them about their experience working with others who have concerns similar to yours, including the techniques they use and the degree of progress and healing that they typically see in their clients.
  3. Evidence based treatments. There are lots of different treatment options out there; a good place to start is searching for a therapist with true training in modalities that are supported by solid research (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Ask questions about their training and choice treatment modalities, what a typical session will look like, how your individual needs will be addressed, whether you will receive homework, what will be required of you in the process, how your progress will be evaluated, and what steps will your therapist take if they find that your progress has prematurely plateaued.

If you are struggling and considering reaching out for help, this knowledge can help you navigate choosing a therapist and can help you recognize sooner rather than later if it’s not the right fit. If you have tried therapy before and have been frustrated by a lack of progress, you are not alone. Remember, effective help is available when you know what to look for.


If you or someone you love might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), or biofeedback for anxiety, depression, stress, or PTSD, or if you would like more information about our therapy services, please contact us at (858) 354-4077 or at


Hollis, J. (1998). The eden project: In search of the magical other. Toronto, ON: Inner City Books.

Tips for Finding an Affordable Therapist

Jill Stoddard

by Lauren Helm and Lucas Myers    

Are you thinking about beginning therapy? This can be an excellent step forward in creating the life that you want, but sometimes financial strain may act as a barrier to receiving the treatment that is right for you. Despite the potential challenges that you may encounter, read on for some helpful tips about how to find a therapist that you would like to work with and can afford to see.  

  • Make sure that you are aware of your mindset while you are researching the available therapists in your area. While cost may be a major determining factor in your decision-making process, try to keep in mind that it may be better to commit to treatment with a therapist whom you feel comfortable with and is skilled in what they do. You may want to consider seeing a therapist that offers evidence-based treatments (EBTs), which are psychological treatments that have been found to be effective in treating a particular type of disorder. This may reduce the risk of spending time and money on ineffective therapy.  EBTs are often shorter-term treatments and thus the overall investment may be lower than you initially anticipated.
  • It might be beneficial to think about whether a therapist’s level of training and expertise with a certain type of disorder or treatment is important to you. A therapist who is an expert in a particular type of evidence-based treatment may provide therapy for a higher fee, but also may offer you more skillfully-delivered treatment. However, there are also many graduate-level therapists who provide therapy under the supervision of experienced, licensed psychologists and offer low fees.
  • Regardless, it is likely more helpful (and cost-effective) to make your psychological health a priority. A therapist can help you to reduce distress that may be leading to problems with work, relationships, and physical health.

  Here are a few more tips for selecting an affordable therapist: 

  • Before your first appointment, ask your therapist about their fee.
  • Discuss whether you are planning to use insurance and how that will be handled.
  • If needed, ask if you qualify for a sliding scale.  If they seem like an otherwise perfect fit but you cannot afford their fee don't be afraid to say so.
  • Ask if the therapist might be willing to see you on an every-other-week basis.  The overall cost of your treatment will remain the same, but twice monthly visits may be easier to fit into your budget than weekly visits.
  • If they can't meet your budget, ask for a referral. They likely know someone that has a similar style and approach who may have a more flexible fee.
  • If you don't have insurance, or have chosen not to use it, consider seeing an intern at a clinic. Although they are still relatively less experienced, many interns have years of excellent education. The best part about working with an intern is that you get their expertise, as well as that of the supervisor with whom they are working. Many cities or colleges have training institutes with interns on staff that can accept very low rates.


Remember, the time and money that is spent on therapy is an investment, and requires wise decision-making. Therapy is an important investment and may be a significant and cost-worthy step towards enhancing your health and well-being.  




If you'd like to speak with a therapist at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, please click here.

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