Mental Health is Important: Tips to Finding a Therapist

Berkeley can be a tough school; and with grinding academics, a vigorous social sphere, and other stress-inducing activities it is so important to take care of your mental health. There are many ways to tend to your needs, but one thing that has worked really well for me is therapy.

Before anything else, it is really important that you understand everyone can benefit from therapy. This means you must debunk any preconceived notions of therapy as something for “mentally ill” people. Therapy comes in all forms and is meant to target and help whoever is attending it. If I had it my way, every person in the world would be able to access free therapy.

To speak a little on my experience: I found myself falling into a state void of motivation, plagued with anxiety, and uncertain about how to feel like myself. After months of searching, I finally found a therapist, and every aspect of my life has benefitted! I’ve gained the motivation I had before COVID-19 back, built stronger relationships with those around me, and felt the happiest I have since the start of the pandemic! 

Now, I feel it is my mission to let you in on some not-so-secret secrets about therapy. 

  • Search for a therapist on Psychology Today. Psychology Today is a website with a therapist navigator system! There you can filter your search to find the perfect therapist for you! 
  • Finding the Right Therapist. If you’re using Psychology Today, you can filter the therapists you see! I would recommend first selecting your insurance, then focusing on other aspects such as focus or gender. I personally knew I wanted a female therapist who focused on anxiety, so I applied those filters!
  • Tell them you go to UC Berkeley. A lot of therapists have a soft spot for Cal students, so when you reach out to them, make sure to tell them where you go to school! My therapist said she made a special opening for me because she saw I was a Cal student.
  • Reach out to at least 10 therapists. This may sound like overkill, but therapists are very busy and are always adding and dropping clients from their schedules. If you really want to get an appointment, you’ll have better contacting multiple therapists.
  • Think about what you want from therapy. It is really important to have an idea of what you hope to gain from therapy. Maybe you’re like me and are trying to reduce your anxiety, or maybe you just want someone to vent to. When contacting a therapist, you’ll want to give them a heads up of what you seek to gain, so they can give you the best care possible!
  • Finally, know that it may not work out the first time, or second time, or third time. Finding the right therapist can take a long time. You want to be with someone who you can trust, can help you with your needs, and that you feel comfortable around. It’s not uncommon for people to try a therapist for a couple of weeks before realizing it isn’t for them. 

As a few final words, I hope that you feel more comfortable seeking help through therapy. It can be a daunting process, but I promise you it will be very worth it in the end. Additionally, along with these tips, you can seek advice from the Tang Center where they will also provide you a list of therapists and tips. You can call the center at (510) 642-2000.

Allie Dunham

Author: Allie Dunham

Hi I'm Allie! I'm a 3rd year studying Anthropology and double minoring in Public Policy and Global Studies. Though I'm originally from a small town in Northern California (Coffee Creek), I now live in Berkeley. On campus, I'm involved in a professional cinematic arts fraternity (DKA), I'm an undergraduate student researcher at UCSF, teach a DeCal, and am in the Anthropology Undergraduate Association (AUA).