Step 1: Identifying therapists to work with

Who to look for:

If you’re looking for a quality therapist, look for a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist.

  • The words ‘counselor’ and ‘therapist' are used liberally in India and there is no effective licensing system. So irrespective of their title, it is important to look into their training and experience in practicing therapy.
  • Many Indians go to a psychiatrist first, who is primarily a doctor and not a therapist. They either immediately give them medication (which may not be required or desirable) or do therapy (which they may not be trained to practice). So don’t start with going to a psychiatrist, unless you’re suffering from a specific mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia where medication is critical.
  • If you know what you’re looking for, you can target your search further. For example, you may look for therapists who follow a certain approach to therapy.

 

Where to look:

Getting references from trusted sources is the best way to find a therapist. If its difficult to tell people its for yourself, its okay to say that you’re helping a friend or family member find one. You can ask:

  • People you know - trusted friends, family, colleagues, or others in your network
  • Psychiatrists, who are often associated with local hospitals, easier to find, and work with therapists
  • NGOs working on mental health in your city
  • Mental health helplines such as iCALL

There are few reliable secondary sources for trained and experienced therapists

  • Most third-party online databases (like Practo) often list unverified or poorly trained therapists
  • Several online counseling platforms have their own network of therapists, such as SeekSpark. However many online platforms employ professionals with low levels of training, so look out for that.

 

Click here to access crowdsourced lists of therapists as well as some well-known and vetted centers for therapy.