Hiring a Psychologist in Santa Monica – What You Need To Know

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Covid-19 led to an increase in adverse mental health conditions — so much so that 1 in 5 Americans were estimated to suffer from at least one mental health issue in 2020.

With even more people seeking the help of licensed mental health experts to deal with prolonged isolation, heartbreaks, political and economical uncertainty and racial issues and more this year— mental health professionals are in high demand, and it will likely take some time and effort to find the right psychologist or licensed therapist with an opening, within your budget and experience treating your particular issues.

On the other hand, it may just be the best time to see a therapist for the first time — thanks to the movements to normalize seeking help for mental health conditions in the last few years and online counselling sessions that make it easy to avail those services in the privacy and comfort of your home.

As the kind of psychologist you choose and how you connect with them can influence your growth, we wrote this guide to help you figure out how to find the right psychologist in Santa Monica, including where to look for them and how much they cost.

How to Find a Psychologist in Santa Monica

Before you can pick the right therapist or psychologist for yourself, you need to narrow down on your options. There are several ways to look for psychologists and therapists that you can trust:

  • Ask Your Doctor for Recommendations:If you have a regular doctor or professional health care practitioner, you can ask them for recommendations. Make sure to do your own research on the psychologist’s experience and area of specialization, which ranges from neuropsychology to child psychology, before choosing one.
  • Seek a Referral from Your Trusted Friends: Although it’s possible that your friend’s therapist might not be able to take you on without complicating their preexisting therapeutic relationship with your friend — they should be able to refer you to equally good psychologists they trust.

Just like the rest of us, therapists too hang out with like-minded people — and it’s likely that the person they recommend will have similar world views as them. In that way, your friend and their therapist can be great resources for finding a psychologist you’ll click with.

  • Google Search: Using google search queries such as “psychologist near me” or “therapists in Santa Monica” can help you find professionals in your area. It’s likely that you will see directories of psychologists that you can make a pick from. We recommend being wary of hiring a psychologist merely on this basis. Make sure to get a better understanding of their expertise, patient satisfaction reviews and credentials before proceeding.
  • Insurance Provider’s Directory: If you have a health care plan that covers visits to a mental health professional’s office, their directory of approved clinics can be a great starting point.

What Type of Counseling Does a Psychologist Provide?

While you look for a psychologist in Santa Monica that you can connect with, don’t forget to get a better understanding of the kind of services they offer.

Depending on the psychologist, they may specialize in one-to-one sessions or group sessions (such as ones that treat substance abuse problems).Here are the types of services a licensed psychologist typically provides:

  • Personal Counseling or Individual Therapy, where the psychologist works one on one with patients to cater to their individual mental health conditions or emotional issues. If you are thinking of suicide and struggle with depression and anxiety, you should go see a therapist for a personal session as soon as possible.
  • Couples Counseling or Couples Therapy, where couples work with a psychologist to resolve issues and improve their relationship. If you are looking for ways to reconnect with your partner or deal with intimacy issues, this is recommended.
  • Family Therapy Sessions or Family Counseling , which involves working with a psychologist to set family issues and profound long-term solutions to dynamic improvement. These sessions usually vary from a small group of family to a bigger unit of extended families.
  • Group Counseling or Group Therapy, where a group of people who share common goals, work with the psychologist to foster love, support, and understanding among members. This is an ideal option for those seeking support groups for substance abuse or domestic abuse, for instance.
  • Psychological Assessment, where the psychologist provides intelligent tests, personality assessment, and other related psychological tests for mental health clarification. If you suspect that you suffer from a mental health issue such as depression, OCD or anxiety — you will need to undergo a psychological assessment before an official diagnosis can be made.
  • Psychological Consultancy for corporate service involving employee assistance packages for stress management, emotional issues, grief, and mental health.

If you’re dealing with a lot of work-related stress, your employer may provide a session for psychological consultancy. Be sure to check with your HR Manager for more details about your company policy on mental health.

How To Choose a Psychologist in Santa Monica

You need to make the call for the psychologist you wish to work with long-term once you have narrowed your search for psychologists or therapists in Santa Monica. The choice of a psychologist or therapist can largely influence your growth and recovery — so we recommend spending some time choosing the right fit for yourself.Here are some ways to decide:

Check Their Credentials

The term “Counselor” or “Therapist” can apply to people holding licenses such as LMFT, LCSW, psychologist, etc. If you’re looking to work with a professional psychologist who is is qualified to make psychological assessments, they need to be certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). Mental health therapists who are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), couples therapy, EMDR, anxiety, depression, etc, need to be either certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology or licensed with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).Be sure to also check their area of specialization. Not every therapist is equally fit to treat all mental health conditions — so asking about the specialization really helps to make sure you get the best care for yourself. For example, you might be interested in therapy for trauma, anxiety, depression, or relationship issues so you should ask your therapist or psychologist about their specific experience in your concerns.

You can verify their credentials, disciplinary history, and certification on ABPP website or the BBS website.

Consider Their Experience Level

When it comes to handling mental health issues, you need someone with experience.

A psychologist or licensed therapist with training and experience in treating similar patients may help you get on the path of recovery more quickly and help you manage those issues more effectively.

Things you want to consider:

  • What year they registered with the ABPP or BBS
  • How many years they have been working with patients similar to you
  • If they have a specialization certificate for the issues you need help with.

Consider Gender

You need to be comfortable with the psychologist of your choice because your counseling section will require that you open up about your issues and vulnerabilities.

Oftentimes, people may prefer speaking to someone of their own gender or sometimes they prefer someone of a different gender. There are also psychologists who cater more to a particular gender than the other and who specialize in transgender and non-binary clients. Be sure to consider your preferences before you choose one.

Consider Patient Satisfaction Reviews

Reading reviews from past clients can provide an insight into what you should expect from using their service. Patient satisfaction surveys usually ask for patients’ reviews of their experience in different service areas like wait time, appointment scheduling, environmental condition, and staff hospitality.

This may give you a better understanding of how patients rate the psychologist, how well the patient’s issues were attended, and how long they spent with patients. Those reviews may also help you unearth if they have a history of client mismanagement or an unruly behavioral attitude.

Speak to Them on the Phone

Although not all psychologists do a short phone consultation before the first session, just taking note of your comfort level while booking an appointment can give you a lot of insight. Did they seem impatient? Were you comfortable speaking to the person on the other side of the phone? Did you feel attended to and cozy? Don’t worry about your psychologist’s feelings in this regard — you don’t want to see someone who you don’t like. Feeling accepted, safe, and understood are imperative to creating a context in which to heal so trust your gut.

Consider Booking a First Appointment and Deciding Later

It may not be such a bad idea to make a first appointment with the psychologists you have narrowed down to, and decide after. During your first meeting with a psychologist, notice their response and communication style.

Did they answer your questions effectively? Were they welcoming enough? How did they respond to your questions? If you are a person of color, you may also want to ask them questions about their understanding of cultural and racial issues. The first session should be about you discovering the therapist just as much as it is about them exploring your issues. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable in your choice of a psychologist.

How Much Does a Psychologist Cost in Santa Monica?

When it comes to the cost of a psychologist, there’s no one size fits all. In other words, costs vary. Psychologists in most cities charge between $75-$150 for a 45 minutes session, with rates in expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles going up to $250-500 per session, although you can find sliding scale or discounted services in these cities if you have financial need.

Most insurance plans need to cover mental health care to some degree (as per the Affordable Care Act) — so it’s likely that the parts of the session fee may be covered by your insurance. Co-pay amounts are usually between a few dollars and $50. It can be difficult to find a high quality provider in-network, so if you have the means it’s advisable to seek an out-of-network psychologist or therapist. If you have a PPO insurance plan, you may receive some reimbursement for these services. According to many therapists, sliding scale services are usually a better option for those with financial concerns than using in-network providers.

Here are the standard rates for therapy services in the US:

Types of Therapy

Average Cost Per Session Without Health Insurance

Individual Therapy

$70 — $150

Group Therapy

$30 — $80

Couples Therapy

$70 — $250

Marriage Counseling

$70 — $250

Depression Therapy

$100 — $250

Sex Therapy

$100 — $200

Art Therapy

Free — $100

Grief Counseling

$70 — $150

Anger Management

$50 — $150

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

$100 — $200

My LA Therapy’s Pricing for Therapy Sessions in Santa Monica

My LA Therapy deeply cares about its mission to help people find more freedom, joy and clarity in their lives and strives to offer a range of mental health services under one roof. In an effort to make therapeutic help more accessible to people in Santa Monica who really need therapy but do not have the financial means to afford it — we offer impact services which range between $0-50.

For regular therapy sessions, we can either match you with a masters-level associate therapist or a licensed therapist or psychologist. We charge $75-$175 for sessions with associate therapists holding masters’ degrees, and $200-$300 for sessions with a licensed therapist or psychologist. Please note that you may be covered by your health insurance for sessions with our therapists, so regular session costs may not reflect what you will actually pay. Be sure to check with your insurance provider for more details.

Looking for reliable licensed therapists near you? Let My LA Therapy’s dynamic team of therapists help.

Book A Session

The mental health recovery process requires a few steps along the way. Psychologists and therapists work with each patient to create objectives and set up the perfect counseling model.

Our customized counseling plan includes (but is not limited to): individual sessions, group sessions, corporate sessions, or one activity. Give us a call or contact us to make a booking today.

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