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  • Youth Mental Health Association

Finding A Therapist Who "Fits"

As someone with several mental health diagnoses, I’ve had the opportunity to attend therapy and try different medications for my conditions.

I’m here to tell you about my experience with therapy, specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Disclaimer, I’ve only been doing CBT for a handful of sessions but have done other types of therapy before.

Finding a Therapist Who Fits

Finding a therapist or mental health practitioner can be the most difficult task. You want someone who you can trust and feel comfortable with. They should “click” with you. When you begin this journey, your first few tries might feel frustrating and futile.

If you are struggling with a mental illness, this effort might feel extra draining and worthless. I’ve been there. It feels exhausting. It’s okay to take a break from looking and recharge yourself. However, try not to give up before finding the right one! You can try asking family or friends for recommendations.

Psychology Today provides a directory with therapists and psychologists in your area. This tool has helped many people find someone who works for their lifestyle, needs, and values.


One of the biggest deterrents to mental health services is the cost. Since psychological services are not usually covered by provincial health care, it is often reimbursed through private insurance companies or your post-secondary institution.

Psychiatrists (medical doctors who have the authority to prescribe) are sometimes covered under health insurance if your family doctor places a referral. Try communicating with your primary care provider to get suggestions on local services and if you’re eligible for a referral. Personally, this was how I approached my situation and it ended up working out!

Fortunately, there are many other ways to decrease the cost of your sessions! However, this does not necessarily mean free.

A lot of practices usually host interns or students! They are usually very eager to learn and talk with you. Costs with interns are usually quite a bit lower than accredited practitioners. Try searching for student therapists and booking an initial consult.

Certain practices use a sliding-scale payment system where they assess each individual and their income in order to construct a realistic payment plan.

Other practices include a free consultation and require payments for future sessions.

If you are unable to sustain a relationship with a private practice therapist, there are free or other low-cost solutions as well!

Online Therapy Start-Ups


Peer-to-Peer Support


Phone Hotlines

Kids Help Phone



Bounce Back Ontario

Crisis Services Canada, at 1-833-456-4566

If none of these options suit your needs, there are also plenty of self-help books and virtual modules to guide you through helpful coping mechanisms.

I am using Mind Over Mood in conjunction with my CBT sessions. This book has been used by individuals who wanted to teach themselves CBT as well! You can purchase an ebook copy for $10-$20!

Anxiety Canada is a helpful resource to learn about anxiety and general coping mechanisms that can be used in your daily life. The website also provides worksheets and other documents to reinforce your learning.

MacAnxiety is a research group at McMaster University, and their website provides evidence-based research and resources. Here is a list of different mental health apps, categorized into specific disorders.

With love,

Anna-Lisa Nguyen

YMHA Director

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