How do I Get a Therapist/Psychiatrist? I’m 16.: A Guide for Teens and Parents

How to Find the Right Therapist or Psychiatrist

The challenges facing teenagers today are complex and they grow up with speed. Emotions, academic pressures, and social dynamics can overwhelm teens, leaving them in a position where they need the help of a professional. This guide aims to provide valuable tips for teenagers and parents about how to find the perfect therapist or psychiatrist for a 16-year-old.

Understanding the Need

Recognizing the Signs

It’s important to be aware of warning signs before setting out to find a therapist or psychiatrist. Signs of depression in children can encompass enduring sadness, excessive worry, notable changes in behavior, poor academic performance, or a loss of friends.

Differentiating Between Therapists and Psychiatrists

The Role of a Therapist

Therapists, sometimes called counselors or psychotherapists, focus on “talk” therapy. They assist people in examining their thoughts, emotions, and actions in order to promote self-improvement and emotional health.

The Role of a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has the ability to offer therapy as well as being able to prescribe medication if they feel it’s needed. They frequently collaborate with people with higher acuity of mental health conditions.

Seeking Recommendations

Talk to Your School Counselor

Your school counselor can be an excellent resource to start with. They have insights into local mental health professionals and can provide recommendations tailored to your needs.

Asking Friends and Family

Speaking to friends or family members who have sought therapy for their children can yield valuable recommendations and personal experiences.

Researching Online

Utilizing Online Directories

Websites and directories dedicated to mental health professionals, such as Psychology Today and GoodTherapy, allow you to search for therapists and psychiatrists based on your location, insurance, and specific concerns.

Reading Reviews and Testimonials

Online platforms often provide reviews and testimonials from previous clients, giving you an idea of a therapist’s or psychiatrist’s reputation and effectiveness.

Insurance Coverage and Financial Considerations

Checking Insurance Benefits

It’s important to know your insurance coverage and any possible costs when you are choosing a mental health provider. Reach out to your insurance company for a directory of providers who are in-network.

Initial Consultations

The Importance of the First Meeting

An initial consultation allows you to assess whether you feel comfortable and understood by the therapist or psychiatrist. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions about their approach and experience.

Questions to Ask

Prepare a list of questions to ask during the consultation, such as their treatment philosophy, experience with teen clients, and what you can expect from the therapy process.

Confidentiality and Trust

Understanding Confidentiality

Discuss the therapist’s or psychiatrist’s policies on confidentiality and how information will be shared with parents. Trust is essential in therapy.

Commitment and Consistency

The Role of Consistency

Regular attendance and commitment to the therapeutic process are vital for positive outcomes. Understand the time and effort required for therapy to be effective.

Communication with Parents

Keeping Parents Informed

Maintaining open lines of communication with parents or guardians is essential. Discuss the therapy progress, concerns, and any adjustments needed.

Evaluating Progress

Tracking Your Progress

Periodically assess your progress and discuss it with your therapist or psychiatrist. Adjustments to treatment plans may be necessary.


Looking for the right therapist or psychiatrist for a 16-year-old is a very important path to improve mental health. It takes research, it takes communication, it takes trust. Keep in mind that going to a professional is a strong and mature decision that can really help a teen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is therapy confidential for teenagers?

Ans: Therapy is very private, but there are times a therapist might have to include parents, especially with safety issues.

Q2. What’s the normal duration for therapy with teenagers?

Ans: The length of therapy is different for everyone, based on what they need and want. Counseling, in the short term for some teenagers and longer term for others, may be beneficial.

Q3. What if I’m not at ease with my therapist?

Ans: You should talk to your therapist about what’s on your mind. If you’re still not at ease, you can always look for another therapist that fits you better.

Q4. Can I select a therapist by gender?

Ans: Yes, typically you can select the gender of your therapist. You’ll have to trust your coach.

Q5. I am 16, do I require my parent’s consent for therapy?

Ans: The age limit to seek therapy as a teenager without any parent’s consent, changes
by location. Consult local laws and regulations.

Q6. What Can I Do If I Can’t Afford Therapy?

Ans: Sliding scale therapy is frequently available if you need it. You can, too, avail yourself of school counseling services or support groups.

Q7. How Do I Know If Medication Is Necessary?

Ans: Medication—if necessary—can be determined by a psychiatrist. They will talk to you and your parents about the pros and cons.

Q8. Can I speak to core issues in therapy?

Ans: Absolutely. Therapy is a place where you can talk about anything and everything that is bothering you.

Q9. But what if there are things I don’t want to share with my parents from in therapy?

Ans: Talk to your therapist about your worries regarding the privacy. They can detail what information is.

Q10. How can I tell if therapy is working for me?

Ans: You will usually notice changes in your emotional state, how you handle things, and just general feelings about yourself. Talk to your therapist about how you’re doing so you can see if things are getting better.