How to Find a Great Therapist in Toronto: The Ultimate Guide

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Published Date|
January 30, 2024

How to Find a Great Therapist in Toronto: The Ultimate Guide

One of the great things about Toronto is how much access you have to high-quality therapists. 

There are tons of therapy offices in convenient locations across the city, and virtual therapy options allow you to see therapists from across the GTA.

But with all of these options comes an overwhelming question - how do you choose a therapist who will be the right fit for you?

Here at KMA Therapy, we know you want to find a great therapist who meets your needs. Deciding to start therapy is a big investment of your time, money, and energy - and you want to make sure you’re not wasting any of it.

We’ve created this Ultimate Guide to Find a Therapist in Toronto to help you find a great therapist who works for your budget, needs, and goals.

After reading this article, you’ll know which criteria to consider when choosing a therapist, where to look for therapists, how to reach out to your therapist for the first time, and how to prepare for your first therapy session.

4 Criteria for Choosing a Toronto Therapist

When beginning your search for a therapist, these are four things you need to consider.

choosing a therapist toronto

1. How Will You Pay for Therapy?

The method you choose to pay for therapy can impact your budget - if you have insurance coverage, you may be interested in looking at therapists in a more expensive price range.

If you’re paying out-of-pocket, you may look for lower cost options, including practices that offer sliding-scale fees. (Sliding-scale rates mean that your therapist will charge you less depending on what you’re able to pay or based on your income.) Some therapy practices can also offer lower rates by offering services from supervised therapy students.

Therapy in Ontario typically ranges from $50 - $300 per session, with some practices offering lower costs through sliding-scale fees.

When creating your therapy budget, keep in mind that paying more for therapy won’t guarantee better therapy services. Many lower-cost therapy options are just as effective and can help you as much as higher cost options.

Factors that impact the cost of your therapy session include:

  • Whether you’re doing virtual or in-person therapy
  • Where your therapist’s office is located
  • Your therapist’s administrative costs

If your therapist is highly qualified or offers a rare speciality, you may end up paying more for their unique skills, but don’t be discouraged if you have a lower budget for therapy.

There are many amazing therapists who offer services at a lower price range.

It all depends on what works best for you financially, and what you value the most when seeing a therapist.

2. What type of therapist do you want to see?

The most common types of therapists in Toronto are social workers, psychotherapists, and psychologists.

Regardless of what type of therapist you see, ensure that they’re registered with their respective college. Only registered mental health professionals are eligible to offer therapy services - be on the lookout for life coaches or healers who claim to offer therapy without the proper training.

When choosing a type of therapist, consider:

  • If you want to take medication
  • If you want an official diagnosis
  • What type of therapy your insurance covers

what type of therapist should i see

Registered social workers have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Social Work and are registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

They can assess and treat the problems you’re experiencing through therapy, but they are not able to give you a diagnosis or prescribe medication.

Registered psychotherapists have a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology or an equivalent field (like Global Mental Health.) They are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Like social workers, they can assess and treat through the therapy process, but are unable to give you a diagnosis or prescribe medication.

Psychologists have received a PhD or PsyD and are registered with the The College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Psychologists can use psychological tests and interviews to give you an official diagnosis. They are also able to assess and treat issues you’re experiencing through therapy.

If you’re interested in taking medication, you need to see a psychiatrist. Many people see a therapist and a psychiatrist at the same time to receive the combined benefits of talk therapy and medication.

Learn more by reading What’s the Difference Between Social Workers, Psychotherapists, and Psychologists?

3. What types of therapy are you interested in?

There are a lot of different types of therapy, and you don’t need to know what you want right away. Still, exploring different therapy options can help you learn more about what competencies you want your therapist to have.

Don’t worry if nothing jumps out to you - your therapist can help you choose what’s best for you.

Here are three common types of therapy you’ll come across in your research:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works by helping you to gain control over the thoughts and feelings you have daily.


If you normally have negative thought patterns, CBT can help you rewire this into more positive cognitions.


It can be a great choice if you enjoy having tangible goals, are interested in gaining and applying new skills to your life, and have specific behaviors or feelings you’d like to change.


2. Existential Therapy


Existential Therapy investigates your values and sense of self. It challenges you to explore ways to live a more meaningful life.


It’s a relationship-driven form of therapy that focuses on how your personal choices impact your life.


It can be a great choice for you if you’re seeking to find meaning in life, looking to find a greater sense of self, or are experiencing anxiety related to death.


3. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy emphasizes how your past experiences can impact your present life.


It can help you resolve difficult emotions from past experiences, like healing from hard relationships or overcoming traumatic experiences.


It may be a great choice for you if you have a lot of unresolved feelings about past situations and are looking to understand more about how your past could be influencing your current behaviors.


Explore our Therapies page if you’re interested in learning more about the different types of therapy available to you.

4. What other qualities do you want in a therapist?

Knowing what kind of specialty your therapist has is an important part of the equation - but it’s not the only thing you should consider.

One of the best parts about Toronto is that there are a wide range of therapies with different cultural backgrounds and lived experiences.

You might be interested in seeing someone who is the same race or religion as you - or you might not have a preference!

Be mindful of what you want when choosing a therapist, and don’t settle for someone who doesn’t check all of your boxes.

It’s okay if you don’t like the first therapist you see - it doesn’t mean therapy isn’t for you.

If you don’t like your therapist, explore what it was that you disliked, and look for a new therapist with qualities that are better aligned with what works for you.

Where to Find a Therapist in Toronto

After you have a list of what you’re looking for, it’s time to begin the search.

Here are three great places to start looking for a therapist.

1. Psychology Today

Psychology Today is a great place to begin your search.

psychology today toronto

Their platform allows you to look for therapists in your location and offers you a short profile on therapists near you.

On Psychology Today, you can also filter results by:

  • Age
  • Issues
  • Gender
  • Insurance
  • Price range
  • Types of therapy offered

This can offer you a list of therapists with the exact qualities you’re looking for.

2. Explore agencies covered by your insurance

If you’re looking to use your workplace benefits to pay for therapy, it’s important to check which providers they cover.

Many larger insurance providers will cover “psychological services” from most therapists, so while it’s still important to double check with your therapist, it’s likely that the therapists you come across will take your insurance.

However, your insurance coverage may have a specific network of therapists that you’re able to see.

You can search their databases to find a therapist who meets your needs and is covered by your insurance package.

3. Ask for a recommendation

Whether you’re asking a doctor or a friend, don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation.

Asking someone you trust for a recommendation is a great way to get a list of high-quality therapists near you.

While it’s likely a conflict of interest to see the exact same therapist as a close friend or family member, if they’re seeing a therapist from a larger practice, seeing another therapist there can be a great choice.

You can also ask your doctor for a recommendation or referral (which can be especially important if you’re looking to see a psychiatrist or psychologist.)

Other websites, like Reddit, can offer transparent reviews about people’s therapy experiences and help you get a better understanding of the positives and negatives of different therapy practices.

Reaching Out to a Therapist in Toronto

After you’ve created a list of therapists you’re interested in, it’s time to start reaching out.

It can feel intimidating to reach out to a therapist for the first time, but you’re not alone - therapy offices know it can feel overwhelming for you to reach out, so they’re experts at making you feel comfortable and heard.

There are a few different ways to reach out to a therapist, including:

  • Filling out their online registration forms
  • Booking an appointment directly
  • Phoning their office
  • Sending an email

Learn more about reaching out to a therapist for the first time by reading How to Reach out to a Therapist in Toronto.

Preparing for Your First Therapy Session

After you’ve booked your first therapy session, you’re almost ready to go!

It’s normal to feel nervous when going to therapy for the first time. It can be helpful to write down a list of questions you want to ask or topics you want to talk about to help you feel more prepared.

While your therapist will ask you a lot of questions during your first session, remember that it’s okay to ask them questions, too!

While they’re the expert in therapy, you’re the expert on you. If they don’t feel like someone you can work with, it’s okay to start over with someone new.

Some feelings of discomfort are normal (and they’re often a healthy part of the therapy process!) Still, your therapist should be someone you feel like you can trust and you feel comfortable talking to.

Next Steps for Starting Therapy in Toronto

After reading this article, you know how to narrow down your search for a great therapist in Toronto, and how to start therapy once you’ve found the one you want to see.

Here at KMA Therapy, we’re passionate about helping you find the right therapist for you - whether you meet with someone on our team or at another fantastic therapy practice in Toronto. For over 15 years, we’ve been helping our clients and community access the resources they need to have the best therapy experience possible.

At KMA Therapy, our therapy sessions are $245 per 50-minute session. We offer a wide range of therapies, including sex therapy, EMDR, and existential therapy. Learn more by exploring our Therapies page.

We offer therapy through registered psychotherapists and social workers. Explore our Teams Page to meet our team of therapists!

If you’d like more information, fill out our Registration Form to get in touch with our admin team.

If you’re ready for your first appointment, you can book it here.

If you’d prefer to keep reading, we’ve chosen these articles to help you learn more:

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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