How to Find a Therapist in Toronto
Finding a therapist can feel like an epic search for a needle in a haystack. Maybe you’ve imagined an eccentric professor-type character with knick-knacks in their office, or an earthy bohemian type of person who practices out of an incense-scented office.
But how do you actually find this magical person? How do you find the right therapist in Toronto?
Working with KMA Therapy since 2008, I’ve witnessed and helped many clients in Toronto find just the right therapist who is a good match for their issues and personality.
This guide will give you everything you need to know about finding a therapist in Toronto and help you feel more empowered to take the next steps on your therapy journey.
To help answer this question, we’ll dive into:
- What are the different designations of therapists practicing in Toronto
- Which of these types of therapists do you need?
- Where exactly to go to find the therapist for you
By the end of this article, you’ll have a roadmap to finding the right therapist for you.
What types of therapists even practice in Toronto?
In Ontario (which includes Toronto), there are several different kinds of therapists.
Psychologists are licensed mental health professionals who have doctoral degrees in Psychology and are trained to diagnose and treat mental health concerns. Psychologists in Toronto can be found working in hospitals, clinics, and in private practices scattered across the city.
Psychotherapists are also licensed mental health professionals who generally have masters degrees in Psychology or counselling. Psychotherapists in Toronto can be found working in hospitals, clinics and in independent private practices throughout the city.
- Social Workers
Social workers are professionals who generally have masters degrees in Social Work. Social workers in Toronto can be found working in schools, shelters, agencies, hospitals, clinics and private practices in the city.
Although counselling isn’t a protected term in Ontario (technically anyone could call themselves a counsellor without repercussion), typically clinical or couples counsellors have an undergraduate degree in psychology and some post-graduate training in counselling.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with an additional 4 year residency in psychiatry, which involves not only giving you a diagnosis, but prescribing and overseeing the use of pharmaceutical drugs to aid in your recovery. Psychiatrists are less likely found in private practices and more often found in hospitals throughout the city.
Based on my needs, which of these types of therapists should I try to find?
You’re having issues in your relationship:
Toronto has many great therapists who work with relationship issues. The type of therapist you’ll likely want to search if you’re dealing with relationship issues is:
- A psychologist who specializes in relationship issues
- A psychotherapist who specializes in relationship issues
- A social worker who specializes in relationship issues
- A counsellor in who specializes in relationship issues
You’re experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms for the first time:
If you’re experiencing panic, anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms or insomnia, on of the following therapists are likely the right choice for you:
- A psychotherapist in private or group practice
- A psychologist in a private or group practice
These professionals are trained in the spectrum of mental health and can offer treatment quickly, in addition to being trained in interpersonal issues like relationships and family.
You have an addiction:
If you have an addiction, there are many great addiction programs in Toronto that offer free or low cost support. Some professionals in private practice also specialize in addiction and can work with you on a weekly basis - this could be:
- A psychotherapist in private practice who specializes in addictions
- A social worker in private practice who specializes in addictions
You need help with anger management:
Anger management therapy can be done in group or individual sessions, and there are lots of programs in Toronto. Any type of therapist can conduct productive anger management training, so the type of therapist isn’t important - it’s more about finding someone with a background in anger management. To recap, if you need help with anger management, you can seek any of the following who offers anger management counselling:
- Social Worker
You need help with self-esteem:
Self-esteem issues are often traced back to our childhood, so if you need someone to work with you on self esteem issues, the best choices are often:
You think you might have OCD or another diagnosis:
A psychologist is the best choice if you have an issue for which you want a diagnosis and treatment, but not necessarily medication. So if you would like a diagnosis, seek out:
- Psychotherapist who is supervised by a psychologist
You’re dealing with grief or loss:
We recommend finding one of these who has experience with bereavement:
- Social Workers
Now that I know what kind of therapist I need, where exactly should I look for a therapist in Toronto?
Find a therapist in your Toronto neighbourhood with Local Search:
Whether you live in King West, Parkdale, The Annex, or Roncesvalles, searching the type of therapist you need within your Toronto ‘hood can help narrow down your search. This is especially true if you want the convenience of walking to sessions or stopping in on your way home from work. Even if you do prefer online sessions, many people prefer choosing a therapist who’s close to home.
Review online directories like Psychology Today for Toronto therapists:
Online directories have thousands of therapists in Toronto to choose from. You can filter by area of expertise, location, gender, credentials and many more, so this option is great if you want to see absolutely every therapist the city has to offer.
Read blogs of specific issues you’re interested in and then see who wrote it:
From anger management, to trust issues, to intimacy, to anxiety, there’s likely an awesome Toronto therapist who writes about it. Sometimes reading an article written by someone can give us a sense of their personality and can help us know if they’re the right fit for us.
Find a community resource with local group or hospital programs:
Curated lists of programs in hospitals and community centres DO exist, even though they can be hard to find. Check out the City of Toronto's therapy community programs here.
Ask your doctor for a Toronto therapist referral:
Your doctor may be connected to some great therapists in the city. This is a great option if you’re seeking someone experienced, vetted, and/or that your doctor knows personally.
What should I do next if I’ve decided I want to work with a therapist in Toronto?
Once you’ve found your favourites, it can be helpful to reach out to a few (or check out their websites) to understand more about how they work. You might find that a practice you liked has a waiting list or is no longer practicing so it’s good to start with a handful that you like and potentially reach out to a bunch of them.
Here at KMA Therapy, our team has a wide range of areas of expertise, credentials, and personalities to choose from. You’ll start with a 50-minute intake session with a specialized intake therapist at any of our 5 Toronto locations to find the best possible match within our practice.
Whether you work with us, or another therapy group, we encourage you not to give up in the search for the perfect therapist for you. Wondering if psychotherapy will help you with the issue you’re dealing with? Check out our article here.
If you’re interested in booking an intake session here at KMA and starting your therapy journey with us, fill out the “Register Online” form here. Or you can book online using our online scheduler here.