Fill out the form and we'll match you with a therapist who fits your preferences. This is a free service intended to empower more people to start therapy!
Because insurance significantly limits the pool of available, quality therapists, this service is currently offered to individuals who are paying the full fee for therapy sessions. In large cities like NYC and Boston, this averages $175 per session; if your budget is limited, we can typically find a therapist for you within $85 - $175 per session. By not limiting our search by insurance, we are able to prioritize quality and fit. Zencare does not charge referral fees from clients or therapists.
How therapist matching works
1. Fill out the matching form
Share what you’re looking for in therapy, what has or hasn’t worked.
2. Learn about your therapist
Watch videos and schedule free calls with your therapist matches.
3. Have your first session!
Have your first appointment with the therapist you click with the most.
Meet your therapist matchers
Yuri Tomikawa founded Zencare when she struggled to find a trusted therapist herself. A former therapy skeptic turned advocate, Yuri started Zencare as a one-woman concierge helping friends and college students connect with recommended therapists. She is a staunch believer in the power of therapy to transform one's life, as it did for her in her recovery from an eating disorder. She is a Brown University alum and was previously a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Jenna Zimmerman first discovered Zencare while searching for a therapist for a friend. She loved the platform, applied to join the team, and has been matching therapy seekers with providers ever since! Using her own experience as both a provider and client of therapy, Jenna aims to give therapy seekers peace of mind that they are starting out on the right foot. She is a clinical social work master's candidate at NYU, loves therapy, and wants everyone to try it!
Maggie Jordan is the driving force behind Zencare's therapist network; she identifies outstanding therapists to grow Zencare's network and offer more potential matches for clients. Maggie particularly enjoys connecting LGBTQ+ folks with affirming and culturally competent therapists, and is passionate about increasing access to care. She is a graduate of Brown University where she helped reform the university's mental health policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paying for Therapy
+ How much does therapy cost?
There’s no set standard when it comes to the cost of therapy. Therapists' fees range on average from $80-$150 in Rhode Island and $125-$200 in Boston and NYC. Psychiatrists (who can prescribe psychiatric medications) tend to charge higher amounts, typically starting at $300 per session.
Typically, finding out how much a therapist charges involves some time and effort (like calling to different therapists and asking about their fees). Luckily, Zencare has done the work for you with updated information on session fees and our therapist matching service!
+ How to budget for therapy
- Look at your income and expenses for each month.
- Figure out how much you can afford to spend per month on therapy.
- Divide by four (assuming you will attend therapy once per week).
- Tell your therapist that this is the number you can spend per weekly session.
- If the therapist is not able to match your budget, they can clarify the lowest amount they are able to accept. This is typically what happens when a therapist says they offer a “sliding scale.”
+ What is a “sliding scale” and how can it help me?
Sliding scale refers to a variable price for services based on a customer’s ability to pay. In therapy, therapists may offer a “sliding scale” to clients who are unable to afford their full session fees. This is done on a case by case basis. Our therapist matching service can help take some of the guesswork out of this process by ensuring you have correct cost information prior to making an appointment!
+ What does “in network” mean?
A therapist is considered in-network if they have a contract with your health insurance company to accept a set fee for every session.
Your health insurance pays the bulk of the therapy session fee and you pay the “copay” amount (typically between $15-$60, depending on your insurance company).
If you have a high deductible plan, you may pay more upfront before your insurance benefits apply. Important: Be sure to check with your insurance company about deductibles before making an appointment with a therapist.
The upside: The main benefit here is that if a therapist is in-network with your insurance and you don’t have to meet a deductible, you only owe a copay at the time of your session.
The downside: Many therapists are not in-network with any insurance plans, so your options for therapists are much more limited. Also, they tend to have fewer openings for new patients, so you may be waiting weeks for an appointment.
+ What does “out-of-network” mean?
A therapist is out-of-network if they don't have an agreement with your health insurance company. When you see an out-of-network therapist, you pay the full session fee at each appointment.
After your session, you submit a claim for reimbursement (via mail, fax, or online) from your insurance company. You can do this after every session or after a certain number of sessions, for example, once a month.
Your insurance company will send you a check reimbursing you for a portion of what you paid out of pocket. This means you only end up paying a certain percentage of a therapist’s full fee, after receiving the reimbursement.
The upside: Many more choices of therapists! Also, you may find a therapist with more specialized training for your personal needs. In most cases, you’ll have a shorter wait time to start therapy.
The downside: Having to pay the full therapy fee up front and wait for reimbursement.
+ Is therapy worth it?
We know therapy isn’t an inexpensive endeavor, but investing in your mental health can have a ripple effect with long term benefits. If you go out to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, could you allocate some of that to a biweekly therapy budget? You might think of going to therapy as a comparable expense to a gym membership: You’re making an investment in your mental health that will benefit you today and for the rest of your life.
+ How often do I see a therapist and for how long?
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to length of therapy and frequency of appointments. A good therapist (like Zencare’s trusted clinicians!) will tailor therapy to the needs of each client. This means they will consider your current symptoms, psychosocial history, life circumstances, and therapy goals. The therapist’s treatment methods and approach (for ex. psychodynamic or cognitive behavioral therapy) will also factor into the decision.
In general, most therapists will begin by seeing a client once a week, and may gradually decrease session frequency to every other week, once a month, or less (depending on treatment goals and progress). For solution-focused or cognitive behavioral therapy aimed at a specific event or problem, briefer therapy may be appropriate (ex. 8-12 sessions). Therapy focused on exploring deeper issues or longer term concerns (eg. psychodynamic therapy) may last from one to two years or more.
+ What type of therapy is for me?
People have different responses to therapy and hope to get different things out of their sessions. Some self-reflection upfront can help you choose the right therapy approach. Some may desire an interactive relationship with their therapist, while others prefer a therapist who mostly listens. Think about your personality, your needs, and what would feel most helpful when considering the type of therapy to pursue. Also, consider whether there are certain issues you want help with, since different therapy types may be more effective with particular issues.
For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can equip you with tools to address anxiety; exposure and response prevention is the gold standard for OCD; psychodynamic therapy is powerful when examining the impact of the past on the present; and motivational interviewing is a tool particularly valuable in addictions and substance use therapy. You can read more here about the many types of therapy, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!
+ What are CBT and psychodynamic therapy?
Of the many forms of psychotherapy, two popular types are psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Psychodynamic therapy is based on the theory that our thoughts and behaviors are influenced by our unconscious mind and past experiences. Through collaborative conversation, clients deepen an awareness and understanding of how their past influences their present. Psychodynamic therapy is typically longer term, with therapists meeting with clients once weekly over several months or years.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a skill-based treatment that focuses on how one’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotional experiences are interconnected. The therapist teaches the client techniques to examine and reduce unhelpful thoughts. Clients also learn how to implement new coping mechanisms to reach their desired emotional and behavioral outcomes. CBT is typically a shorter-term model of approximately twelve sessions.
Many therapists combine psychodynamic therapy and CBT to help clients both build the necessary skills to make behavioral changes and shift negative thought patterns. Clients gain deeper insight into how their thoughts, behaviors, and values are molded by past experiences.
You can find more information about other therapy approaches here!
+ Can therapists prescribe medication?
There are many types of therapists with different degrees and professional licenses. Clinical social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, creative arts therapists, and mental health counselors can all provide therapy, but cannot prescribe medication. In most states, the only providers able to prescribe medication are psychiatrists and some psychiatric nurse practitioners.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized training in treating mental health issues. In practice, psychiatrists may provide psychotherapy, but many focus on managing medication for clients who are engaged in therapy with another therapist. In these cases, the psychiatrist and therapist will collaborate around client care.
+ What should I look for in a therapist?
In looking for a therapist, there are 3 main areas to consider:
- Practical components, including cost, location, and scheduling. Before making an appointment, ask yourself: can I afford these session fees? Can I commit to attending sessions regularly, accounting for travel time, and the demands of my schedule?
- Credentials and specializations. What type of therapist do you feel comfortable working with (eg. Master’s level or Doctoral level)? Do you want a provider with a particular area of expertise (eg. art therapy, couples counseling)? Are you considering medication, and thus need a provider who can prescribe? (more on that above!)
- The “fit” element, including whether you feel connected to your therapist, whether their approach works with your personality, and (once therapy starts) whether you feel like you are being heard and making progress. The connection between therapist and client is the most valuable and important part of therapy. Consider these factors:
- Some therapists are more reflective and spend most of the session listening and drawing insights about your patterns and coping styles.
- Some therapists are more directive, establishing weekly agendas and assigning tasks to complete between sessions.
- Some utilize specific techniques or tools (exposure exercises, eye movements, tapping, breathwork, guided imagery, art and music, etc.).
- Finally, some use a combination of many approaches!
The best way to get a feel for a therapist is through an initial phone call and in your first session. You can book an initial call to find the right therapist free through Zencare, or use our therapist matching tool to receive a curated list!
For employers, doctors, and parents
+ How to improve employee mental health
From missed work days to decreased productivity and enjoyment of work, employee mental health issues can negatively impact the workplace. Supporting employee mental health can limit costs and improve job performance and employee morale. Some suggestions on how to do this include:
- Provide resources and information. Have a list of local mental health therapists to share with employees. Make sure your employees know about the resources available to them, including any Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and mental health benefits available through their insurance.
- Develop a supportive environment. Employee mental health is influenced by work environment and culture. Encourage positive workplace communication and urge employees to embrace a healthy work-life balance. Show appreciation for employees and respond appropriately to allegations of discrimination or harassment. Knowing that they can come forward with concerns without fear of retribution can begin to break down some of the stigma employees may feel.
- Train managers and employees on how to recognize mental health issues and how to address them in the workplace.
- Raise awareness. Providing information about mental health issues can further combat stigma and help employees feel comfortable in coming forward with their concerns. Have a professional come in and give advice on stress reduction techniques in the workplace, hold mental health awareness days, and provide resource information through emails and newsletters to employees.
- Encourage employees to plan ahead for vacation to recharge!
+ How to help patients find therapists
If you are with a patient and sense they could benefit from mental health treatment, here is how to help:
- Start by letting them know you are concerned and recommend they see a mental health specialist. They may have questions about what this means, or what to expect. Feel free to share this resource with them or encourage them to email us at email@example.com for more assistance.
- Provide your patient with a list of local, trusted therapists. You can use Zencare to find the highest-quality therapists and organize your search by payment options, locations, specialties, and more.
- If you or your patient would like extra support, please contact us by email or use our therapist matching service to help your patient find the right therapist to meet their needs.
+ How to help your college student find a therapist
If your child’s college has a counseling center, that is usually a good place to start. College counseling centers are staffed by clinicians who are trained in supporting university students. Most counseling services are free of charge for enrolled students; some may require the student to be on the university health insurance, however, so make sure to check your child's benefits.
Important: If your student is facing a crisis, they should call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. Their counseling center should also be able to provide information about the closest resources for your student to receive immediate mental health attention.
College counseling centers are generally able to provide short-term support, and are not designed for ongoing therapy. If your student is in need of longer-term care, you will likely need to consider therapists near the college or university. In that case, consider the following:
- Are you able to pay for the therapy sessions, or do you need to use insurance?
- Does your child prefer a therapist of a certain gender, or with a unique specialization (addictions, eating disorders, OCD, etc.)?
- Might they benefit from a therapist who takes a certain approach, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)? If you’re not sure, you can read more about different therapy approaches here. You can also fill out our match form to receive a personalized list of therapists who might meet your child’s needs.
A note on confidentiality: talk to your child about whether they want you to be able to speak with their therapist. Once your student has started in therapy, their treatment is confidential. They then have the option of signing a consent form that will allow you to speak with their therapist, should they choose.
One client's story
Read more client testimonials.
A close family friend, Emma, had just arrived at college from Asia. Within her first few days, Emma had begun suffering bouts of debilitating panic attacks, triggered by homesickness. Her family and I knew, without direct experience with this condition, that hiring a specialist was the best course of action. We attempted to reach out to therapists directly, but given this was a foreign field to all of us, we were met with specialization and logistical challenges. Thankfully, a friend referred me to Zencare.
Thinking it wouldn’t hurt to ask for additional guidance, I contacted the Zencare team. Within minutes, I received a response directly from Yuri, volunteering herself completely to our cause and assuring me that the entire Zencare team had Emma’s back. The ensuing day, Yuri took it upon herself personally to help coordinate therapist schedules as quickly as possible.
Fast forward a few weeks, Emma’s now doing much better. I cannot more readily recommend Zencare to help with any challenges finding the right therapist.