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I'm really not kidding. The range of usefulness of therapists is so large that "any therapist is a good starting point" usually works. It's better when you can ask friends, but if you can't, any therapist will do.

I work in the mental health space (we make practice management systems for therapists) and I couldn’t disagree more. The quality of therapists varies so widely that frankly some of them, I can’t imagine how they ever got licensed.

Working in the industry, would you have any specific suggestions for someone who feels overwhelmed to winnow the options from 1000-ish to under a dozen?

As a person who recently had to do this, my suggestion would be to find someone close to either your home or work. Next would be to find someone of the gender you prefer (I prefer same-sex), then find someone in the age group you're in. I've had good luck using this heuristic to whittle down the list to a few names.

Then go for a brief session with each of them. You should pick the person you feel most comfortable talking to EASILY. This person should be someone you don't feel judged or threatened by. You should be able to understand them clearly and they you.

Think about it like it's a date. In a way, it kinda is.

Indeed, you both have to click, as a therapist, I won't receive anyone I feel I couldn't work with sincerely (no judging and lovingly). In those cases I would always recommend someone I feel would be better suited.

I'm saying the same thing. I'm also saying that without a personal referral, you can't tell. (Hence my upstream recommendation of having a trial session and asking for referrals)

But outside of "pick one and start there", what would you recommend if somebody can't get a recommendation from friends/family? How do you find a decent practitioner?

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