Psychology Today is the largest, most well-known search engine for locating mental health providers in the United States. Potential clients looking for a therapist or psychiatrist will input their city or zip code and be presented will mental health providers who have subscribed in their area. You can also filter your search in the following topic areas: ‘Insurance’, ‘Issues’, ‘Sexuality’, ‘Gender’, ‘Age’, ‘Language’, ‘Faith’, ‘Types of Therapy’, ‘Online Therapy’, and ‘See Nearest’. So, if you want to search for all the male-identified therapist who accepts your insurance and specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy in a particular zip code, you were set. If you want to find a therapist who specializes in supporting marginalized populations, such as the trans/gender non-conforming , consensual non-monogamy, or kink communities, you had to look elsewhere.
In an effort to promote Psychology Today including more inclusive, culturally relevant categories, I started reaching out to Psychology Today on behalf of the American Psychological Association Division 44 Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force in February 2018. With feedback from Dr. Amy Moors, I put together empirically-based reasons psychology today should include searchable category for consensual non-monogamy on their directory, and referenced our study which found that people engaging in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) has better therapy outcomes when they worked with and/or searched for a therapist who was affirming toward CNM.
Eventually, Psychology today added ‘Open Relationships Non-Monogamy’ and a number of other inclusive categories (e.g., Transgender Allied, Sex-Positive Kink Allied, Racial Justice Allied) under their ‘Client Focus’ tab, allowing clinicians with a profile to indicate that they are experienced supporting clients in these groups (a screenshot of the full list of categories can be found here). The problem is, the new client focus categories aren’t directly searchable. If you want to search for a therapist with experience working with open relationships, for example, you would have to click on each profile to see if they have listed it as one of the categories in the client focus section of their profile.
A Temporary Workaround
We are thrilled to see that Psychology Today has taken this step toward inclusion as many have already likely benefited from being able to clarify whether their prospective therapist is affirming toward. We would also love to see them take a step further by making the client focus categories searchable- more on that next. In the meantime, here are instructions for doing a keyword search engine to get a compiled list of providers who have experience in one of the client focus categories.
Navigate to your browser of choice
Type in an iteration of following keywords: “psychology today + desired zip code + therapist or psychiatrist + desired Client Focus Category
For example, If you wanted to get a list of the psychiatrists in Ridgewood, New York who have experience supporting trans/gender non-conforming clients, you would type ‘psychology today 11385 psychiatrists transgender allied.’
If you want a a list of the therapists in Berkeley, California who indicated ‘Open Relationships Non-Monogamy’ as one of their Client Focus Categories, you would search: “psychology today 94704 therapists open relationships non-monogamy.”
A Call To Make The Client Focus Categories Searchable
In light of this, the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force is teaming up with other organizations to formally request making the Client Focus Categories searchable. This post will be updated once our call to action has been finalized.
Please also consider joining the CNM Task Force’s mailing list when you sign our Petition to Support Relationship Diversity.