Psychology Today is the largest, most well-known directory for locating mental health providers in the United States. Potential clients looking for a therapist or psychiatrist input their city or zip code and are presented with mental health providers in their area. You can also filter your search based on a number of criteria such as insurance, sexuality, gender, language, faith, type of therapy, etc. While they provide a number of topics to conduct searches but their current categories are rather limiting and do not cater to many marginalized communities. Their gender category, for example, only includes “male” or “female.” Those looking for a therapist who specializes in supporting stigmatized populations, such as the trans/gender non-conforming, consensual non-monogamy, or kink communities, are taxed with trying to find a therapist some other way.
In an effort to advocate for Psychology Today to include 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 five empirically-based reasons healthcare provider locator directories should include a searchable category for consensual non-monogamy. In this post, I reference how our recent study found that people engaging in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) have better therapy outcomes when they work with and/or search 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 (I’ve provided a screenshot of the full list of categories). My concerns about some of their language and the ‘Heterosexual Allied’ category aside, I was delighted to see this step toward inclusion. The problem is, the new client focus categories are not directly searchable. If you want to search for a therapist with experience working with any one of the new categories, you have to click on each therapist profile individually to see if they have it listed it as one of their categories in the client focus section of their profile.
A Temporary Workaround
Again, my colleagues and I are thrilled to see that Psychology Today has taken this step toward inclusion as many have already benefited from being able to clarify whether their prospective therapist has experience supporting these particular groups.
We would also love to see them take a step further by making the client focus categories directly searchable on their website and are reaching out to them while organizing a national campaign regarding this request.
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 has been reaching out to Psychology Today and teaming up with other local and national organizations to formally request that the Client Focus Categories searchable. This post will be updated once our call to action has been finalized.
Please also consider joining the Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force’s mailing list when you sign our Petition to Support Relationship Diversity.