Saturday, March 24, 2012

Therapick: for Finding Psychotherapists

I read today in BusinessWeek about an L.A. startup called, that makes short videos of therapists being interviewed about their practice and style, and allows people to search for therapists based not only on the usual location, insurance, and gender, but also on those intangible qualities best gleaned from a video.

Here's their pitch:

Finding a therapist is a personal experience. On Therapick, you can search videos, read profiles, and email therapists you might want to work with. If you don't like the vibe of a psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist, move on to the next one. It's that simple. Our videos let you choose.

We've interviewed hundreds of licensed psychotherapists in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, and many other popular cities to give you the best selection for individual, couples, and family counseling in the United States. Whether you're looking for psychotherapy, marriage counseling, or even hypnosis, Therapick's videos give you a better sense of who a therapist is before going in for your first visit.
Sounds like an interesting idea. What do you all think?


Anon8 said...

Apart from the video, there's no difference from other therapist directory sites currently available. The videos are clearly scripted to show a positive image, understandably; then again, one would assume people are able to realize this. For example, Dinah, dozens of your posts I find humourous and intelligent. Yet our perspectives are worlds apart on very key issues and I strongly doubt we could have successful or even productive therapy. A 30 second clip of a therapist -- probably an even less accurate perspective then dozens if not hundreds of thoughtfully written posts.
One question I had is - do the therapists pay to be on this site? Is there any kind of quality assurance check? My guess is not. Maybe I'm biased but I'm not big into therapist self-advertising, it actually turns me away and makes me question the quality of the therapist. Perhaps not fair but....

Anonymous said...

I would not see as psychotherapist who needed to make a tv commercial of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I just went on the site and did not like it at all. It felt too "used car salesman-like."

I prefer the way I found my latest therapist. I researched and then called several prospects during which I interviewed them. Afterwards, we had a first meeting.

I picked one lucky therapist.
So far, so good.

jesse said...

One problem (out of many) with this approach is that it presumes that a therapist can be chosen on the basis of information gleaned by the patient in such a manner. It encourages superficiality and salesmanship. Good therapists learn how to work with whatever the patient brings into the session: the patient frequently does not know what the important observations are, or he could make them himself.

There are many good ways of working productively with patients. A good therapist listens carefully, is flexible and intelligent, and uses his training and experience to ascertain how best to help a particular patient. Are these qualities evident on a short video?

The best chance of getting a good psychiatrist or therapist is from a knowledgeable referral, either from former patients or from other professionals.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is just me but the site reminds me of those pop up windows advertising "escort" services.

Anonymous said...

therapick--i think that helps prevent gum disease.

Anonymous said...

Referral - hands down, is the best way, IMO. That is the only way I will go. The MOA at my PCP's office referred me to a good psychotherapist years ago. When the time came, this psychotherapist referred me to a great psychiatrist who I developed a good rapport with, this psych referred me to another professional for an unrelated health issue and it turned out to be a good match as well.

If it is a friend, or other trusted professional that I have know for a long time and agree with their style/expertise, I can usually trust their referrals... There has only been one instance where it wasn't a good match, based on a referral.

Roy said...

While I agree that a trusted referral from someone who knows you (and, thus, knows the sort of things you might find annoying or helpful in a therapist) often works out best, I am surprised that this tool is not as accepted as I imagined it to be.

I figured it was a useful way to screen out or in a number of therapists so that one could zero in on the 3 or 4 to contact by phone and interview. I watched a few of the 2-minute clips and heard enough that I thought could be helpful in selecting someone.

I do see the points about the salesmanship issue. Also, most therapists are only going to pay $300 per year for something like this if they need it to fill their practice; but, I also see the point that one of the promo pieces made that it could provide for a filtering mechanism to attract certain types of patients, thus enriching one's practice with more patients of that type.

Time will tell if therapists pay up again after the first year is over. Too bad there is no way for people to leave comments (though I can only imagine how that may turn out).

Roy said...

BTW, I sorted Therapick therapists within 500 miles of Baltimore alphabetically, randomly chose a starting letter ("K"), and then sent emails to ten of them asking them to come on Shrink Rap and comment on their experience with this service. Hopefully a few will so we can hear why they tried it and their experience so far.

Check back later to see if any of them commented.

Anonymous said...

It may not be ideal, but I have to say that finding a psychopharmacologist in the San Francisco area who has a private practice is practically impossible. So if this helps people find therapists, I'm all for it.

Jane said...

lol. I get what people are saying about the used car salesman thing. I'm not too thrilled about the site and how useful it could be in finding a therapist. Especially because I saw one video where the therapist seemed kinda nervous, and I know that some people just don't interview well. He could be a great therapist who is camera shy.

I think I would actually like it better if they were offering some kind of general advice to the public about mental health or I could see a quick clip of them giving therapeutic advice to someone. I think that would give me a better idea about how they mesh with patients and how they talk to people. And I think it would help them to look more natural. Gotta see them in their element.

jesse said...

@Anon looking for a psychopharmacologist in San Francisco: try looking up the San Francisco Psychiatric Society ( I'll bet they will be able to help you. The American Psychiatric Association has state and city branches, of which this is one.

Sunny CA said...

I have a psychiatrist I love, but I just looked at about 10 videos of therapists on that site, just to see what the experience is like.

I started to feel that I would find none of them acceptable, but then clicked on one who immediately made me feel comfortable both with his manner and with what he said, so I would find this useful myself. It is quite possible, though, that I would eliminate a really terrific therapist by making a decision in this way.

Have you read the book "Blink"? The thesis is that our split seconds decisions are often accurate ones. If that is the case this may be useful.

One of the therapists I watched looked down at the floor a lot and seemed depressed herself. I would not want a therapist who looks chronically depressed and who looks at the floor, so I would expect that eliminating her would be wise. Others mentioned a specialty that does not apply to me (ex. helping young women decide if they want children) so these would be genuine findings, rather than gut reactions. A few just hit me wrong in the gut.

I am glad I had a great referral and the referral turned out to be well-founded, but it strikes me people may use this site who do not have a referral or to check out a person they were referred to without having to pay $100 to do that. I have found that going once to a therapist, one has to be pretty forceful to not wind up signed up for a return visit as therapists get out their book and assign a return visit, so I would rather hunt on line than go try out 3 therapists and have to insist I do not want to make another appointment.

Anonymous said...

Jesse - thanks for the resource! I will try them.

Dinah said...

So I really like this concept. It doesn't exclude a good referral from a trusted source, one could get some names then watch the videos and see who looks like a good fit.

That said, there wasn't a single psychiatrist within 500 miles of my zip code. Oh, and I'd never do this because it feels like desperate advertising and I have two heads : )

But I do like the concept in theory.

tanza16 said...

I found my therapist, Dr. Deborah Nadel by using my intuition. I allowed life to lead me to the best possible psychiatrist for me. Dr. Nadel has been a life saver, Deborah Nadel is kind, warm, professional, and compassionate. Dr. Nadel does not advertise, or anything like that. Deborah Nadel specializes is trauma.

Sunny CA said...

I had 55 "matches" within 25 miles of my zip code. It may eventually become as common to be listed on this site as having a telephone book listing. Realistically, many young people throw out the telephone book without looking at it, and look for everything online. I am 60 and I look first for things online. As a consumer, I do not view the therapists listed as "desperate".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @SF,

Try William Prey. I do not have personal experience with him but have heard great things from people who do.

Of course, your mileage will vary.


EastCoaster said...

I know some people who used psychology today to find CBT therapists who met their needs for panic attacks or agoraphobia.

Going my referral implies necessarily that you have good primary care doctors (how did you find that person) or friends and family who are honest about their own experiences with therapy, and I'd think that you might not want their therapist. Couldn't it be a conflict of interest?

I'm trying to move my parents down here, because I need to set up a care plan for my Mom who in addition to having a psychotic illness is experiencing early signs of dementia. I have a psychiatrist, and I'm not sure that he could refer me to someone. He did give me names of a fellowship program for psychiatrists who want to develop their psychodynamic skills. MA has a ton of psychiatrists, but many take no insurance and the ones who work in hospitals only take patients whose PCP is affiliated with that hospital. And I'd like to find somebody with geriatric experience because of the dementia.

Finding competent medical practitioners is hard. The more resources the better.

David Brundige said...

Hey all,

Thanks for the honest public discussion about Therapick. We don't mean for our videos to replace normal referrals, but rather supplement them and help lower the barrier to that first visit. Many new clients do not have friends whom they trust to ask for referrals, so they turn to the Internet. Our videos seek not to be sales pitches, but rather honest discussions about a therapist's practice. Yes, we try to make each therapist look good, and when they can smile on camera that helps, but some of our most successful therapists on the site probably aren't the "glitziest" ones you'd expect.

Keep up the good work! You have my greatest respect.

All my best,

Anonymous said...

I once used Psychology Today to find someone. Nice picture, sounded good on paper. Turned out to be a pleasant enough person, not too bright , with very little experience in areas where expertise had been claimed.
I gave it a couple of sessions, said no thank you to another appointment and was then pursued somewhat aggressively by email about booking another session. The suggested course of "treatment" kept changing and the person was way too interested in me to be taken seriously as a potential therapist.
I don't need referrals from friends and would not go to someone my friend was seeing. I will take a referral from another doc or from a licensing body of some sort.

Anonymous said...

Pick your shrink any way you like. Make sure you have a good lawyer who specialized in human rights. You will need him or her.