How Do I Refer Someone for Therapy?

Posted on Posted in Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Therapy

Sometimes I am asked how people can recommend therapy to someone they care about who is in emotional pain. It may be uncomfortable to say, “I’m in therapy and finding great results”, or “You really ought to see a psychologist”. It may be easier to say, “I know of a therapist who specializes in treating _______” (anxiety, depression, relationship issues, addictions, etc.). Or, I have heard of a local therapist who has written about _______”. Just letting someone know where he or she can obtain more information about an emotional problem, can provide a step toward getting help.

You might also recommend looking at the increasing resources available on the Internet. On this web site there are anxiety and depression questionnaires for people wondering about their symptoms. This site also has free articles, including one on how to choose a therapist. There is also a wealth of information at

If the person you are referring to therapy asks you about the cost of treatment you can tell him or her that financial arrangements can be made by calling the therapist’s office. Often office staff will explain different payment methods, what the fees are for individual therapists, and even check on insurance benefits for potential clients. Explanations about HMOs and PPOs, referrals to appropriate support groups and free information packets are additionally available when calling the Nightingale Center.

By Lois V. Nightingale, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, (lic. #PSY9503), Marriage, Family and Child Therapist (lic # MA21027), director of the Nightingale Center, author, national speaker and mother. She practices in Yorba Linda, Orange County, California, providing services for families, couples, individuals, children, and adolescents.


To read more:  When Someone You Love Is in Therapy by Michael I. Gold