Updated: Sep 14
First of all, congratulations on making this bold move to seek therapy. For most patients, the decision to talk to a therapist is often complicated and surrounded by doubt. However, if you have overcome this challenge, this is the first step toward dealing with your situation.
Emailing a therapist for the first time isn't as easy as most people think. It can be a source of anxiety to many. When you finally sit down to compose an email to a particular therapist, it's normal for your mind to go blank. But that's what this guide is going to address.
Many patients who engage in therapy have admitted they weren't sure how to email a therapist for the first time. Summoning the courage to consult a therapist, let alone sending them an email, isn't easy for most people, especially if they have been battling a particular problem for a while. That's why we decided to publish a quick guide on how to email a therapist for the first time.
What to email a therapist
This guide will share tips on how you can communicate with a counselor through your first email. Therapists often receive emails with little information for them to work with. This guide will teach you how to compose an email to a therapist within five minutes.
In your email you will need to include the following elements:
Mention why you are reaching out
Ask if “X” type of therapy is something they specialize
Ask for dates, times, and general availability
Familiarize yourself with the different types of therapy (before the email)
It’s very useful to know what therapy you believe is best for yourself and your situation. Understanding what each type of therapy is and how it helps gives you insight into what your prospective therapists are offering and how they can help you. Before emailing your therapist you should research the types of therapy that are available to get a better understanding of what you’re actually looking for in a therapist.
Different Types of Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Structural Family Therapy
Sliding Scale Therapy
An example of this is if you’re looking for help with a relationship or marriage, you’re going to need some form of relationship, couples or marriage counseling.
It would be prudent to ask the therapist which type of therapy they specialize in.
Not every therapist uses the same approach. Every therapist does, however, have a strong suit. If you’re leaning toward a specific approach this can become an important part of the discussion and something you include in your first email to a therapist.
The “email to therapist” template
Let's dive into what your email to a therapist should look and feel like.
Your email should have a format that is similar to others. And it should start with salutations. So, how should you address a therapist? From your research, you must have figured out their names. Do the following:
Feel free to address them by their first or last name.
Do not use their pronouns unless you are sure.
If the therapist has a PsyD or Ph.D. Using 'Dr' in the salutation can help make an excellent first impression.
For the salutations, you can use 'Hi, (First/Last Name)' or 'Hi, Dr (First/Last Name)’
2. Greetings, intro, and context (all in one paragraph)
Even though this is a formal email, adding greetings is a polite way of starting your conversation. It also increases the chances of the therapist agreeing to work with you. No one wants to work with a rude patient.
After the greetings, introduce yourself and mention how you discovered them or what made you choose them. Therapists like to see this information.
Here are some examples of how to greet a therapist and introduce yourself;
Hello, I'm James. I was referred to you by my colleague, Sarah Hyland. She speaks very highly of you.
Hi. I hope you are doing great. I am Cynthia. I saw your advert on social media, and I hope you can be of help to me.
Jonathan, I am Kevin. I was impressed by the many positive reviews you have online. Can I book a session with you?
3. Be direct and get to the point
It can be tempting to pour your heart out in the first email to a therapist. But I would advise you to refrain from doing so. Most therapists are busy and don't have time to read through paragraphs of text.
Go straight to the point and explain why you would like to consult them. Briefly mention what you are struggling with, whether it's stress, anxiety, depression, marital problems, or anything else you may be going through.
If you know what therapy you want, you can explain your situation and ask them if they specialize in cases like yours.
Also, don't be too vague. It would be best if you offered the therapist context about why you want to consult them.
Examples of how to word your issues;
I have been battling depression for the last six years. I want professional help on how I can feel alive once more. I’m looking for individual therapy sessions.
My life has been stressful since I landed the CEO position at work. I regret taking that promotion because I am either at the office giving it my all or at the pub drowning my sorrows. I would like a therapy group with peers in similar situations (group therapy)
My wife cheated on me last year. I have been unable to forgive her. It's affecting our marriage. Are you experienced with couples therapy or marriage counseling?
Pro tip: You should never feel embarrassed about opening up to your therapist. You should be honest if you want to deal with your struggles. It's also a good idea to let your therapist know about other clinical conditions outside their area of specialization.
4. Ask for available times
At this point in the email, the therapist will know who you are and what you need. Finding out availability will typically come next. A common mistake most people make is asking when the therapist is free and forgetting about their schedules.
Be sure to mention in your email when you can find time for therapy sessions.
Check out the following ideas on how to ask for availability;
I am a solopreneur, so I am always at the shop from morning to evening. Can we squeeze in a session around noon when I'm not busy?
My boss is very strict about working hours. Do you offer evening sessions?
I work two jobs and am always busy during the weekdays. Is it possible for us to have sessions over the weekend?
5. Ask for a consultation
Do you know that most therapists offer a ten to fifteen minutes free consultation with new clients? It's done through video or phone calls. This free consultation aims to gauge whether that therapist is right for you.
During this consultation, you can explain your current problem in detail. Your compatibility with a therapist can be determined through this short consultation. Therefore, asking the therapist through email if they offer a free consultation before the main sessions is a brilliant idea.
Asking for a quick consultation is pretty straightforward.
Here is an example of how you can approach this matter;
“Do you offer a free consultation? I would like to know you better. I'm comfortable with video or phone calls.”
6. Ask for rates
When writing an email to a therapist, most of the information shared often comes from your end. However, as you wrap up, you can ask a few things from them, such as their rates.
Before you begin the sessions, you and your therapist must be on the same page regarding the price per session. You don't want to be surprised by a price higher than you can afford. So, inquire about the rates. You can also ask if there are discounts for extended or online therapy sessions.
Another important detail you need to inquire about is the mode of payment accepted. Ask whether the therapist accepts card payments or if your insurance can cater for the sessions.
7. Ask for referrals
Just because you emailed a therapist doesn't guarantee they will work with you. Some therapists may be fully booked for months. Therefore, they may not have an opportunity to see you.
As you conclude, ask them to refer you to a colleague if they are too busy. If research or recommendations led you to that particular therapist, there is a good chance they have equally skilled colleagues. Their referrals can save you time and the stress of looking for new counselors.
A sample first-time email to a therapist
Hello Dr. Sanders,
I am Jonathan Myers, aged 27. I hope you are doing great. You have many positive reviews online, and I think you would be the best therapist for me.
For the past four years, I have been battling panic attacks and other symptoms of anxiety. It's becoming severe, and I think individual therapy is the best solution.
I work a 9 to 5. Do you offer evening sessions? If we could have a consultation before the sessions via phone or video call, I would appreciate getting to know you better and explaining my situation in detail.
Please let me know if you are available and share your session rates. If you are busy, I would appreciate a referral to another therapist.
Thanks for your time. [Your Name]
What to say to your therapist the first time?
When the therapist replies to your email and agrees to see you, you will have taken the first step in your wellness journey. But then, what should you say to the therapist during your first session? How often should you see your therapist?
Here are some ideas you can borrow.
What to talk about in therapy
Understandably, getting straight to the point immediately after entering your therapist's office can be challenging. However, if you want to beat whatever is bothering you, you must open up and be honest.
Talk about the challenges you’re facing and how you’ve responded. Tell them exactly how you feel about the results and what you want to see happen differently. Tell them EVERYTHING. It’s the fastest way to an ideal solution.
Things to work on in therapy
Therapy helps you overcome negative experiences so mention the ones that have the most impact on your life. You can discuss people in your life, your job, your family, your friends, your goals, your dreams your fears, and your feelings. There are no limitations on what you can discuss but make sure you’re addressing the issues that brought you there to begin with.
What's better: emailing or calling a therapist?
There are two main ways you can reach out to a therapist the first time; via call or email. Between the two, email is more convenient for both you and the therapist. As mentioned earlier, therapists are often very busy and have no time to answer calls. However, at the end of the day, what most therapists do is that we check and reply to our mail. Also, many patients are more comfortable sending mail the first time than communicating via a phone call.
If you'd like to speak with one of our therapists, feel free to message us via email with your shiny new skills. You can also call us directly to set up a chat or consultation on how to improve your well-being.
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