If you’re a therapist in private practice, you’re probably listed on Psychology Today. For better or worse, it’s the 800-pound gorilla of therapist directories: It gets a ton of traffic, which means its pages show up high in search results, which generate even more traffic.
Despite owning the market, the Psychology Today directory is not necessarily well-liked. Its user experience looks and feels dated. While advanced searches are possible, the main search page only allows searches by name and location. Therapists and clients alike sometimes grumble that the information therapists can share on their profiles is limited.
For a new generation of online therapist directories, the failure of Psychology Today to improve its product represents a tremendous opportunity. With newer interfaces and sophisticated matching systems, these new directories aim to improve the experience of finding a therapist. Here are a few of them.
It’s worth noting here that we’re not endorsing any of these, just noting that a whole new wave of directories is out there. In addition to the unique traits we’ve identified below, they all report that they are committed to adding new features and adapting to what their audience asks for. That might seem basic, but PT doesn’t tend to update very often. And they don’t actively seek out much user feedback from ongoing users. So for many therapists, that by itself is a meaningful difference.
Alison Fussell, one of the founders of Advekit, spoke about its development in this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast. She noted that what many consumers encounter on Psychology Today is a staggering, even paralyzing abundance of choice: Simple searches in large cities may turn up hundreds of results. So Advekit is designed to make the process much easier, by using a matching algorithm rather than simply a one-sided search process. In other words, not only do clients search for their ideal therapists, but therapists tell the site about their ideal clients, including providing information about the therapist’s style of working, and the site aims to make the best matches possible. Consumers looking for therapists are shown only three therapist profiles, rather than the hundreds that may show up as search results in PT.
Strength: Matchmaking algorithm with unique filters
Cost: $30/month or $270/year
After a successful Bay Area launch, the TherapyDen directory is now nationwide. It allows users to filter their searches using even small-scale insurance providers, which is critical for many clients and not available in most other directories. Their search results map is a cool way for clients in cities to see where their prospective therapists actually are, at street level. (Here in Los Angeles, I might be in someone’s same zip code, and realistically still 20 minutes away or more.) TherapyDen also has a strong social justice philosophy, even allowing users to direct 10 percent of their subscription fees to any one of a handful of social justice charities. And of the directories listed here, TherapyDen is perhaps most direct in challenging PT’s dominance, using this video to highlight key differences.
Strength: Sophisticated search, social justice philosophy
Cost: Free for now
While its search function is fairly basic, Therapy Route has a couple of qualities that make it distinct from other directories. It has an international focus (slogan: “Find a therapist anywhere“), and it aims to provide therapists with a publishing platform such that they can share knowledge and inform clients about their practices in much greater depth than other directories. Yes, you could cynically argue that “publishing platform” might equal “content farm designed to get search traffic at no cost.” But it’s also true that it’s a differentiating feature for therapists with great ideas but little technical ability, who want to publish but don’t necessarily want to run their own blog or find other outlets.
Strength: International focus, publishing platform
Cost: Free for now
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been listed in the PT directory in the past but am not currently. None of the sites listed here have paid to be listed.