Finding A Provider

CAPS has partnered with The Shrink Space (new window). You can search for providers local to DC or nationally. Filter by location, insurance accepted, provider identities, and availability, etc. You can sort through profiles and securely message providers on the platform.

Social workers (LCSW), counselors (LPC), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and psychologists (PhD, PsyD) offer psychotherapy and do not prescribe medication. All of these clinicians can be described as therapists, but only doctoral level clinicians are referred to as psychologists. The specific training these different types of clinicians receive is unique to their degree, but they share in common that they have studied and been licensed to be able to help others.

Psychiatrists (MD) and psychiatric nurses (PNR) prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses also offer talk therapy.

1. Go to your insurance website (e.g., 

2. Find the provider search function (this is often called “Find a Doctor” or “Provider Search”). 

3. Log in if you know your username and password. Or provide any information you can about your specific plan (select which type of plan you have (e.g., PPO) if you know it. This can usually be found on the front of your insurance card. 

4. Select the type or specialty of provider you are seeking (e.g., psychologist or psychiatrist). Sometimes psychologists are under “behavioral health.” 

5. Select other filters you desire (e.g., gender, style, areas of specialty), though if that results in few providers it may be helpful to use fewer filters. 

6. Choose location. This is typically done by entering your zip code and then selecting how many miles you want to look from that zip code. In large cities like DC it is best to select a small mileage radius, but in more rural areas it may be too limiting to do so. 

7. Once you have a list of in-network providers that meet your needs, feel free to contact CAPS (if you are in DC) or a local college counseling center to see if they can provide recommendations from your list. 

– CAPS has partnered with The Shrink Space. You can search for providers and securely message them on the platform. 

– If you are in DC, ask CAPS to help provide recommendation for DC area providers.

– If you are away from DC, ask your CAPS provider to see if they can identify anyone in your area. 

– Call a local college or university’s counseling center to find out where they typically refer their students into the community. and allow you to search for providers in your area. You can filter by location, insurance accepted, language, faith, specialties, etc. You will then be able to sort through providers’ profiles to get a sense of their practice. 

– Don’t hesitate to ask providers whether they offer a sliding scale (lower fees). 

– Search for low-fee clinics in your area. 

The goal of this process is for you to find a provider who you feel comfortable working with and has the expertise to help you. Some people speak with multiple clinicians on the phone before deciding to find a good fit. Many therapists offer a free 15-minute consultation to make sure that they have the skills to help you.

Once you have decided to schedule your first session, you may email or call a clinician, depending on the contact information that they have listed.

If you call a clinician, you may need to leave a voicemail. Please include the following:

  • Your name
  • That you are an undergraduate or graduate student and at what school
  • Your insurance
  • Your phone number (say it twice, slowly enough for them to write down)