Picture this. It's 1987. Your parents are sitting in their family room on the couch, dimmed lights, and watching TV. You hear them speaking about how your father needs to see a professional psychologist due to the heavy demand of his job. It's been getting to him. He is beyond stressed. Just then, your mother pulls out the local Yellow Pages and starts browsing the various therapist options in your area. Phone calls and addresses are written down. The next morning, your mother places over a dozen phone calls to each office. The problem? She didn't find the right fit for your father. In the end, it took months to find help. By that time, your father's mental health took a turn for the worse. Depression got the worst of him, which ultimately affected your parents marriage.

The above situation was quite a common occurrence back in the day. Thankfully, with the advancement in technology, our lives overall have become a lot easier. From planning to going about our daily tasks, everything is better streamlined than it was 20-30 years ago. And yet, there are still some areas such as locating professional services, which are still difficult to do. This isn't just in regard to finding counseling services. Finding a service such as the right local plumber is equally as difficult. The same abundance exists, and people simply don't know who to turn to.

Internet Searching: The Good and the Bad

Instead of people opening up their Yellow Pages booklet, people turn to their desktops or mobile devices in order to search for a professional counselor. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons. The obvious pros is that it's much quicker to browse through the list on a computer than to physically write down names and addresses. Moreover, you can read user reviews online prior to making a decision. In short, there's a lot of good that the internet brings to the table.

However, there is one major problem with finding a therapist online. Almost every local directory charges money to therapists in order to be listed on their site. Take for example the all popular Psychology Today therapist finder. It is the industry standard in regards to finding a therapist near you. But, should it be? In reality, it should not. Here's why. A little known fact is that every therapist needs to pay a monthly fee in order to have a unique profile on the Psychology Today website. And, this isn't only limited to Psychology Today. Virtually every single therapist directory charges a fee to therapists who want an individual profile. You may be wondering: why is this a problem? Excellent question.

There is only so much room on a single web page. How does Psychology Today and sites like that decide which therapist gets the top position on that webpage? How does "Jane Doe" occupy the first listing spot on the New York City listings page? Well, the sad truth is that Jane Doe very likely pays for that position. Because of this, many people may not be getting the right therapist that suits them. Jane Doe may be an excellent overall therapist but therapy is different for everyone. As such, Jane Doe probably would not have been a good choice for someone like your father.

Alternative Places

The good news is that the internet always delivers in the end. There are counseling resources that have therapist directories that are free of charge. Psychologist directories have thousands of licensed professionals, all of whom don't pay for their user profiles.

You know how they say, "the best things in life are free"? Take this advice when looking for a professional service. It's almost always accurate.