How to Email a Therapist for the First Time (with Templates)

Brandon Grill
April 19, 2024

Maybe you’re going through a tough life transition, depressive episode, struggling with anxiety, or another mental health condition. And you’re tired of feeling this way, so you decide it’s time to see a therapist. Not being much of a cold-call type, you wonder how to email a therapist for the first time.

It’s okay to feel a little anxious, confused, or lost at sea when reaching out to a therapist. I’ve had a number of therapists (in different states and for different reasons), and I still feel anxious when reaching out to a new therapist.

So it’s understandable if you’d like a bit of help. 

Why reach out via email?

First off, why choose email?

Aside from the fact that calling can feel like “too much” or overwhelming, email is a great place to start. Here are three strong benefits of emailing therapists:

Sure, emailing might not be as direct as picking up the phone, but it’s more organized, scalable, and systematic.

Choosing therapists to email

A little planning goes a long way.

Back in 2023, I was in the market for a new therapist. I emailed more than two dozen therapists at random without getting clear on what I needed.

Though I believe in the law of averages and “playing the numbers,” these therapists weren’t the right fit for me.

That’s why I recommend you get more intentional about the way you reach out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which therapists to email.

  1. Your goals for therapy
  2. If you want therapy online, in-person, or a mix of both
  3. Specialties of the therapist

Goals for Therapy

One thing that can help you (and your eventual therapist) make the most of this process is to choose a major therapy goal.

The one question you should answer when choosing a therapy goal is this:

“What’s the one thing I want to accomplish in therapy, that if I accomplish it I can feel satisfied, and that makes every other issue I experience less challenging?”

For example, let’s say you want to:

In this case, feeling less depressed would be the lead domino - the goal that makes each of the other 4 goals easier to accomplish and less challenging.

Of course, there’s no need to be perfect about this.

Your goal will become more defined in the process of working with your therapist. Just have a general direction that you can share in your email to each therapist.

Online, in-person, or hybrid

With online therapy proving effective, the choice of meeting your therapist in person or keeping your sessions remote is one of preference.

So, do you want to meet your therapist in person at some point? Is having that option important to you

Or are you okay with keeping things virtual and enjoying the convenience of virtual therapy?

Let your prospective therapists know your preferences here and see if they can accommodate you.

The important point is to determine if the online or in-person aspect is a deal breaker for you, then communicate that upfront in your email.


You may not know what specialty you’re looking for, and in that case it’s okay just to reach out for someone to talk to.

However, if you’re aware of your unique challenges, or as you progress in self-understanding, you may want to work with a specialist.

Feel free to tailor your search to the specialty you feel is most relevant to your situation, for example:

Feel free to share your specific challenges in your email to new therapists. This will help them quickly see if they’re the right person to talk to, or if they should refer you to another therapist.

Ask about Insurance and Pricing

The biggest factor to know when it comes to affording therapy is whether or not the therapist accepts your insurance.

If you have insurance coverage for mental health, you’ll undoubtedly want to use it. Insurance can make therapy services more affordable and thus give you the access to care you need.

To get started, tell the therapist which insurance company you use and ask if they accept it.

I have Aetna insurance through my job. Do you accept Aetna insurance for mental health services like therapy?

If they do accept your insurance, good news!

If not, there are still other great options that you may not have heard of.

If they don’t accept insurance

A growing number of therapists are no longer accepting insurance due to negative past experiences. So what should you do if the therapist you contact doesn’t accept insurance?

Don’t worry, because you may still be able to get the cost covered. By using what’s called your “out-of-network benefits,” you can still get help paying for therapy.

Out-of-network benefits are a safeguard for cases like this. You may want to see a particular therapist who doesn’t accept insurance. Or you may be seeing a therapist who decides to “depanel” with insurance companies during your time together.

In either case, your insurance might still cover a portion of your therapist’s fee for each session. You just show up to therapy, get a superbill from the therapist, and submit it to your insurance company for reimbursement.

You may not be reimbursed as much as for “in-network” therapy, but you can receive back 50% or more in reimbursement depending on your insurance plan - enough to help you afford and access therapy.

If you want to go to therapy and not worry about insurance at all, let Thrizer submit your superbill for you. We can help you verify your out-of-network benefits and estimated session cost, and handle all the insurance hassles.

We can even help you request an “instant reimbursement” directly to your bank account after you meet your deductible, so you don’t have to have weeks (if not months) for a reimbursement check in the mail. 

Also, tell your therapist about us and receive automatic claim submissions every time you see them completely free of charge, so you don’t even need to deal with superbills! Take a look at this resource for a sample email you can send to your therapist to let them know about Thrizer. 

Curious about what your reimbursements will look like for out-of-network therapy? Create an account at www.thrizer.com and use our free benefits checker to verify your insurance coverage! 

Paying for therapy out of pocket

Paying out of pocket is always an option.

If you don’t have any insurance, or if you lack out of network benefits and your therapist doesn’t accept insurance, paying out of pocket may be the best option.

This simply means footing the bill for therapy and not relying on insurance to help cover the costs.

If this is something you’d like to explore, read our blog on paying out of pocket, and our article about creative ways to afford therapy when you don’t have much discretionary spending.

Ask about scheduling options

One more ingredient to a successful email to therapists is to ask about scheduling.

If your schedule is flexible, suggest 3-5 times that will work for you each week on an ongoing basis. Then ask the therapist if any of these work for them.

I’m free Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm. Do any of these times work for you?

If your schedule is more fixed, suggest some general times that will work for you.

I’m free every weekday after 3:30pm. Is there a time that works for you each week?

Also, let your preferences be known.

I’d prefer evening or weekend sessions if that works with your schedule. How does Saturdays at 9 or 10am sound?

Always ask if they offer a free consultation

Therapists understand better than anyone that mental health is deeply personal.

That’s why a lot of therapists offer a free phone consultation. This usually takes the form of a 10-20 minute phone conversation.

In the free consultation, you’ll have the chance to:

The therapist will also have a chance to:

The key point is to always ask for a free consultation. 

It can help you make an informed choice before scheduling a full session with a therapist.

If the therapist in question doesn’t offer a free consultation, make your best choice. Base this decision on how well you think you’ll connect with the therapist and how well they can help you.

And if you’re not comfortable jumping in, politely decline a session, then seek out therapists who do offer free consultations.

Sending the first email

Your first email to a new therapist should be brief.

Include only the basics and ask the necessary questions you need to make a good decision. Remember to use a professional tone, and don’t feel the need to go too in-depth in this initial email.

Here’s what to include in your email.

While this may sound like a lot, you can cover it in a handful of sentences. See below for examples.

Three free email templates you can use today

By now, you should have a comprehensive email you can send to each therapist you’re interested in working with.

Below are three templates you can choose from and customize to fit your situation.

Email Template One

Hi Miss Penelope,

My name is Carol Perez and I found you via your google maps profile. I wanted to send a message to inquire about your therapy services.

I’m a 40 year old woman in the Bay Area, and have been struggling with some sexual problems for a few years now. I saw that you’re a sex therapist so I wanted to reach out.

Ideally, I would leave therapy feeling more emotionally and sexually connected to my partner.

I’m open to online or in-person therapy. Do you offer a free phone consultation so we can see if we’re a good fit? My usual availability is weekdays from 12-1pm (on my lunch break) or after 5pm. On weekends, I’m free before 11am. Please let me know which times work for you.

Lastly, I have a few questions. I get my insurance from Cigna through my design agency job. Do you accept Cigna?

Looking forward to your response,


P.S. If you don’t have any availability at the moment, please refer me to 2-3 trusted colleagues.

Email Template Two

Hi Dr. Woodworth,

My name is Alfred G. and I came across your profile on TherapyDen. I’m a 27-year-old male and have been struggling with social anxiety since high school, so about a decade now.

I’m ready to work on this issue with help from a good therapist, and my goal would be to get out to at least 1 new social event each month.

Do you accept BCBS insurance?

I work from home and can take a call any time if you offer free consultations: 702-321-1234

If you don’t have availability, please forward this message to a therapist you trust.

Thank you,

Alfred G.

Email Template Three

Hi Sarah,

My name is Jennifer and I wanted to inquire about your therapy service. I saw on your website that you offer therapy for women dealing with body image issues. I’d love to chat about starting weekly therapy.

A little more about me, I’ve been struggling with body image issues since I was really young. I remember a lot of things that my family said to me which we can discuss on the phone. I’d love to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel like there’s anything wrong with me or my body.

Do you accept Anthem insurance?

Do you offer a free phone consultation to see if we’re a good fit for therapy?

Do you have availability for weekly appointments with a new client?

Please answer the above in your reply, and share a few times when we can chat on the phone. I’m pretty flexible with taking calls.

Thank you so much,


How to email a therapist for a friend or loved one

Sometimes we want to reach out to a therapist on behalf of a struggling loved one or friend. How does this change the calculus of emailing a therapist for the first time?

First, I applaud you for wanting to help your loved one. It’s not easy to see someone you love struggle, and by taking this step, you’re doing them a great service.

Next, make sure you have permission to reach out for this person. Tell them about the benefits of talking to someone and offer to reach out to a number of therapists to see if they’ll give a free phone consultation.

After talking to a few therapists, hopefully your friend or loved one will see a good reason to join therapy.

Here’s the template you can use once you have permission to reach out.

Emailing for a friend template

Hi miss Fang,

I’m emailing you on behalf of my cousin Guadalupe with her permission. 

Guadalupe recently went through a difficult experience and has been showing signs of depression. I wanted to reach out to see if you can offer her a free phone consultation to talk about starting therapy together.

She has Optum insurance. Do you accept this? If not, what’s your out of pocket fee? Do you offer sliding scale?

Please respond with answers to the above questions and your availability for a phone consultation. Then we can set it up so that you call Guadalupe at the agreed upon time.

Thank you in advance,


P.S. If you have any questions for myself or Guadalupe, please let me know.

Tips for a Smooth Process

To make sure the process is smooth and streamlined, here are some extra tips from my personal experience contacting dozens of therapists over the years.

Email a lot of therapists

The easiest way to find a good therapist is to email 15-20 of them. Here’s why this helps:

Follow Up

Therapists are human like the rest of us. This means that they miss an email, forget to respond, have busy periods each week, and get sidetracked as we all do.

I recommend following up one time to ensure contact has been made. 

However, if a therapist doesn’t respond to an initial email and a follow up, that may be a sign that they aren’t available for some reason.

Continue your search and you’ll find therapists with openings who are more responsive.

Take your time

When looking for mental health support, how well you connect with a therapist is the biggest predictor of success.

So, take your time when looking for a therapist. Don’t commit to one therapist too early.

In fact, feel free to suspend your commitment until you’ve completed 2 full sessions with a therapist.

This way you have enough data to make a good decision. If you decide they’re a good fit, commit to showing up for yourself. 

If not, continue your search. The right therapist will do wonders for you.

Getting the support you need

Emailing a therapist for the first time can be a little anxiety-inducing, but hopefully we’ve made the process seem simple. 

You now have three templates you can use to reach out for yourself, and one if you need to reach out on behalf of a loved one.

Follow the guidance in this post, and remember that your mental health is worth the effort. Your future self will thank you for the efforts you make today to contact a therapist.

Lastly, if you connect with a therapist who doesn’t accept your insurance, you may still be able to get out-of-network reimbursement for your sessions together. Let Thrizer submit your claim to insurance and hunt down the reimbursement for you. 


This blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, business, medical, or insurance advice. Laws relating to health insurance and coverage are complex, and their application can vary widely depending on individual circumstances and state laws. Similarly, decisions regarding mental health care should be made with the guidance of qualified health care providers. We strongly recommend consulting with a qualified attorney or legal advisor, insurance representative, and/or medical professional to discuss your specific situation and how the laws apply to you or your situation.

About the Author
Brandon Grill

Brandon Grill is a mental health copywriter and marketer based in Las Vegas, NV. He loves helping mental health professionals build fulfilling businesses. You can find Brandon going on a walk with his adorable nephews.