I don’t know what your path to therapy looked like, but mine started with a lot of procrastination. “I should probably try therapy,” I told myself for about a year, but didn’t know where to start. I went so far as to google for “therapists in San Francisco” before being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of results and not having it in my head for another three months.

So when I was approached to try out the Frame online therapy platform, it seemed like a sign to me. Frame connects you with therapists based on your needs and communication style, so in other words, he does one of the hardest parts for you: filtering your options. Frame is also completely free; you don’t start paying anyone until you actually start therapy. (Note that Frame is currently only available in California, although the site is considering expanding to other states.)

I tried Frame over the course of a few weeks in 2021 and finally found a therapist I’ve seen since. Here is what my experience looked like.

How to use the frame

As someone who gets easily overwhelmed (see the anecdote above), one thing I liked about Frame was the simplicity of the process. Signing up was quick and easy, and it doesn’t take long before you see your therapist’s matches.

  1. Create an account with your email. You can register on the Frame website.
  2. Fill out the admission form. As soon as you create your account, you are taken to a three-part intake form. Some of these are logistical, such as specifying whether you are looking for couples or individual therapy and providing your general location (zip code). Next, Frame asks you to select your reasons for looking for therapy and the communication style that works best for you, such as whether you prefer structured or fluid sessions, or an active therapist over a more passive therapist.
  3. Browse your therapist matches. After completing your intake form, Frame sends you the top six therapists that best suit your needs. You can read more about their specialties, interests and approach to therapy on their profiles.
  4. Send as many therapists as you want. Once you have identified the therapists that interest you, you can connect with them on the Frame discussion platform. This part can be nerve-racking, but as soon as you open the chat, a Frame message tells you what to do. In my messages, I just told the therapist that I was interested in setting up an introductory call with them and asked them when they were available to talk. I messaged six therapists and got responses from four of them.
  5. Set up introductory calls. Introductory calls are like a 20 minute conversation with a therapist to see if they meet your needs. I organized calls with three therapists and in all fairness I was extremely anxious about each one, but Frame gives advice on what to expect on an introductory call to help you get on with it. feel more comfortable.
  6. Choose your therapist. Frame makes it easy to refuse therapists who don’t interest you by simply checking a “Not suitable” box in the chat. I took a few days to think about it, then I texted the therapist I wanted to move on with. We then left Frame to make an appointment on his personal site. (Frame doesn’t offer therapy directly through their website, so once you’ve chosen a therapist, you switch to their platform, whether it’s teletherapy or in person.)

What I liked about the frame

Frame didn’t completely alleviate my anxiety about finding a therapist (and I didn’t expect it), but it certainly helped. This platform did a lot of the scary work for me and provided tips and advice for tasks she couldn’t complete, like making introductory calls or messaging with therapists. Here’s what I liked about my experience with Frame:

  • Frame streamlines what is usually a complicated and intimidating process. Frame took a huge, scary task – finding a therapist – and broke it down into a series of simple tasks: fill out the questionnaire, browse therapists, start messaging, make an introductory call. Instead of locating therapists on my own and setting up calls through separate websites – which is a lot of anxiety-inducing work – I just had to use a platform and received advice. at each step.
  • It has helpful articles and tips for the parts that worried me. In addition to the correspondence and messaging platform, Frame offers articles on the more nerve-wracking aspects of starting therapy, such as how to prepare for an introductory call and what to expect when starting therapy. your first therapy session. These articles are often written by or include interviews with therapists, and it was convenient that they were presented directly on the platform.
  • You are not starting from scratch. Finding a therapist is difficult, and an algorithm won’t be able to tell you how your personality will match up with someone else’s (no matter what dating apps tell you). But I liked that Frame did the initial triage for me, as I knew the therapists I was considering were at least able to meet my needs, even though our personalities didn’t end up blurring together. This gave me a verified and more personalized list of options than I would find on Google.
  • The frame is free. It’s free to sign up for Frame, message therapists, and make your introductory calls. You pay nothing until you actually start therapy (when you pay the therapist directly).

Did the framework work for me?

I contacted my therapist on Frame and have had several sessions with her already, and so far it’s been going well. I picked her out of the three introductory calls I’ve had, and while I feel our communication styles match the best, it is a testament to Frame’s matching system that I might have seen. myself with one of the three therapists I spoke to.

Before trying Frame, I was so anxious about finding a therapist that I had pushed him away for months. I had built it in my head to be this long, impossible thing that I didn’t even know where to start, which is why Frame’s approach worked well for me. Each step was small, simple, and low-stakes: if I decided I didn’t like a therapist, I could end the conversation at any time, before or after an introductory call. And I didn’t feel like I was doing it all on my own, trying to figure this process out on my own. There was always a set of instructions or article to walk me through the next step, offering additional help without being overwhelming.

Frame has worked for me and I have already recommended it to some of my friends who want to try therapy for the first time. For anyone who feels lost when it comes to starting therapy, without even knowing where to start, Frame is worth a try.