For those that don’t know, GoodTherapy.org is a directory site that therapists pay to have a listing in. I was one such therapist from 2011 until just a couple days ago, so roughly 2.5 years. During that time I only received three clients that I could verify found me through GT. Sure, I would get emails from prospective clients from GT, but it seems that GT has a much higher percentage of “tire-kickers” than any of the other directories I belong to. People would contact me through GT, but just not follow through to becoming clients. I think one of the reasons for this is that unlike Psychology Today, GT doesn’t allow people to search according to health insurance. There’s also no where to put what insurances you take in your profile unless you write it into your narrative, which I did, but let’s face it, people don’t read through your whole narrative.
When I called GT to suggest that they add insurance as a search parameter I was told “Good Therapy doesn’t cater to those kinds of clients”. I interpreted this as meaning that GT is catering to cash-paying clients, but there is nothing on their website to indicate that, nor have I ever gotten a cash client from GT. This also seems to be in contradiction to their perceived “mission”. The website comes across as very preachy. Even the name is suggestive that if a therapist isn’t listed in this directory it’s because they practice bad therapy. When I initially joined, there was also the implication that the directory was exclusive to “good therapists” who practice only certain types of therapy styles. However, I think that just about anyone could join if they’re willing to pay the money.
GoodTherapy has not responded well to criticism in the past. On the website complaintsboard.com, a GT member complained that GT had been double charging him every month and that he did not find the website useful. One of the people who responded to the review, Sara, a therapist in Seattle, claimed to be a GT member and went on a long rant about how wonderful GT is and how she thought the original poster was a scammer and posting a fake complaint. Another user then responded that actually there was no therapist named Sara in GT’s directory. They also noted that GT seems to have a business practice of trying to silence anyone who posts negative or critical reviews of them. I find this to be a very bad business practice and rather shameful. It also goes in contradiction to everything GT claims to stand for. There’s nothing “good” about paying people to post fraudulent comments on the internet to try to ruin a therapist’s reputation.
So why did I stay with Good Therapy for so long? Well, several months ago I called with the intention of ending my membership. I decided it was foolish to pay for marketing that simply didn’t work. When I called they offered me a free month and said they would “optimize” my listing. She also pointed out that there was really no way to know for sure how many clients I was or wasn’t getting from GT. I decided to give it another chance. Well, despite being optimized, I saw no difference. I didn’t receive a single new client from GT since they improved my listing.
Two days ago I saw a post by therapist Kat Mindenhall stating that despite never really getting any referrals from GoodTherapy, she was still a member because she was afraid that maybe she secretly was getting referrals from them but didn’t know it. Other therapists chimed in reiterating the same sentiment about GoodTherapy. After reading that, I decided enough was enough and called GT immediately to cancel my membership. It was surprising difficult. The customer service rep was very pushy and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I had to say repeatedly that I wanted to cancel my membership and held my ground. The rep stated again that there was no way to know how many clients I was getting from them and she was sure it was a lot based on the stats they had about my profile. Finally, they allowed me to cancel. It was not a pleasant experience, and again, I find their business practice to be in contradiction to their mission.
So, is GoodTherapy.org worth the money? I think with all things that the proof is in the pudding. Me and many therapists I know have not had success with them, yet I have also read reviews from people that do find them worth the money. If you are interested in GT, try them for three months and see if you get any results. And I mean actual results, not this “you can never really tell” stuff that the reps try to sell you. If you don’t get results, don’t spend any money on marketing that doesn’t work.