Searching for Providers

Many students and families request that they be given names of 'good' therapists, or a list of local providers that they can choose from. The Office of the Dean of Students does not make specific provider recommendations for students.


Selecting a therapist is a highly personal matter. Students present with a wide variety of treatment needs and preferences regarding providers. A professional who works very well with one individual may not be a good choice for another person. Students also need to consider the cost of services, location of providers, and the type of services they are seeking.


In addition, USF students have a wide variety of insurance plans, with varying coverage and provider networks. Provider availability for new referrals, as well as the insurance they may accept, can change quickly. As such, it is not possible for USF to maintain an accurate, up to date list of local providers and their availability.

Provider Search via Insurance Coverage

It is strongly recommended that students--if they plan to use insurance benefits—start their search for providers through their insurance company. This will ensure that students receive the most up to date information about providers who accept their insurance coverage.

It is also important that students understand basic information about how insurance works. 

The Office of the Dean of Students provides general information about how to conduct a search and a list of major insurance company search websites and company specific search information (if available) to assist students in their search. If your insurance company is not listed, contact information can generally be found on the back of your insurance card.

Provider Search--Not Through Insurance

Students may decide not to utilize their insurance when seeking services (often due to associated costs and/or privacy concerns), or may find themselves without insurance due to circumstances like loss of employment. In these cases, students may opt to pay out of pocket for services--this means that the full cost of services would be directly paid by the student. Please note that therapy sessions in San Francisco often cost $150 and up per appointment. Psychiatry costs are higher.

There are providers in the community who offer services on a sliding scale basis--this means that the cost of services is based on client income. USF offers a list of sliding scale providers for student reference.

Students may also choose to search for providers via Google, Psychology Today, or Zoc Doc.

Additional information about local mental health and community resources, including recovery groups and issue/population specific resources, is available via the San Francisco Free Mental Health Chart (also available in Spanish), as well as 211. Please note that not all services listed on these resources may be applicable/appropriate to student needs. (Students who are outside of the San Francisco area can contact 211 locally, either by dialing 211 from their phone, or googling 211 and the name of their town/city--211 local resource information is available nationwide.)

If students find themselves without insurance, they may wish to explore opting in to the health insurance offered by USF (Aetna) or research coverage available through Covered California.

Local San Francisco Providers

While USF does not make specific recommendations for providers, and does not maintain a referral list, some students and families have indicated that they have found it helpful to know about larger group practices—for both therapy and psychiatry--as a place to potentially start their search: