Annie Hoch-South white icon with cursive initials flowing to print font
Annie Hoch-South black icon with cursive initials flowing to print font

Finding a Therapist

journey map of finding a therapist with archetypes

Project Details

UX/UI Project | January 2021 - Current

Our society is changing the way it views mental health needs and more people are interested in personal care. Often times, people searching for a therapist are at a low point in their life, with little emotional energy to spare. The process needs to maximize comfort, minimize burden, and increase ease while identifying a therapist that is relatable, qualified, and trustworthy.

My Role

In the first six weeks, I worked with three other team members to answer the question:

"How might we help patients find a therapist who is right for their individual needs?"

Over this period of time, we each played an equal role in conducting user interviews, defining behavioral archetypes and creating a journey map, putting together a competitive analysis of primary, secondary, and tertiary competitors, creating low fidelity prototypes based on concepts, conducting concept testing, and bringing it all together in a study findings report.

journey map planning on Mural with team
Journey map planning with the team on Mural

Project Summary

The goal of this project was to create an app concept for finding the right therapist for one's individual needs.

The controller archetype
The controller archetype
The gut feeler archetype
The gut feeler archetype

From sixteen initial interviews and research, we created archetypes and analyzed their needs and pain points to come up with four initial concepts and low-fidelity prototypes. These concepts were tested again with an additional six individuals. We took that data and created a final merged concept.

individual app concepts for finding a therapist
Initial four concepts
merged concept from the four initial concepts for finding a therapist app
Final merged concept

The resulting final concept combined the most well-received features from the initial four concepts and prototypes.


Some specific problems we addressed in this project were:

  • Meeting users where they are on the therapist search journey, taking into account varying levels of therapist/therapy experience.
  • Navigating insurance and payment.
  • Facilitating patient-to-therapist communication.
  • Preference filtering and matching.
  • Access to mental health education and resources.
  • Therapist availability and scheduling.

key findings discoveries on Mural with team
Key findings with the team on Mural

Some of the reoccurring pain points we came across in our research that this project solves are that people didn't know what to expect or where to start their search, scheduling conflicts and therapist unavailability, insurance and payment issues, feeling overwhelmed with options, and the inability to actually connect with the chosen therapist on a deeper, emotional level.

Some of the technical constraints that we had to keep in mind were privacy risks since users would have to share their location and profile information in order to receive recommendations close by and based on their needs and personality.


To solve those challenges, we decided on these solutions:

  • Establish a user profile using a baseline quiz to understand their needs and offer recommendations.
  • Insurance information and payment options are shown upfront.
  • Include a messaging system and interaction portal.
  • Provide therapist recommendations based on profile, and allow users to search and filter based on location, type of therapy, specialties, availability, insurance, gender, etc. In addition, allow the user to "meet" the therapist before booking an official appointment to gauge personality match and relatability without commitment.
  • Offer passive and active learning opportunities from credible sources.
  • Show therapists' calendar and availability upfront with an easy to use scheduling interface.

These features addressed our most important key findings pertaining to discovery, accessibility, financials, motivation, streamlined search, education, reviews and recommendations, and patient-therapist interaction.

ranked app features
Hierarchy of app features


Where do I go from here?

The next steps will be to look at the longevity of the app over time and obtain a deeper understanding of users' desires at all levels of the search process. From interviews and research, my team learned that the process of finding a therapist must be the easiest step.

The features that should be included and the ultimate design that I will individually come up with should prioritize core elements while creating a satisfying overall experience.

This project is still a work in progress and will be finished at the completion of my certificate in June 2021. I will continue to update and post my work here. Want to know more sooner? Feel free to contact me through LinkedIn or email.