Phone: 805-756-2511
Fax:     805-756-6525

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM | M-F
Building 27

Community Referrals

Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and an important step towards your wellbeing.  You might have landed at this website after talking with a provider at Counseling Services, or you might have found this on your own, wanting to understand how to connect to other resources outside of Cal Poly for your mental health support.  

There are a wide range of community providers and services that you might be interested in working with. Here are a few tips for finding a great local therapist.   


How to find a therapist 

  1. Call the customer service number on your insurance card and ask for a list of providers in your area, or visit your insurance carrier’s website and use the “find a doctor” (or similar) tool to find a list of providers in the area.

  2. Look at the list of agencies and low cost providers at the bottom of this page.  

  3. Use the Psychology Today Therapist Finder page: 

  4.  If you're open to telehealth, use the Telehealth Search Option
    • On the left hand side of the screen you are able to narrow your search by insurance carrier, presenting concern and other variables. 

    • Most therapists will share a picture or a short video, and write about their approach to counseling.  The profile can be a good first step in getting to know if it’s someone you want to work with or if you think it will be a good fit

Factors to Consider When Looking For a Therapist 

The relationship, or fit, between therapist and client accounts for over 80% of what works in therapy. Make sure you trust your therapist and feel comfortable with them. If you attend a session or two and you don’t feel good with the therapist, talk to the therapist about your concerns, or make plans to go somewhere else! 

Potential questions to ask therapists when you call. 

  • Are you taking new clients? 

  • How often can I be seen by you? (Once a week is fairly typical) 

  • What is the cost per session?  Do you have a sliding scale or special rates for Cal Poly students? Are you able to provide a Superbill? (This is if you have a PPO Insurance) 

  • What is your therapy style?  How do you typically operate in session? 

  • Do you have any experience working with my type of concern? 

Do you have PPO or HMO Insurance? 

  • You can find out if you have a PPO or HMO by looking at your insurance card. 

  • If you have an HMO, you will need to see a therapist that is already "in network" with your insurance. See the steps above to find someone who is already in your network of providers. 

  • If you have a PPO, you can choose almost any therapist. Here’s how that works: 

    • You pay the therapist’s fees up front. 

    • The therapist will provide you with a Superbill, which is a detailed receipt for your insurance company. 

    • You can submit that Superbill to your insurance for full or partial reimbursement (depending on your insurance). 

      • There is an app called Better Claims that makes this process easy. Just take a picture of your insurance card and your Superbill and they take care of the rest.

Always consult with your insurance carrier prior to your first appointment to be sure that they will cover a particular therapist. 

If You Have Kaiser Permanente Insurance 

In some instances, Kaiser Permanente will approve its members to receive services from community providers for mental health-related care on an outpatient basis.  In order to request this, call the Department of Psychiatry (NOT Member Services) in your Kaiser Permanente service area and explain why you are requesting treatment from a community provider (i.e., discuss your symptoms and lack of access to a Kaiser facility in SLO County).  If you are immediately refused, you can ask to speak to the manager and make your request to them.  You do not need a referral to the Department of Psychiatry from your PCP.   

Approval for these referrals generally comes after you have been assessed by a Kaiser Permanente provider in the Department of Psychiatry (at a Kaiser facility).  You will need to schedule an "Intake" with someone in that department and discuss your symptoms.  If you have been seeing a counselor, you can sign a Release of Information for your counselor to speak with your Kaiser-assigned provider.  Ultimately, the Kaiser provider you see in the Department of Psychiatry will make the referral to another treatment center.   


If You Have CenCal Medi-Cal Insurance 

CenCal Medi-Cal partners with The Holman Group to administer behavioral health benefits for their customers.  The Holman Group has a contracted network of behavioral health providers throughout San Luis Obispo County who you may contact directly to schedule an appointment.  Here is a list of providers contracted with The Holman Group.  You may also contact The Holman Group toll free at 1-800-321-2843.   


If You Do Not Have Insurance 

Contact the San Luis Obispo County Health Care Access and Navigation Team where they can help you understand some available options.


Intensive Outpatient Services 

Balance Treatment of San Luis Obispo 
1551 Bishop Street, Ste. 130-A, SLO 
2 miles from Cal Poly 


Inpatient Services 

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital 
Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Care 
400 W. Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 
95 miles from Cal Poly 


The resources below provide low or no cost services.  Please contact the resource directly with any questions and to see if you are eligible. 

Low Fee Options 

Online therapy: 

Talk Space 

Straight Talk Counseling 

Online national directory of affordable and sliding scale counseling services. 

Transitions Mental Health Association
784 High Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Contact the Central Coast Hotline and request an intake with the Brief Therapy Clinic 800-783-0607

San Luis Obispo Counseling at Cal Poly 
Cotchett Education (Building 2) 
(on campus) 

Community Counseling Center  
1129 Marsh Street, SLO 
3 miles from Cal Poly 

Hospice of SLO 
Counseling for those whose loved ones are terminally ill or have passed away  
1304 Pacific Street, SLO 
2.5 miles from Cal Poly 

Wilshire Hospice 
Individual and group grief counseling 
277 South Street, Suite R, SLO 
3 miles from Cal Poly 


Lumina Alliance 
Supports and empowers survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or intimate partner violence and their families. 
24-hour crisis and information line: 805-545-8888 
Business line: 805-781-6400 


Alternatives to seeing a licensed mental health provider

When your concerns are related to mild symptoms, the social environment, or more general wellbeing, you may benefit from peer counseling.   


Online Peer Counseling 

There are a group of trained peers (not affiliated with Cal Poly) available online.  There is a moderate fee for this services. Visit the Peer Collective website for additional information. 

REAL team are Cal Poly students trained and certified through NASPA providing consultations for other Cal Poly Students.  Consultations are private one-on-one meeting with Peer Health coaches in a comfortable, welcoming environment.


Here are some specialty agencies you might consider: 

COPE SLO of Cottage Hospital 
Intensive Outpatient Center 
628 California Blvd, Ste. A 
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 

Addiction & Substance Use Agencies 

Assessment & Testing 

Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Eating Disorders 


Low Fee Options 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 



Grief: Covid Grief Network 

Veteran's Services 



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