Top 5 – Finding a therapist who’s right for me

1.       Reasons why I’m seeking a therapist

Take a few minutes to really ask yourself what you think you may need help with.  Knowing what issues you need help with will assist you in your search for a particular therapist.  Try to narrow down your search by looking for a therapist who has expertise in the area in which you need help. 

2.       When searching for a therapist, think about what the characteristics are in a therapist that will help you to feel comfortable and more likely to engage in the therapeutic process

Some people are more comfortable with women; some with men.  Some people feel more comfortable with a therapist who is has a particular style, such as a one who listens more, or one that more active in probing questions. Though there’s no right or wrong, it might be wise to gravitate more toward therapists who have characteristics you’re comfortable with. Feeling comfortable with a therapist is one step closer toward opening up and beginning the therapeutic process.

3.       Check experience and Licensure

Anyone can call or advertise him/herself as therapist. If you are looking for a professional, it’s important you check the legitimacy of their license with the regulation boards. It is also important to pay attention to what they specialize in or the amount of experience they have in the area you may need help in.

4.       In the first session

It may be wise to write down a list of questions you have for your therapist. Think about what is going to help make this therapeutic relationship work for you. You may want to know more information about their experience or expertise, payments and cancellations, if they are available for emergency crisis calls, or perhaps asking, “Do you think you can help me?” 

5.       Maybe it’s time for a switch… 

Though this has been mentioned before, it truly is key to have a connection or trusting bond with your therapist. More than any other factor, (experience, years in training, theoretical background, etc) the connection that you have with your therapist is this biggest predictor of successful outcomes in therapy. Ask yourself if you feel you can trust your therapist, and if you continue to be open and honest in talking about difficult things with your therapist. If not, and progress toward goals have become stagnate over an extended period of time, than it might be wise to consider researching other potential therapists. Try not to feel guilty or shameful in any way for considering this option. The most important factor in the treatment process is your health and you making progress toward your treatment goals.