Practical Tips For Choosing a Therapist
Choosing the right therapist when you’re unfamiliar with the therapy field can be quite challenging. You read countless profiles and visit several websites that are filled with clinical jargon. Trying to decipher the credentials after their names, and make sense of the acronyms throughout the websites can get aggravating rather quickly. I’ve created this guide with you in mind because the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Did you know that research tells us that the STRONGEST PREDICTOR of your success in therapy is based on your relationship with your therapist? Wow! It’s imperative that you are working with someone with whom you have a strong connection.
Here’s the first, and what I believe to be the most important point that I need to make when it comes to picking a counselor…if you have a list of counselors to call, please do not just choose the one who calls you back first! It pays to do your research, and waiting the extra few hours to book with the right therapist is worth it. I usually am able to return calls within 3 hours, and I’m amazed at how many people have chosen to go with whoever answered the phone first.
Let’s take a look at some practical tips.
Take a week to do some research. Talk to friends and family and see if you can get a referral from someone that has gone to therapy. We like doing business with people that we know, like, and trust, so use other people’s experiences to your advantage.
One of the best ways to start your research is by reading about their specialty areas. Does the counselor work with your area of need?
When you come across websites that have a long list of specialty areas, be cautious. Has the therapist gone through extensive training in every single area listed? There’s a saying in the field that if you’re helping everyone, you’re not really helping anyone. Try to get connected with someone who specifically specializes in your area of need.
It also doesn’t hurt to look at some of the pictures of the therapists you’re considering. A professional photo conveys a different message than a selfie. I’m not recommending that you judge a book by its cover; I’m suggesting that you look at the whole picture rather than a snippet.
When you schedule your first session, and you meet your therapist for the first time, if you cannot imagine telling them the personal and intimate details of your life, then it’s not the right fit. Even if they are a very highly trained and specialized professional, if you feel uncomfortable, then the therapist is not the right fit for you. It’s better to figure that out sooner rather than later.
To avoid frustration, try picking three therapists, and schedule an appointment with each of them. This allows you to experience three different sessions and allows you to make a better decision as to who is the right fit. This approach should eliminate having to go back to square one and starting over.
If you’re struggling to find the right therapist, I can help. Even if we don’t work together, I can help you get in touch with someone who specializes in your area.