Finding the Right Therapist
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
It can feel daunting to #findatherapist, but there are steps to take that will make it easy and successful.
You have talked to yourself, your family, and your closest friends, but still, your worries are not going away. Is there a reason they are not returning my texts anymore? If you have reached the point where you do not want to weigh down your valued relationships with a problem that seems to have no solution, or if it is just to private to share with others, than you know it is a good time to reach out to speak to a professional.
Remember, seeking #counseling to make your life better is a sign of strength, not weakness. Pat yourself on the back!
What should I be looking for in a #therapist? How do I find the person who will be just the right fit for me?
Chemistry matters, even in therapy
If you have ever had a doctor or dentist who did not seem to "get" you, then you are one step off the blocks looking for your therapist. Most of us, after we have tried for a few appointments, will switch to a new practitioner if we no longer feel comfortable. Your relationship with your therapist is the most critical piece in your healing. You will want to work with someone whose knowledge and professional demeanor you respect, who is empathic to what you are going through - no matter how big or how small - and who does not use blame, shame or guilt as a tool in your treatment. Just as in other important relationships, your relationship with your therapist may not always be easy: you might find counseling uncomfortable sometimes; you may not like an observation s/he makes; you may feel impatient, misunderstood, or frustrated. But you should always feel valued, cared for, emotionally safe and respected. It may take a few tries with different therapists before you find the one that fits your needs. That is okay. Trust me, when you build a strong therapeutic relationship with your therapist, the search will be worth it.
I have checked under rocks, spun the globe and put my finger on it, and asked the barista at Starbucks, but I still haven't found a therapist. What should I do?
Ask. Read. Call.
If you have found this blog post, you are already in one of the right places. First, ask people you know and trust for their recommendations. If you have a friend who has had a good counseling experience, ask him who he saw. Or, if you want to keep it private, make a call to your doctor, minister, or school counselor and ask who they might recommend.
Next, do your research. Google the names given to you and see if you can find information on their practice, often listed on #PsychologyToday. License numbers and affiliations should be listed. How many years have they been practicing? Do they have areas of expertise? Do they take insurance or will they work with me? Where is the office and are appointments available when I can go? Websites often help you "get to know" your therapist on a more personal level.
Finally, after referrals and research, it is time reach out. Pick up your cell and tap in that number. It is very possible you will get an answering message - many therapists are in small practices without a receptionist and may be with a client. Leave your name, the reason for your call, and the best time to reach you, and wait for the call back. This is a bonus for you, because your therapist's responsiveness is an important indicator of a future working relationship. Therapists are beyond busy, but conscientious ones have created the good working practice to get back to inquiries within 24 hours. If you do not hear back in a reasonable time, it is time to keep looking.
You are ready to tackle the search for your therapist, and take giant steps forward toward improving you life. Good luck - you got this!