Frequently, we encounter challenges that have an impact on our lives and mental health. In some situations, we need to seek further help but are not always sure what help is out there.
Once we have decided to reach out and seek therapy, whether its for physical or mental issues, we want to find someone that we feel we can trust and someone who can truly help us.
Remember that choosing a therapist is a very personal matter. And while there are lots of therapists offering their services, finding someone that really helps you can take a bit of effort and trial and error, especially if you have never seen a therapist before.
It’s always advisable, where applicable, to seek guidance from your physician first. Additionally, Here are a few tips that could help you in your search for the right one:
#1. Research on what Therapist you need first
Research! Research! Research! This is the most important step in finding the right therapist for you. First, you need to identify the problem you’re facing, then do extensive research on the type of therapist that offers to provide a solution for that particular problem.
It’s important to find a therapist who you will work well with. Here are some of the factors you may need to consider:
- Gender – Will you be more comfortable with a man or woman being your therapist?
- Age – Do you want to work with someone older, younger, or around your age?
- Religion or beliefs – Does it really matter if the therapist has a particular religious affiliation to you?
- What type of therapist do you need? Your doctor may have helped to provide some direction on this.
- Are there any governing bodies that can help find the right therapist you need?
Once you can ask yourself these questions, it will help you to make your decisions on who you can work best with.
#2. Find out if your Therapist has experience
This is an important factor to consider before getting into therapy, do not get into therapy with someone who has little or no experience.
After you have researched the therapist you need, you will need to find out if your therapist has had experience in dealing with your concerns. Be sure to read their work history to see what areas of experience they have, and any case studies they detail.
Word of mouth recommendations from your neighbours, friends, and colleagues can also be useful.
#3. Look for Qualifications
Is the therapist licensed or qualified? Each state (if you’re in the US) is responsible for making sure they are competent and qualified enough to provide their services. In the UK and other parts of the world, there are similar licencing and qualifications needed before you can practice. Be careful, not all qualifications are equal and not all therapists have the qualifications they say they do.
Ask your therapist for proof of qualification, do some checks on the types of qualifications that they should have, research into their biography their work history and their level of experience.
#4. Find a therapist that fits within your budget
You will need to find out in advance what the fees will cost you, the charge for missed sessions, and how long the therapy will take. If you have insurance, check you are covered and what additional costs you may have to pay.
Though cheap is not always better, hiring a therapist that offers fees within your budget is important to ensure that you are not put under further stress managing the finances to support the therapy.
#5. Look for a busy Therapist
Ask around, find some word of mouth recommendations about the therapist you intend to try. Find out where the therapist is located – in a clinic, community mental health centre, medical school, or independent practice.
Find out if the therapist is a busy one. You don’t want to hire someone that has few clients or infrequent clients. Ask about the hours available for your therapy and if they will see you in an emergency.
#6. Trust your guts
If you are having telephone conversation sessions with your therapist, you need to notice how you feel. You need to pay attention to whether you feel weird and awkward or relaxed and at ease.
If you are in a room with your new therapist, notice how you feel in his or her presence. Do you feel heard when you speak? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel reasonably okay with this person?
It may take some time to determine if you have picked the right therapist, if you feel that it isn’t a good match, you need to know when to quit, if it isn’t working for you. If you’re not getting any improvements then you need to find another therapist or method to help you.
#7. Stay committed
Finding the best therapist for you and your needs is important, however, while the process of finding someone you think you can connect with seems a little daunting, it’s worth the effort.
When you find someone you feel comfortable with, you need to take your therapy sessions seriously. Typically the therapist should guide you into how long treatment will take and how long it will be until you start to see improvements. Therefore, it’s advisable to stick to these guidelines and then reassess to see if you are getting the benefits promised.