Deciding to go to therapy is already a huge step towards better mental health and high quality of life. However, finding the right therapist can get challenging and requires much more than a simple online search.
Why is Finding the Right Therapist Crucial?
Therapy is an excellent way to cope with mental health disorders, stress, anxiety, and relationship problems. However, to achieve these benefits, you must work with a therapist that is a good fit for you. Just because someone is a good therapist doesn’t mean they are right for you.
For therapy to be successful, you must bond with your therapist and feel safe with them to be willing to open up and share personal feelings. Being vulnerable with someone you don’t feel comfortable with or that you don’t trust will get challenging. As a result, you will hide your feelings or avoid addressing specific topics in your life, keeping you from getting the help you need. In contrast, when you find a therapist that you can open up to and trust, you’ll experience much more benefits from each session.
Ask the Right Person for Recommendation
Finding the right therapist begins with asking for referrals from the right people. Right people mean people you trust and have gone through similar problems as you.
If you are dealing with pain from a breakup and you know your friend overcame it by going to therapy, ask them if they’d recommend their therapist to you. It’s not that you and your friends must have identical issues, but knowing your future therapist helped someone you trust with the similar problem you are now dealing with will give you more confidence and motivation.
Consider finding a therapist who identifies with your lived experience
All therapists are compassionate and understanding, and simply put, that’s their job. Still, having a therapist from your community or someone with experience working with people in the community can make a significant difference.
“In most cases, you’re going to foster a relationship easier and quicker with someone who is similar to you.”
Not that you can’t get adequate help from a therapist from a different community, but finding someone who went through the same hardship as you did might help you foster relationships much more quickly and achieve desired outcomes.
For example, suppose you’re going to therapy because you have problems living in a homophobic environment as an LGBTQ+ person. In that case, a therapist who is familiar with LGBTQ+ issues and has dealt with the same problems might help you better. Or at least knowing they are like you will help you open up to them more easily.
Determine Your Goals
Setting your goals for therapy is essential for finding the right therapist. When you want to start treatment for addressing a particular issue, determining it will help you narrow your options.
Common therapy goals include:
- Dealing with trauma
- Changing Behaviors
- Overcoming phobias
- Establishing or maintaining relationships
- Helping to cope
- Personal development
- Anger management
Let your therapist know your goals upfront once you know what you want and expect from therapy. Some of these goals may require more specialized training, so it’s helpful for your therapist to know in advance what you are dealing with and need to achieve.
Sometimes you might not be sure what you want to address in these sessions, but you feel you need to talk to someone. In that case, make that clear to the person you are working with, and they will help you identify the problem that’s bothering you.
Do Your Research
Once you have a list or even a name of a recommended therapist, it’s essential to learn more about them before deciding whether they are suitable for you. Check out their website and see their experience, services, billing options, and fees. Do they provide online consultation, or is their office close to where you live?
Ask the Right Questions
It’s not only the therapists who ask questions, but you also have to ask them to see if you are a good match. These include questions about their experience, education, practice, area of specialty, etc. Many therapists offer a free over-the-phone or online consultation. During this conversation, you can communicate what you are going through and determine with the therapist whether their services are a good fit for your situation. If you think you found the right therapist, you can schedule an appointment, and if not, continue your search.