How to Choose a Therapist: Taking the Steps Towards Emotional Health

How to Choose a Therapist

At some point in our lives, many of us feel overwhelmed and want to talk through our problems with a therapist. Successful therapy has the power to transform your life and better help you understand not only yourself, but also those you are close to. However, finding a therapist who is a good fit may be a process of trial and error. As you begin your research, keep our tips for how to choose a therapist in mind.

1.) Decide on the Type of Therapist You Would Like to See

Therapists have different credentials. Some of the more popular types of therapists include licensed counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Each will differ on the amount of education and training they have received, as well as their approach to therapy. Psychologists and counselors tend to specialize in talk therapy, whereas psychiatrists are medical doctors and can prescribe medication. Some individuals may elect to see both a psychiatrist and a psychologist to address their problems from different sides.

2.) Ensure That You Can Make the Investment

Therapy can be costly. Due to the nature of therapy, many sessions are typically required over a period of time before you are able to work through your issues. It is important to ensure that you have the money to devote to therapy before you make the personal and time investment in a therapist. It would be disheartening if you had to stop your sessions midway through due to financial reasons. Some therapists will be covered by your insurance, so check with your insurance to see what your coverage entails and which therapists are within your network.

3.) Ask People You Trust for Recommendations

Finding the right therapist is not easy when you do not know where to start. You can speed up the process by asking friends, family, co-workers, your family doctor, and other people you trust for recommendations. Find out exactly what it is they like about their therapists and why they recommend them.

4.) Look for Therapists Online

If you do not know anyone who has a therapist they like, consider searching online for therapists in your area. Avoid therapists who are trying hard to sell themselves online. Instead, look for therapists who describe their philosophy and how they work with patients clearly. Many health insurance websites will also have a search tool that will provide you with a list of therapists and their contact information.

5.) Consider the Therapist’s Gender

Almost everyone has an instinctive preference regarding a therapist’s gender. Many women prefer to work with female therapists, because they feel like men may not be able to relate to their experiences on the same level.

6.) Talk on the Phone with a Few Therapists

Good therapists are often busy, but they should be able to take 5-10 minutes out of their day to talk with you regardless. Tell them a little bit about your problems and ask whether they have dealt with similar issues in the past.

Ask About Fess, Credentials, and Specializations

Ask about their fees, confirm that they are licensed and certified to provide psychotherapy, and ask about their specialties. Be wary of therapists who have a broad range of specializations, because those individuals may not have the right experience to give you the specific help you need.

Have They Been in Therapy Themselves?

Another important question to ask therapists is whether they have been in therapy themselves. Therapists who have not worked through their own issues are less likely to provide effective therapy. If a therapist seems impatient or defensive on the phone, write him or her off your list. Your therapist needs to be someone you trust and feel comfortable speaking with.

7.) Make Appointments with Your Top Choices

If you can afford it, make appointments with the top few therapists you felt rapport with on the phone. Meeting the therapists in person is important, because it will help you determine how you will get along and relate to each other. You will be sharing deeply personal issues with your therapist, so you have to be careful about choosing a therapist you feel a connection with. Trust your own instincts. Not all therapists are going to be right for you.

There are many different problems that can make you feel sad or overwhelmed, including marital issues, financial problems, job loss, stress, depression, and substance abuse. If the stress of daily life has become debilitating, consider working with a therapist. The right therapist could help you work through your problems and lead a healthier, happier, and more productive life. Now that you know how to choose a therapist, take the time to find the right therapist for your needs so you do not have to face your problems alone.