How to find the right therapist for you.
Have you reached a challenging point in your life, feel stuck and unable to handle it on your own?
Perhaps you’ve decided to seek assistance, only to be faced with an overwhelming number of therapists to choose between.
How do you know which mental health practitioner is right for you?
The following guide aims to navigate you through your decision in three simple steps.
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Check the practitioner’s qualifications and professional affiliations.
Professional memberships are often an indicator of the therapists’ qualifications and their ability to practice, as their education often has been verified by experts. It might also suggest that the individual is receiving continuous professional training, keeping up with developments in their field and accessing regular supervision.
Has the practitioner an approach that is a good match with your issues?
For example, short term action-oriented therapy vs. in-depth psychoanalytical therapy. Make sure that you are comfortable with the type of approaches the therapist practices. Some therapy types are more action oriented often with feedback and focused on building coping skills and managing symptoms. Whereas other approaches could be more focused on exploring and detangling past issues in an in-depth manner.
Is the therapist specialised and trained in the area you seek assistance with?
If you aim to work on a specific issue, e.g., a phobia or an eating disorder, look for someone who is focused on and experienced in this specialism. Ideally a suitable therapist would demonstrate strong professional boundaries and referring on if there was an issue they have little or no experience working with.
Does the way therapy is delivered suit you?
Do you need a therapist that is flexible about online or face to face therapy? What time of the day or weekdays vs weekend would be most suitable for you? Be clear on your preferences as this will impact your commitment to regular appointments.
How much are you willing or able to pay for the services?
In general therapy is not a quick fix, and to get as much as possible out of it, you often require to attending regular sessions for an extended period (depending on the issue/s). At the outset make sure you feel comfortable enough with the therapy cost, or alternatively explore other options. Consult your insurance company to determine if they will cover any of your health expenses.
Initial call and introductory meeting
In the end I believe you will have to trust your own gut feeling when it comes to choosing your therapist. Some offer a brief call before committing to an initial session. I would highly recommend speaking to the therapist beforehand for best working fit. Feel free to ask any questions that are important to you in this initial call.
You might find it helpful to find out if the therapist is comfortable and has a track record of assisting clients in the language of your choice. In addition, does the practitioner come across as culturally aware, non-judgmental, and understanding of the issues you are going through?
"Becoming is better than being" Carol S. Dweck
Going to therapy
Once attending therapy, do you feel listened to in an empathic manner? Do you feel like you are both working towards the same goals in a collaborative manner? Focus on how the practitioner makes you feel. Ideally you want to come out of a session feeling hopeful, and gradually after a few weeks feeling a small sense of control and change.
I hope this blog provided you with some guidance through the process of finding the most suitable therapist for you. Please remember, if you don’t feel comfortable during the sessions, bring it up with the therapist. Sometimes it can be a misunderstanding or a cultural barrier that might easily be rectified. Remember that you can always change therapist or ask to be referred. The most important thing is your health and that you feel comfortable and at ease for the therapy to progress in a positive direction.
For more information on resources on mental health chat, helplines or if you are experiencing a crisis, please visit https://www.levacounselling.com/resources