How to Find a Therapist
There is not just one way that therapy works. Sometimes therapists are trained in a certain modality and only use that one approach. Other times therapists use more of an eclectic approach which includes drawing from different modalities. Some modalities focus more on talk therapy, which is more insight oriented and other modalities focus more on utilizing concrete interventions. Therapists may also help you to learn new ways of coping if it is something that you feel is lacking. There is also no time frame for how long you should be in therapy. One person might choose to be in therapy long-term and another person might be interested in short-term therapy.
Most importantly in therapy, it is important that you feel a good connection, which includes feeling comfortable to share your thoughts and not feeling judged. A positive therapeutic relationship is one where you can speak freely and comfortably. While therapists are trained to use evidence-based practices to help you improve, the relationship is just as important as these approaches. So try not to let your therapist’s treatment style or specialty play more of a role in your decision to choose a therapist than how you feel in interacting with the therapist.
You do not have to have a specific idea of what you want your therapist to specialize in but if you do, that can help you narrow down your search process. If you are not sure, you can try to get a sense of what the therapist is like by reading their website or blog and upon meeting he or she you can come up with a plan together if it seems like the right fit Having this discussion will provide insight into your needs and will help with forming a positive therapeutic relationship.
Some points to consider when choosing the right therapist:
1) Go with your gut – maybe there is something about the therapist that drew you to them. You don’t have to know what it was just go with your gut instinct.
2) Do you feel that your therapist is working with you? Do you have goal consensus? Does your therapist know your goals and does he or she collaborate with you to achieve them?
3) Does your therapist listen? This may sound a little obvious but put attention to if you are feeling listened to. Having a present therapist is an extremely important factor in therapy. Some therapists self disclose and others do not, and while it can be beneficial at time, your therapist should not be spending most of your therapy time talking and especially not about their own problems.
4) If you are not sure, ask to have a phone consultation or have an initial session to get more of a feel for what therapy would be like with this person. You do not have to commit right off the bat. Do you have specific concerns about therapy that are preventing you from seeking help? Don’t hesitate to reach out with these questions.
5) While part of therapy includes growth and this is often achieved by calling attention to ourselves and addressing things that are difficult to address, this should be done in a way that is safe. So while it is normal to feel uncomfortable within yourself while confronting difficult topics, you should ultimately feel comfortable with your therapist.