How to Find the Right Therapist
Admitting it is time for help with your mental health is a moment you should be very proud of. The hard part of getting help is finding the perfect therapist for you.
This person will help you make progress and strides forward you never thought possible.
That being said, there are also bad therapist matches as well. Which is okay! You are not meant to click with everyone.
There will be one you will click perfectly with and the steps below will help ensure you find one that will change your life forever!
1. Look for a therapist you connect with
Do you know how with some people you just click? It is kind of like that. The two of you are puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. You want a therapist where you feel like you can be their friend.
There is a line though. You want to feel like you can be their friend, but you guys will not be friends. Do not ever expect to be friends with this person.
That is unprofessional and unethical. Your counselor can get in a lot of trouble for that.
But you do want that connection where you get excited to see them, you feel like you can talk to them like you do your best friend, and you leave feeling better about yourself. That is a good and strong connection.
2. Make sure their services fit into your budget
Therapy can be expensive. Did you know that many therapists offer a sliding pay scale though?
Most people who become therapists do not do it for the money. They do it to help others. This means that many will offer a pay scale to fit your budget. I have taken clients for as little as $10/session before.
Also, make sure they are in-network with your insurance. This will help to lessen the cost greatly.
3. Do they specialize?
Many therapists specialize in certain diagnoses. What this means is that they have worked with it quite a bit, they have specialized training on this diagnosis, and they have possibly experienced it themselves.
You want to find someone who specializes in what is going on with you versus a professional who is more generic.
Just like doctors, do you want your general practitioner doing your heart surgery or a cardiologist? Do you want a general therapist to help you with your PTSD or someone who is trained in it?
4. What are their credentials?
There are many different degrees therapists can get. Each degree comes with its own specialties and abilities to help you succeed.
LCSW/LMSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Licensed Master Social Worker – this is the best degree and the hardest to get. The pieces of training are often better than the other degrees as well.
This is because they are the only degree allowed to diagnose without a supervisor, refer you out to other services, bill insurance, and other administrative tasks. The only difference between the LCSW/LMSW is a test. An LCSW has been practicing longer than an LMSW
LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – this is a great degree if you are looking for family or marriage counseling. They are highly trained in how to deal with problems that arise with families and couples. They are also trained in individual therapy, but their pieces of training focus more on marriage and family.
LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor – this is trained the same way as the other two, but they have the least amount of freedom in terms of what they can do when it comes to anything but therapy. This means nothing to you though. They are great and highly trained counselors.
5. Does this therapist make you feel safe?
Do they ask you questions that make you feel uneasy? Or say things that just do not feel right? Do you leave the session feeling worse than you when came in? Do they try to have you do things or say things you are not comfortable with?
These are all signs that this therapist might not be good for you.
This can lead to worsened mental health for you and it is okay to break up with them and find someone new.
You are not obligated to stay with the same therapist if you do not feel safe with them.
6. You need to feel understood
Feeling understood is a crucial part of therapy. Maybe your therapist is making comments that show they do not get what you are trying to say? This is a sign you are not clicking.
You need to have a therapist who is willing to ask for more clarification to help understand.
Some therapists will take their own assumptions and gear your situation to that and help you based on their assumptions. This is not okay.
7. Who do you feel most comfortable around?
There are multiple things you need to consider when you find a therapist and one is who you feel most comfortable with. Do you want:
- Male or female
- A certain religion
- Someone of your race
These are three very important factors in feeling safe with a person. You need to feel like you have someone you can relate to and understand certain struggles.
8. Go with your gut
At the end of the day, your gut is never wrong. If it is saying do not go with this therapist, do not go with that person. If it is the right person, your gut will also tell you that.
Your intuition is the ultimate survival instinct. It has developed over years of evolutionary trial and error. Learn to trust it. It very rarely leads you astray.
Finding a therapist that is the perfect match for you will be one of the best things you’ll ever do for your mental health. To recap, important things to look for are:
- Look for a connection
- They fit in your budget
- Any specializations
- Feeling safe
- You feel understood
- You feel comfortable around them
- Go with your gut
If you are willing to put in the work and you find the right one for you, congratulations! You are on the path to healing and that is so exciting!
How to Choose a Therapist. The Wellness Society | Self-Help, Therapy and Coaching Tools. Retrieved August 9, 2021, from https://thewellnesssociety.org/how-to-choose-a-therapist/