Looking for a therapist is a constructive positive thing to do in your life. It does not matter if you are seeking help for larger mental health issues, or if you need help gaining clarity or distance in a specific situation. A therapist can act as a supportive and caring professional to help you through whatever is going on in your life.
Because we seek therapy for such deeply personal and often hurtful problems, it is important to find someone you like and respect. In the beginning, it can be hard to talk about deeply personal issues with a total stranger. Your therapist knows this and should do everything in their power to help you feel comfortable.
Due to therapy’s personal nature, it is important to realize that not everyone will suit your needs. You don’t have to go to the first person you see. You may wish to interview a few people, either by phone or in-person, to find someone you feel comfortable with. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time with this person.
Before seeing a therapist, there are several things to think about. It may be helpful to have your questions written down for your first meeting with potential therapists.
- What is your goal in therapy?
- What qualities would you like in your therapist? Qualities you don’t want to see
- Have you had any past experiences with therapists? What did you learn from those
- Do you have concerns about your therapists or attending therapy?
Where to find a therapist.
- People often find therapists by getting recommendations from a doctor, friend, or famil
- The internet can be a great place to look as some therapists maintain business profiles on social media or websites like PsychologyToday.com or MentalHealthMatch.co
- If you have health insurance with mental health coverage, the insurance company can provide a list of providers who are covered.
During the search for a therapist, there are questions you can ask through a phone call before setting up an intake. These questions might include:
- Do they accept your insurance?
- Is the payment schedule within your means? If not, do they offer a sliding scale or repayment plans?
- Does the therapist have experience working with your specific needs?
Meeting therapists for the first time can be viewed as a job interview for them. You should ask questions about things that are important to you. You have the right to make a choice for a therapist who you are most comfortable with. It’s okay to shop around for someone who works for you! Some questions might include:
- What treatments and interventions do they use?
- What is the payment process like?
- When and how often would you meet?
After your initial meeting with a therapist, it may be beneficial to reflect upon your time with them.
- Is this a person you feel you can come to trust given the time and opportunity?
- Did this therapist put you at ease?
- Did you feel as if they genuinely cared about you?
- Did you feel safe with them?
- Did they appear comfortable with you and your concerns?
As you continue in therapy, you have a right to talk to your therapist about your progress and you have a right to ask questions. Understand that outside relationships, such as friendships, socializing, or business contacts with your therapist are never acceptable. Notice yourself as you continue – do you feel that you are connecting with your therapist, and do you feel safe?
You have a right to end counseling relationships and search for a new therapist! Remember, therapy is not a one-size-fits-all and finding someone who works for you is where change happens!