Deciding to get therapy can be the one big step you take towards changing the course of your life. However, therapy is only as effective as the therapist. A good client-therapist relationship can work wonders in achieving desired outcomes. If we trust our therapist and their abilities, we can easily open up and take a sincere interest in our journey towards becoming a better self.
However, choosing a therapist must not be a rushed decision. If you find it hard to connect with your therapist, you won’t get satisfying results out of it. Therefore, some time and serious consideration are required before you take this step.
Keeping this mind, here we have compiled a list of 10 tips on how to choose the right therapist. These tips will guide you on what to look for and how to make the right decision.
1. What type of therapist do you need?
Just like “Doctor,” a “Therapist” is a broad term. Now there are heart surgeons, neurologists, and orthopedics. They are all called doctors, but they operate in different areas. An orthopedic cannot perform heart surgery. Similarly, there are different types of therapists with specific specialties.
For example, the focus of a psychologist’s treatment is on how the brain works and how your behavior affects your thinking—psychiatrists, on the other hand, focus on treating mental illnesses. So only a psychiatrist can prescribe medications. Search up your particular problem and see who is the right kind of professionals for your needs.
2. What do you exactly want?
When you know what you’re specifically looking for, it makes finding the right person a lot easier. Although, you do not have to pin down everything before taking this step. After all, we don’t exactly know our problems until we get a professional diagnosis.
Generalists know a bit about everything, but if they don’t have a specialization in what you’re exactly looking for, then you will not fully benefit. Although they can help you diagnose your problem correctly and it can make your search a lot easier. But knowing what end goals you want to achieve and then searching with that intention in mind will make finding the right person for the job more convenient.
3. Ask your friends and family
Before you venture into the unknown, it’s sometimes better to consult with your friends who are already seeking therapy. People you know will give you more honest opinions. If they had a good experience with their therapist, you can give their therapist a shot and see if it works.
They might also share some options with you on which other therapists to consider. They will also give you some insights into what mistakes they made when finding a therapist. You might find a therapist right off the bat. If not, you’ll at least know a bit more about the essential things you need to look for.
4. Browse online
When you have your needs clear in mind. Start your research. First, begin with local therapists in your area. If they have a website, you can see their timings and different details related to their consulting.
Don’t forget you have online therapy options too. If you can’t find someone in your region, then you can get an appointment with a professional via video chat or through texting. However, you prefer.
5. Look for credibility
Once you have picked up a few options, start honing in on each individual. Look for their credibility and whether they’re the right person for the job. How much experience do they have related to your particular problem? How many patients have they treated in the past? Where did they get their education from and how many years of experience do they have?
6. Consider a specialist
Look for their experience and try to find your unique fit. See if they have worked with similar cases in the past. If they have a website, they can give a better explanation of what they specialize in and what their approaches are. Getting in touch with someone who treats your exact problems will be a much better option than a generalist.
7. Consider finances
What are their charges, and will you be comfortable working long-term with them? Also, if you have insurance, see if it covers the costs of your therapy and maybe try narrowing down options that are covered in your insurance policy.
8. Consider their Gender
This entirely depends on individual taste. Some find it better to open up with a person of the same gender, while others prefer the opposite sex. See who you are most comfortable with and then decide, so you don’t feel any intimidation later on.
9. Call them or make an appointment
Now, after you’ve gone through all the checklists, it’s time to get in touch. Observe how they feel and ask them questions related to your problem. Are you a licensed professional?
I have such and such types of issues, have you treated similar patients in the past? What are your areas of expertise? What are your charges? In short, ask them everything, even the stupid details you think you should know before starting the therapy.
10. Ultimately, go with your gut
The effectiveness of your therapy depends a great deal on the client-therapist relationship. See who “clicks.” A therapist may be highly trained and have years of experience. Still, if you can’t comfortably open up with them, they are worthless to you. Are there any ethical boundaries or other tensions between you? If so, then consider someone else with whom you can be open without fearing judgment.
Also, if you have invested in someone and later feel like it isn’t working, don’t hesitate to look for other options. Remember, Sometimes it’s necessary to play the field a bit to find your perfect match.
Finding a therapist is a tricky decision, but it’s well worth your time and consideration. Don’t worry if you can’t find the right person on the first go. It is ok if this decision takes some time, but don’t rush. Use the tips above and keep looking until you think you’ve found the right person for the job.