Finding the right therapist is an important part of your mental health therapy journey. Being able to build a connection with your therapist starts with you being comfortable and supported as you work towards your goals.
So, how can you find a therapist that you can connect with and get the most out of therapy?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Ask for Referrals
Personal recommendations from friends, family, or your primary care physician can give you an idea of what to expect and help you find a therapist who is a good fit for your needs. Word-of-mouth referrals were the most common source of information for those seeking therapy.
Check Credentials, Experience and Licensing:
Make sure that the therapist you choose is licensed and has the necessary training to provide mental health services. You can easily verify this information on websites such as Psychology Today, calling your insurance company or searching on their website to learn more.
Different therapists may have different styles. Some may use a more structured approach, while others may prioritize being more “free-flowing.” Regardless of the therapy style, it’s important to understand that a therapist is not your friend or life coach. Take some time to reflect on your therapy style preferences when searching for a therapist.
Did you realize that clients do better with their goals when there is a connection between their preferred therapeutic approach and the therapist’s?
Look for experience: It's important to find a therapist who has experience working with individuals who have similar mental health concerns as you. For instance, if you're dealing with anxiety, seek a therapist who has experience treating clients with anxiety. Individuals who received treatment from therapists with specialized training and experience in their specific problem had better therapy outcomes toward their goals.
Trust Your Instincts
Once you have found a therapist that you believe is a good fit, it's essential to trust your instincts during the first few sessions. Pay attention to how comfortable and supported you feel during the conversation. Does the therapist listen to you? Are they understanding and open to discussing your uniqueness as a person? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it's okay to keep looking until you find the right therapist.
Finding the right therapist may take time, but it's worth the effort. Therapy is a continuous process, and you may not see immediate progress in every session. However, over time, therapy can lead to lasting changes in your life and mental health.