How to Find the Right Therapist for You
Let’s be honest, the past few years many have felt uneasy through these unprecedented times. Between the changing landscape of childcare, work dynamics, and the feelings of isolation and desire to return to some degree of normalcy, it has been a challenging time for many. It is crucial to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health and talking with a therapist is a great place to start.
We know firsthand how important it is to find a therapist that you connect with. In fact, the relationship you have with your therapist is the most important predictor of therapeutic success. Here are some tried-and-true methods for finding the right therapist for you.
Think About Your Needs and Goals
What do you want to accomplish in therapy? Studies have found that when you and your therapist work together toward the same goals, your therapy will be more productive. If you’ve heard that certain forms of therapy have been effective for others with your condition, you’ll want to look at a therapist with certifications or specialized training in those treatment approaches. If you want to be part of a supportive network of people who understand your experiences, you may want to consider looking for a therapist who’s involved in support groups or group therapy sessions.
Your goals may change as you work with a therapist. It’s okay to talk to your therapist about changing the direction of your treatment plan as your needs evolve.
Use a Reliable Online Database
Several mental health organizations maintain up-to-date, searchable databases of licensed therapists. Your search could start by simply typing in your ZIP code to generate a list of counselors in your area. You may also be able to search for specialists, like marriage and family counselors, or therapists trained in a specific modality such as somatic and experiential therapy or CBT.
Some of the most used online search tools include:
- American Psychological Association
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists
- Psychology Today
When you meet your therapist, whether it’s online, on the phone, or in person, it’s not uncommon to completely forget every question you wanted to ask. To make sure you have the information you need to make a good decision, keep paper and a pen, or a notes app, handy leading up to your first meeting. Jot down questions as they come to you.
The American Psychological Association suggests a few questions for you to consider asking your therapist during your first session:
- How many years have you been in practice?
- How much experience do you have working with people who are dealing with my particular issue(s)?
- What do you consider to be your specialty or area of expertise?
- What kinds of treatments have you found effective in resolving [the issue you’d like to resolve]?
- Do you provide access to telehealth services?
- What do we do if our therapeutic approach isn’t working?
Pay Attention to Your Own Responses
No matter how many professional accreditations your therapist has, your own feelings of trust and comfort should be your top priority. If you feel uncomfortable with your therapist for any reason, it’s perfectly fine to look for someone else.
Here are a few things to notice as you talk with your therapist:
- Does the therapist interrupt you, or do they listen carefully to what you’re saying?
- How does your body feel during a therapy session? Do you feel uneasy?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing your feelings?
- Does the therapist respect your time by being prompt to appointments?
- Does the therapist brush off or invalidate your concerns?
- Do you feel seen, heard, and respected during your session?
Whether you’re coping with grief, trauma, or relationship issues, or want treatment for a mental health concern, finding a helpful therapist can make a big difference in your journey. At BHAVA Therapy Group, we believe that the therapeutic relationship is the medium through which emotional, psychological and spiritual growth can take place. Within a warm, accepting, and non-judgmental atmosphere, we strive to help you connect to your innate strengths, empower you to identify, and work on the changes you would like to see in your life. Contact us today to get started.