By Kasey Holcomb
Posted in Mental Health Resources
Finding a therapist can be a difficult and daunting task. What should I look for? How do I know if they’re the right person for me? How do I know its working? These are all questions that commonly come up when looking for a therapist or trying to decide whether the one you just met with is worth seeing again.
This article aims to help address these common questions and provide direction. There are essential things that might not stand out to someone who is looking for a therapist for the first time or have not had good experiences in therapy. Whether it was you personally or someone close to you, the decision was made to seek professional help, and that is the critical first step to a better livelihood. The second step may be the even more daunting task: finding the right professional to trust and rely on in your most vulnerable times. To start out, I’ve laid out some simple but maybe unthought of topics that are worth checking off during your search.
A great way to gauge your experience with a new therapist is to communicate your desired goals and expectations openly. Because it is your healing journey, your opinions matter and should be respected by the therapist, given that they are not causing injury or harm. Having said that, it is worth taking the time before you start your search to really solidify what you want the outcome to be.
Some of the things to think of are how long you are wanting services and the frequency. Many people see a therapist for as long and as frequently as needed or advised, and others will only be able to fit in a visit monthly. The critical concept to remember is that the length and frequency of your visits will depend on the severity and need, but there is flexibility. Another large part of defining expectations is discussing what you want the end goal to be. Whether you’re looking for long term or short term sessions, being clear will help you and your therapist create a specialized treatment plan.
Like any other person with a significant presence in your life, it’s vital that you are compatible with your therapist. It is a professional relationship in which you will want to feel comfortable being vulnerable. Personalities can play a considerable role in how comfortable you feel with a therapist. Just as anyone else, therapists have personalities that will likely drive their practice and style. Some people look for therapists that mirror their own personality while others seek the opposite. It’s ok to try out a couple of different therapists to land on one that is the right fit for you.
You will find while looking for a therapist that each one has their own technique and approach, as well as specializations. As mentioned above, personalities can influence the style of treatment. Therapist’s use different therapeutic methods to address mental and behavioral health problems. Ask the therapist what techniques and methods they use to address problems like the one you have. A good therapist will be able to articulate how they would work with you to address your presenting problem. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important that you understand what treatment will look and feel like. A good therapist will make sure this is acomploshied.
All-in-all finding a therapist can seem daunting, even impossible, but knowing what to look for and what questions to ask can make the process more navigable. These are only a few of the things to consider when making this choice. However, starting your search with these things in mind will ensure you are asking the right questions. Using resources such as talking to loved ones, consulting your Primary Care Physician, and researching a therapists’ websites can make your decision more informed. Ultimately, finding a therapist that fits your needs is what is most important.
If you or a loved one need help finding a therpist or any other behavioral health provider consider utilizing O’Connor Professional Groups consultation services. Information on these services can be found Here or by calling (617)-934-1016.