Finding the right therapist
Updated: May 9, 2019
Search, Trust your Gut... Start with your Insurance & go from there!
Do you need some support? an objective opinion? But don't know where to start in finding the "right" therapist for you? Bottom line: Trust your intuition.
Therapists need therapy too! So I've put together for you my own list and criteria for finding the right person for the job- which is individual and unique to each of you, my unicorn of a (potential) client! If it is the deciding factor start with contacting or searching on your insurance provider website. This information can usually be found on the back of your card. Sometimes your co-pay is less than you think! (Fingers crossed.)
Do you want to pay out of pocket and avoid insurance? That's an option too.
When calling or emailing a therapist you'll want to know what their fees are. Do they have a "sliding scale"? That means they're aware of the cost prohibitive nature of most therapy visits. What's the lowest session cost available and how do they decide what rate you qualify for? (They may ask your income, that’s what a sliding fee scale is usually based on.)
You should probably inquire if the cost for the intake/initial assessment is more or the same as a regular session?
One valuable thing to ask is "What is your style or primary approach?". That really can affect the whole therapy process- They may cite a specific "school," such as cognitive behavioral therapy - CBT, DBT, ACT, psychoanalysis, etc. etc. Then you can ask what the approach looks like in a typical session and over the course of the work you'll do together? Hopefully, they can explain it to you in a user-friendly way!
Ask about their Availability! If you need early morning, weekend, or evening hours, those are often the most sought after appointment times. How busy their practice is will make a difference- if they can only squeeze you in once a month when you need weekly that could be a problem.
The education/experience/licenses/certifications that they have obtained are good things to ask about, although it is hard to know if that ALONE makes them good at what they do... tons of experience can be a great thing, or it could be that they are stuck in their ways - you'll have to feel that out for yourself.
Finally, briefly explain your concerns and ask- "What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective/helpful for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?"
"Listen to your intuition as you speak with potential therapists on the phone or in-person. Do you feel supported? Listened to? Comfortable speaking honestly? Are the surroundings of the office (the waiting area, neighborhood, entrance, paintings/furniture in the individual office space) putting you at ease or not quite right for you? This may sound inconsequential, but it can affect your experience. Do you feel there is a good sense of privacy in the office space(s)?"
When you meet them if you don’t feel like it’s the right fit, Be Honest. Sometimes things are meant to be- even in the therapeutic relationship. Also, it's a great opportunity to practice conflict resolution, pushing through your fears and/or speaking your truth!
Talk to you soon! ;)
PS. I like personally like searching on Google & Psychology Today for my therapist's website or profile. My personal requirement is that they have some sort of online presence & I want to see a picture of them on said internet presence --- you can glean a lot from a photo of a person. *shrug*