Having a hard time choosing the right therapist? Not sure where to start?
The first thing you should know is that therapists are people too – they each have their own unique personalities and approaches when it comes to helping individuals overcome their challenges and struggles.
So, as skilled and knowledgeable as a therapist may be, working with them will only be effective if you feel a connection.
When you don’t feel that connection, you are likely to wonder if the therapist is going to judge you and you’ll be hesitant to share your innermost thoughts and feelings.
If you don’t talk about these things, you’ll never get to the core of your issues and gain the information and support necessary to create change.
This relationship is actually referred to as “therapeutic alliance” – the framework in which you bond with a therapist as well as agree to the goals of therapy and the methods used to achieve these goals.
Overall, there needs to be good communication between you and your therapist and a mutual willingness to work together.
Consider Who You Would Work Best With
You, as an individual, are not expected to agree with the choices and lifestyles of every person you meet. This holds true for choosing a therapist as well.
It’s okay to consider factors such as gender, age and religion when it comes to finding the right therapist for you.
Perhaps you feel more comfortable talking to a man or someone closer to your age. If you have a religious affiliation that you feel clashes with the therapist’s religious affiliation, there’s nothing wrong with passing on that therapist.
Otherwise, perhaps you have no preference or aren’t sure what kind of individual you would be most comfortable talking with.
In that case, some internet research can come in handy. While therapists typically don’t share their personal lives online, you can gather some pertinent information from the biographies – this can give you an idea of whether or not you can relate to that therapist.
Also, pay attention to their areas of expertise and method of treatment. A child psychologist may not be particularly helpful when it comes to adult addiction. Likewise, you may not be comfortable with the way they carry out their therapy.
Look for Credentials, Education and Experience
Did you know that being a counselor doesn’t require an advanced degree? Or that a therapist can hold a Master’s degree in a number of different disciplines (not just psychology)?
Yet, both can offer valuable services to help struggling individuals overcome their challenges.
Therefore, it’s important not only to consider a therapist’s credentials but also additional education and overall experience.
Reviews and feedback are a great way to gauge whether or not a therapist’s approach is effective and backed by research, knowledge and experience.
Check out the therapist’s website and look into their completed courses or programs. A quick Google search will help you determine if they have been earned from reputable institutions.
Questions to Ask a Therapist
Before you book your first appointment with a therapist, you should ask questions to further determine if you and the therapist will be a good match.
Here are some questions you should consider asking:
- Are your services eligible for health coverage?
- How many clients have you worked with that had similar circumstances to my own?
- What are your strengths and limitations as a therapist?
- What is your approach like?
- How many sessions do you think this will take?
- What does a typical session look like?
The answers you receive will give you a better idea if this is a therapist you are willing to meet with. If they are, go ahead and book your first appointment!
Accessing a Therapist Online
Online therapy has exploded in popularity which is great for those who would prefer to access their therapist virtually instead of in-person.
This also opens the door for more choices when it comes to therapists since you are not limited by seeking therapy solely in your area.
Virtual therapy encompasses not only online video but also written methods (email, text, chat, etc.) and even speaking on the phone.
One consideration you need to make when it comes to receiving therapy online is your privacy. You need to confirm that your sessions are conducted on a secure and encrypted platform.
Otherwise, online therapy is a great choice if you feel more comfortable communicating via the internet instead of trying to articulate your struggles and mental health issues face-to-face.
What if My Therapist Isn’t a Good Match for Me?
Again, therapists are people too and it’s perfectly okay for you not to feel comfortable or get along with the first one you meet.
Therapists are focused on helping people even if that means being supportive of a patient seeking another therapist. In fact, many therapists will make recommendations for colleagues who may be a better match for you!
If you’re not feeling supportive or comfortable during your therapy sessions, you are not going to experience any of the benefits therapy can offer.
However, if you have been working with your therapist for a while, don’t be afraid to mention that you are not feeling a connection. If there’s an issue that can be addressed and fixed, your therapist is going to want to make the efforts to ensure you continue to receive valuable therapy.
Ultimately, if you don’t feel comfortable bringing up your lack of connection with your therapist, you can always just indicate to them via email or their receptionist that you will not be continuining therapy.
Never feel bad about changing therapists! The most important thing is to make sure you work with someone that will help you get the most out of treatment.
Get the Help You Need!
Is the right therapist waiting for you at RyanAnswers? They very well could be!
Get on track to having your mental needs met by getting in touch with one of our trained psychotherapists today – we would love to meet with you and determine if our therapists and services a good fit for you.
We look forward to hearing from you!