Now that mental health is something that’s being discussed openly among the royals, on social media and even in Hollywood, the stigma surrounding therapy is beginning to fade in a big way.
But there still remains one major hurdle that people face once they’ve made the decision to get help for their mental health problem: How to find a therapist. In other words, how to find the best therapist.
Thankfully, therapy is available in many forms today, from running therapy to app-enabled sessions. And once you’ve understood the industry better, there are plenty of resources you can use to find your perfect match.
Here, we break down the steps involved when it comes to how to find a therapist that is right for you.
Decide on the Kind of Professional You Need
If you have conditions like panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, find a social worker or clinical psychologist instead of a psychiatrist.
If the problem is something similar to schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, it’s best to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist with substantial experience in their specialty.
While the main responsibility of a psychologist is to diagnose and employ talk-based coping tactics, a psychiatrist can give you medication if your problem persists.
For many patients, medication can be vital and even lifesaving. Taking medication alongside regular therapy sessions has been shown to relieve symptoms longer than either option alone.
However, make sure to talk with your therapist before going that route.
Ask People You Know About How to Find a Therapist That Is Right for You
There are countless therapists these days, but using referrals is arguably the best way to find a therapist.
Don’t hesitate to ask your family members, friends or even your physician about a good therapist they know. After all, your loved ones know you better than anyone else.
Location and Availability
Does your schedule match the availability of the therapist? Please make sure it does.
Also, consider the therapist’s location.
Do you need someone you can access via public transportation? How far can you travel? Can you travel farther for someone who’s a great match personality-wise or someone with special expertise?
Or is convenience the most important thing to you?
Remember, therapy works only if you can consistently make it to your appointments, so location and scheduling can be more vital than you think.
Do Some Therapist “Shopping”
It’s vital to remember that finding a therapist does take time. You need to speak to several prospective therapists over the phone and determine whether they suit your needs.
You also have to meet several candidates before you settle on the best one for you. Many of us don’t know that shopping for a therapist is an essential practice. It’s an effective tip on how to find a good therapist, like this marriage counselor.
Interview Candidates Who Seem Like the Perfect Match
Once you’ve whittled down the list of potential therapists, call each one of them. How do they sound over the phone? Whom do you feel comfortable talking with?
Do they seem attentive and empathetic? Also, you may ask these questions:
What’s Your Style Like?
It’s important to ask this question. Even if a therapist is very skilled, their style may not match yours. Try to find out how you’d get on with that person in the same room.
Are they engaged and active or are you doing the majority of the talking? Will they give you homework or is all the work going to be done in the therapy sessions themselves?
Have You Got Any Experience With my Problem?
You want to ensure that your therapist has experience in your issue and is comfortable working on the issue for which you sought therapy.
What’s Your Theoretical Orientation?
There are various approaches in psychology and different therapists have different ways of tackling problems depending on their training as well as theoretical orientation.
There are various ways to tackle the same problem, and although you may not know what style you want or need, ensure that what your therapist is suggesting is something that seems to match your needs and personality.
Credentials are not everything, but if you are dealing with a licensed therapist, make sure their license is up-to-date and that the therapist is in the good books of the state regulatory board.
Also, check if complaints have been lodged against the therapist.
Therapists accept different modes of payment, so it’s vital to know how they’d like to be paid and how much you should pay.
If you’ve got health insurance, begin by contacting your insurer and asking about your own mental health benefits.
How many sessions do they cover? Do they include outpatient treatment? Do they involve a co-payment?
If your health insurance only covers some therapists, your insurer should be able to give you a list of accredited providers.
Some therapists only treat patients who pay out of their pockets. As such, most will issue a receipt so you can send it to your insurer for a refund, if possible.
You can also ask if they’ll consider giving you a discount if the fee is beyond your means.
Trust Your Instincts
Don’t just focus on getting someone with a litany of accomplishments. Even if the therapist has written many books or they have busy public speaking engagements, this doesn’t mean they’re the perfect fit for you.
Studies have shown that the best therapists build steady working relationships with their patients and have well-developed interpersonal skills, such as warmth, empathy, acceptance, and ability to accurately determine how a patient is feeling.
Therefore, consider how comfortable you feel with the therapist, instead of their list of achievements.
Find a Good Therapist Today
Now that you know how to find a therapist that is right for you, we wish you luck in your hunt. It’s our hope that you find the sessions as rewarding and life-changing as other people have.
And make sure to check out our blog for some inspirational articles that’ll hopefully provide some much-needed respite from your mental health concerns.