Things to Consider When Choosing a Therapist
Therapy is an investment of your time and resources; therefore, it is crucial to find the right fit. There are many kinds of therapists. You will connect with some, and others, not so much. You probably would not buy the first car you test drove, and the same is true for finding a therapist. Therapy is good for you, but often hard and sometimes a bit scary. It is simply easier and more effective to go through the process with someone that you can build trust.
Goodness of Fit
Some therapists offer what is called a goodness of fit appointment. This is a free fifteen to thirty-minute consultation to explore if both parties think they are a good match. Many studies have shown the number one indicator of making personal progress toward therapeutic goals is based on the quality of the therapeutic relationship… how well you mutually like and respect each other.
What are you looking for in a therapist? Some things to consider before you commit:
Gender – Is the gender of the therapist important to you?
Culture/Race – Do you want your therapist to share a similar culture or race?
Age – Would you feel more secure with a younger therapist or someone older?
Religion – Do you want a therapist that shares your religious beliefs or lack thereof?
Location – Being on time for your appointments is important. Can you reach their location easily? Is telehealth (phone or video) a good option?
Insurance or Private Pay – Is the therapist covered by your health insurance? Some therapists accept insurance, and others are private pay only. If you want to find a therapist covered by your insurance, the best place to start is by reaching out to your health insurance company for a list of approved clinicians accepting new clients. If you are paying for therapy out of pocket, then you have more flexibility.
Specialties – There are many different therapeutic modalities. If you want to address a specific issue, you may want to see a therapist that specializes in that area. Specialties include: children, couples, families, eating disorders, trauma, LGBTQ+, depression, addiction, anxiety, EMDR, Brainspotting, CBT, DBT, self-harm, etc. Is there an area of specialization that fits your needs?
When a person reaches the point where they have decided to seek help, often there is an urgency to hurry and begin. I would caution you to be discerning and not simply sign-up with the first clinician that crosses your path. Intentionally choosing a therapist is a good start to developing a strong therapeutic relationship.