How To Find The Right Therapist
Published on March 19th, 2021
Updated on March 11th, 2022
Therapy can be intimidating to start but can make a huge difference in your life. Whether you are struggling with mental health issues, addiction, or stress, talking to a therapist can help. It can help you develop coping skills to manage your feelings. Like any relationship, therapy requires the right fit between therapist and client. The stronger rapport you have with your therapist, the more comfortable you will feel.
The number one thing to know when seeking therapy for the first time is you are doing the right thing for yourself. If you think you can benefit from therapy, then you can benefit from therapy. It can be stressful and anxiety-provoking to walk into your first therapy session. Keep in mind that therapists are trained to take every step at your pace. They want you to feel as comfortable as possible during sessions.
Where To Start Your Therapist Search
A great place to start looking for a therapist that is best for you is with your primary doctor. Your primary doctor is a good first start if they are aware of your mental health needs. They will be able to help you find proper care as well as resources in your area for mental health services.
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It is okay to have a conversation with your primary doctor about your mental health concerns. With such a conversation, they learn enough about your history to provide you with a referral for an appropriate therapist.
You can also consider contacting your insurance company to see what providers are covered under your insurance. This can be a viable option if you would like services covered by your insurance, or if affordability is a concern for you. Financial issues can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are therapists and mental health professionals accessible through different insurance companies.
If you cannot find a therapist through your insurance but still need affordable services, look for a therapist who offers a sliding scale. A therapist with a sliding scale may be able to work out an affordable service fee for you, depending on your own needs.
In your search for a therapist, consider what kind of therapist you would like to see. There are different types of therapists with different backgrounds in training. For example, a Doctorate level psychologist is different than a Master’s level therapist. There is also a difference between a counselor, clinical social worker, and marriage and family therapist. Each has its own specialization, education, and training in the field.
Your First Session
Once you find a therapist who you feel comfortable with, book an initial session. Some therapists may offer a free consultation session. During a free consultation session, you can meet your therapist and see if you are comfortable with them before starting services. While this is not always offered, it can be a helpful way to determine if you have found the best fit for you.
Be prepared with questions about what you can expect from working with the therapist you have chosen. You also want to make sure they specialize in your condition or concerns that you need to address.
Questions always welcome in a therapy session and are particularly useful in an initial consultation. The following questions can help determine if a therapist is a good fit for you:
- “How can you help me?”
- “What is your process with your clients?”
- “What is your training and therapeutic approach?”
What To Do If You Do Not Feel Your Therapist Is A Good Fit
It is not uncommon for people to not connect with their therapist. Whether it is a conflict in personality or process, you may not connect right away in therapy. While this is something that can happen, it is important to address such feelings early on in therapy. The sooner you can address these feelings, the sooner you can be set on a path toward healing.
If you are not comfortable with your therapist after the first few sessions, talk about it with them. They may be able to modify their therapeutic approach to better fit your needs. Therapists are trained in different forms of therapy. Sometimes a small change in the process to better meet your needs is all it takes to have the relationship set on track.
Being open and providing feedback about the process and your expectations is the best way to ensure that you are getting the care that you expect. It also ensures that you have reasonable expectations for yourself and the therapeutic process.
Sometimes a therapist and client end up not being a good therapeutic fit, and that is okay. Not being a good fit with your therapist can happen, and it does not mean that anyone did anything wrong. In such a case, your therapist may offer a referral for services that best fit your needs.
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