You probably have a person in your life to whom you can really open up and be yourself. This sort of relationship is often very fulfilling and advice offered by your friend or partner can make a real difference in your life.
However, what if you have a problem that don’t feel comfortable talking to them about? Or maybe they do not have the background to offer the sort of careful, measured advice you need? Professional therapists have the training to perform this service, but not all of them will necessarily be a good fit. It is important to feel comfortable with your therapist so you can be open about what is troubling you.
This makes finding the right one quite important.
Check with Friends and Family
Has anyone in your network seen a therapist before? If so, ask them for their impression of that person. Don’t request information that could compromise the confidential nature of their appointments, but do find out what they thought. Did the therapist listen and ask appropriate questions? Did they leave their sessions feeling better and motivated to make changes?
Chances are you will find a number of therapists receiving new patients in your area. Read about their credentials and specialties. What ones mention the sort of issue for which you would like help? What is their treatment philosophy? If you have further questions, call or email for additional details.
Some additional questions you can ask:
- What is your specialty?
- Are you licensed?
- What is your training background?
- Do you have experience treating patients with (your issue)?
- How long have you been practicing?
You may wish to also ask about fees. If you do not have insurance and are on a tight budget, some therapists operate on a sliding scale. That said, if at all possible, do not base your choice of therapist solely on cost.
Try a Sample Appointment
When you find someone, make an appointment to see them. Afterward, think about how the session went. Did you feel comfortable speaking with that person? Did you feel that they listened and took your concerns seriously? Do you feel comfortable sharing confidential information with them? Has the therapist ever been in therapy? That last one may sound like an odd question, but it is important because this helps them understand and empathize with patients.
You cannot always tell if a therapist is the right choice from just one appointment. However, if you had doubts about any of the components mentioned above, try elsewhere.
Make the Choice that Feels Right to You
Some people continue going to therapists even though they don’t find them beneficial. The reasons can be everything from “I don’t want to hurt their feelings” to “It’s too much trouble to find someone else.”
This is a very bad idea. Would you keep going to a mechanic who was not doing a good job on your car? Your mental health is an even more serious question, so don’t worry about possibly hurting a practitioner’s feelings. Therapists know that not every patient will find them to be the right fit and as such, do not let it bother them if someone makes a change.
The Delton Glebe Counselling Centre is a not for profit, multi-faith counselling agency committed to strengthening emotional and spiritual well-being. We welcome all inquiries about our services and invite you to contact us today to learn more or book an appointment.