Choosing to go into therapy is a significant step in improving your mental wellbeing.
On your way to being a better version of yourself, choosing the right therapist is the first thing to do. Тhe relationship between you and your therapist should be unlike any other in your life – you should be able to talk to them about any problems you have freely and even share some secrets and private thoughts with them.
So here is how to find a therapist who is the right fit for you.
Know what you want
To get the most out of therapy, the first thing to know is the exact reason why you want to see a therapist.
Do you want to find a solution to a specific trauma from your past? Do you need help dealing with relationship issues? Perhaps you just want someone to talk to every week and discuss the current issues you are facing.
One more thing to consider when doing your research – if you feel that you need meds, seek help from a psychiatrist instead, as psychologists and clinical social workers are not allowed to prescribe medication.
Find a therapist that suits your needs
Therapy is a private matter. People rarely talk about it. But even if a friend recommends you a therapist, that doesn’t mean that their therapist will be the right fit for you.
Different people have different issues that need different solutions. So much of it comes from the therapists themselves and how they approach a patient and solving those problems – some are more active in helping you find the solution, while others take a less direct approach.
For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy is very goal-oriented. So a therapist will help you identify your goals for the treatment and give you techniques and exercises – maybe even homework assignments – to help you achieve those concrete goals.
On the other hand, a person-centered therapist will have a completely different way of helping you deal with your issues. Instead of teaching you patterns and techniques, they will focus on helping you find the answers within yourself and fixing your troubles from the ground up.
Neither of these techniques is inherently better or more effective. It is all about your personal preferences and things that work for you.
You should choose a therapist who specializes in the area that you want to work on. Sometimes, you might find a place like Firefly therapy, which deals with depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, mindfulness, and several other issues. Other times, depending on your location and needs, you will have to do some research before finding the right fit for you.
Remember that therapy is a relationship
When you pick a therapist, you are entering a relationship that should be based on trust.
Therapy isn’t always easy or enjoyable as it often requires facing up to painful difficulties and life patterns. That is why your therapist should be someone you trust, respect, and even like.
Therapy is not like a friendship or any other relationship. A therapist should know and respect personal boundaries, and so should you.
Still, your therapist should be someone who gets you, someone who understands your struggles and your point of view while simultaneously being a person with enough authority.
When you start therapy, the two of you will form an alliance with the ultimate goal of changing your life for the better.
Gauging someone’s personality via a website is nearly impossible. Sometimes, the initial session will be enough for you to figure out that you and that particular therapist are not the right fit. Other times, it might take a bit longer.
What matters is that you end up with someone that fits your needs and that you feel can help you at this point in your life. Don’t be afraid to seek another – or a third or fourth – therapist if the one you meet initially doesn’t seem to be the right match for you.
Pick a therapist that respects you
As stated above, therapy is a relationship. And, just like with any other type of relationship, you don’t want to be involved with someone who looks down on you.
Stay away from therapists that do not respect your culture, gender identity, religious practices, or any other aspect of your personality.
You are an individual with unique abilities and strengths. Choose someone capable of recognizing your strong side instead of just focusing on your weaknesses and talking down on you.
The ultimate goal of therapy is to feel good. You won’t be able to get that from someone who doesn’t appreciate your capabilities to help you use them to overcome the challenges in your life.
Trust your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable, insecure, or unsafe with a therapist, walk away and seek help somewhere else. Remember, it is your mental health at stake, and it is entirely OK to pick and choose until you find a therapist that is the perfect match for you.