Picking the right therapist for you could make the difference between getting help and giving up. Many times the first impression is the only one, and clients conclude that they are beyond help, instead of realizing that the therapist may not have been right for them. Instead of this happening to you, study this checklist before finding your next therapist.
What type of therapist do you need?
Before I go in, I need to know what type of therapist I am looking for. There are psychiatrists who have medical school experience and can prescribe medications based on a diagnosis. On the other hand, Psychologists are Doctors of Philosophy and will be able to assess you and help you deal with your problems without medical intervention. When I needed a therapist, I knew that I just needed someone to talk to me about some issues, not get medications for an illness. A small number of Psychologists can prescribe medications, but those are harder to come by.
Do they medicate?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Whether it’s depression you are dealing with, an eating disorder, or something else, you need to first ask yourself if you want to be medicated? Or do you want to put in the hard work to overcome your issues? I’m the type of person that stays away from medications, so I look for a therapist that is willing to pull teeth with me to help me overcome the problem. A devoted therapist is the best medicine.
What type of values does the therapist have?
This may seem like a personal question, but say I am in couple’s therapy and I am struggling with a moral issue with my partner. Will my therapist understand my moral code, or will they try to make me compromise my standards because of their own beliefs? Believe it or not, there are actually Christian therapists for those that do hold themselves to different standards, and want a more God-centered therapy.
Does your therapist specialize in your problem area?
If you are struggling with a marital problem, find a marriage and family therapist. For those needing help with alcohol addiction, there are addiction therapists to help you, and so on. When I look for a therapist, I find someone that has first been to therapy themselves, is licensed, and specializes in the area I need help with. This helps me feel comfortable that they have dealt with situations such as mine before.
Does your therapist make you feel comfortable?
Before you commit to a therapist, go in and have a small chat to meet them. Do they make you feel comfortable? Is their personality type aligned with your style? Being able to tell them anything about me is a must, and if I don’t have that trust and comfort level, they will be no help to me.