I’ve worked with therapists off and on for close to 10 years. Whether you’re dealing with depression, addiction, grief, or relationship problems, it takes strength to make that decision. You want to make certain you find a therapist who gives you the attention and guidance you need. These tips give you the best chance of finding a good therapist.
Male or Female – Most insurance websites allow you to search based on gender, so be honest with yourself and make this choice right up front.
Who are you more comfortable opening up to?
Hours and Location – A session can leave you quite emotional, so think about whether going during the workday is a good idea. If so, look for a location near your office. If not, look for a location near home and offers evening or weekend hours.
Remember, you may have some weeks when you go more than once. Make it convenient to help you keep your appointments.
What’s their specialty? Self-esteem, addiction, behavioral disorders, relationship issues, LBGTQI? Therapists should have an area(s) they specialize in. If they tell you it doesn’t matter, pick someone else. You want a therapist who knows your issues, and has experience with them.
Therapy is a specialized field. Finding someone who knows your issues prevents you from having to “teach” the therapist.
Confidentiality – I’ve worked with therapists who met me in a hospital lobby, or where I sat alone in a room in a house, waiting to be called. And with one, I sat in a crowded waiting room with children, teenagers, and adults, and privacy was non-existent. A good therapist may be worth whatever the situation, but let the therapist know if you have an issue.
Chaos in the waiting area and with administrative staff can be a sign that the office itself isn’t run well.
Until you’ve actually sat face to face you’re not going to know whether this is the therapist for you. But beware of the following red flags. If any are true for you, find a different therapist.
- You feel threatened, put down, or challenged right from the first visit.
- They treat you like their best friend, and go on and on about their own issues.
- They seem to be looking for a romantic relationship.
PsychCentral.com makes it pretty clear, if something doesn’t feel right, go with your instinct. There are many great therapists out there and there is no reason to stick with someone you are not comfortable with.
Seeking therapy is evidence that you’re aware of your feelings. You’re asking for help, and to get feedback and tools to assist with a situation that is impacting your life. The fit with your therapist needs to be right. If it’s not, don’t worry about the therapist’s feelings, or being polite, find someone else!
Help Guide for Psychotherapy