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How to find a good Therapist?

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  • 6 min read

When thinking about how to find a therapist, it’s important to consider local resources, apps, organizations, and reliable online therapy options. Here’s everything you need to know.

If you’re considering therapy — whether it’s to restore a relationship, recover from trauma, adjust to a new life phase, or improve your mental health — finding the right therapist is the first hurdle to cross. 

Researchers have found that the bond between you and your therapist is likely to have a big impact on your growth. That’s why it’s important to do your research, ask questions, and pay attention to your own responses in your search for the therapist that’s right for you.

What are the signs of a good therapist?

Letting you tell your story before immediately trying to “fix” everything..

They have a conversation instead of just listen and then dump input at the end.

Let you lead the conversation but still ask questions, like children, curious but can listen too.

They give you “homework” but don’t degrade you if you can’t manage it do it

They give you paperwork to finish at home, for example, they might give a paper for you to fill out how you feel in stressful sad moments.

Let you cry and respect your boundaries

Let you cry without being judge mental nor push boundaries.

They don’t ask you why you are crying; they let you cry but simultaneously are able to comfort you in the fact that they validate your feelings.

Respects you.

Respects your religious beliefs, sexuality/gender identity (including pronouns), race, etc.

Gives you good coping mechanisms and is patient with you trying to learn to use them

It feels like a conversation with helpful insights that let you analyze your own behavior so that you can grow.

They remember details like your boyfriend’s name and friends’ names. It shows that they listen and remember things be you are worthy to be heard, not just listened to.

Get to know ALL of you.

They for every single area of life before you officially had your first session. They ask you questions about faith, health, work, family/relationships, even money. she got to know me as a whole person.

Goal oriented

Yes they listen. but you and your therapist should have goal together. listening is not enough. you’re there to get professional advice. your therapist should teach you strategies to deal with issues or improve your mental and emotional health.

Empathetic but direct, tactful, and realistic

Therapist should be really good at asking questions to draw out the real problems. It’s like an onion with multiple layers and peeling those layers are not easy. Sometimes, you gotta hear things in a direct, tactful, and realistic manner. Your therapist is not your friend. If all you keep hearing things that are nice, then your therapist is just telling you what you want to hear. That’s not always need to have tough conversations

They shorten what we talked about at the end of the session.

Here are some tried-and-true methods for finding a therapist to help you reach your therapeutic goals.

Ask someone you trust

A referral from a friend, colleague, or doctor you trust is another way to find a therapist who might be a good fit for you. 

While a referral is a good place to start, it’s important to recognize that you may have different needs and goals with your therapy than the person giving you the recommendation. 

So, a good match for one of you might not be as beneficial to the other.

Explore local resources

If you’re part of a specific community, there may be some resources available. 

Some examples include:

  • students with access to a university counseling center
  • a workplace wellness or employee assistance program
  • group or one-on-one therapy through a local advocacy organization
  • faith-based treatment through a church, synagogue, mosque, or other worship center

Additionally, depending on where you live, there may be local support groups or organizations you can attend at neighborhood meeting spots, like a community center.

Think about your goals ahead of time

What do you want to accomplish in therapy? StudiesTrusted Source have found that when you and your therapist both work together toward the same goals, your outlook will be better.

If you think some type of medication may help with your symptoms, you’ll want to find a psychiatrist or practitioner who can prescribe medications. 

If you’ve heard that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy have been effective for others with your condition, you’ll want to look for a therapist with certifications or specialized training in those treatment approaches.

If you want to be part of a supportive network of people who understand your experiences, you may want to consider looking for a therapist who’s involved with support groups or group therapy sessions.

Your goals may change as you work with a therapist. It’s OK to talk with your therapist about changing the direction of your treatment plan as your needs evolve.

Ask questions about the things that matter to you

When you meet your therapist, whether it’s online, on the phone, or in person, it’s not uncommon to completely forget every question you wanted to ask. 

To make sure you have the information you need to make a good decision, keep paper and a pen, or a notes app, handy for a few days before your meeting. Jot down questions as they come to you. 

The American Psychological Association suggests a few questions for you to consider asking your therapist during your first session:

  • Are you a licensed psychologist in this state? 
  • How many years have you been in practice? 
  • How much experience do you have working with people who are dealing with [the issue you’d like to resolve]? 
  • What do you consider to be your specialty or area of expertise?
  • What kinds of treatments have you found effective in resolving [the issue you’d like to resolve]?
  • What insurance do you accept?
  • Will I need to pay you directly and then seek reimbursement from my insurance company, or do you bill the insurance company? 
  • Are you part of my insurance network?
  • Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of Americaadds questions like these:

  • If I need medication, can you prescribe it or recommend someone who does?
  • Do you provide access to telehealth services?
  • How soon can I expect to start feeling better?
  • What do we do if our treatment plan isn’t working?

Note: If you’ve ever been abused by someone in authority or affected by historic trauma or racism, you may want to ask questions that help you find out whether a potential therapist is culturally informed and sensitive to your experiences.

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