Therapy is something that no one seems to talk about, but many of us have experienced at some point or another. Unfortunately, society seems to have placed a stigma on talking about mental health, leading many people to refrain from seeking help when they need it.
Personally, I have had really good experiences with therapy, and I believe that anyone can benefit from talking through their problems with a licensed professional. It may have taken me until the age of twenty-two to consider a therapist, but I am so happy that I did. This was an important breakup lesson, which taught me to prioritize my mental health before anything else.
However, finding the right therapist for you can be difficult, depending on your needs and preferences. While in the past, I had luck finding a good match on the first try, since moving, I have had to do multiple sessions with different therapists and shopped around to find the right fit. But that has not deterred me from the search, so here are some of my most helpful tips for finding a therapist who gets you.
Consider Your Needs
The therapist you choose depends on what you’re looking to work through. For example, if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you’ll want to seek out therapists who have experience working with patients with eating disorders and body image.
In your consultation- ask what types of therapy models they use and ask how they usually go about implementing that therapeutic approach to help with what has brought you into therapy. I know in the past, while searching for therapists in my area, I have used Psychology Today, which allowed me to use filters for the areas of specialty I was looking for in a therapist.
Check With Your Provider
If you have insurance, you should start by checking with your provider and seeing what therapists are available to you. Of course, the list of therapists you’ll have to choose from depends on what type of insurance you have and where you live, so keep that in mind when beginning your search.
Use a Reliable Online Source
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find a therapist who meets your needs, thanks to websites like Cerebral and BetterHelp. These websites will ask you a series of detailed questions to match you with a therapist who seems like they’d be a good fit based on your answers.
Appointments are held online via Zoom or phone call. Some therapists will even send you text messages if you’d rather communicate that way!
Further, these online databases are also great for those without insurance, and there are different payment options to make therapy affordable and accessible for everyone.
Asking for a referral from a trusted friend or family member is another great way to find the right therapist for you. While I know from experience that you can’t seek out the same therapist as a close friend or a loved one, because it can complicate the therapeutic alliance to know the client’s connection on a therapeutic level- you could still find a really great practice in your area or someone that that therapist may recommend.
If your loved ones know you’re struggling in a particular area, they might be able to refer you to someone that helped them with a similar issue. However, it is important to keep in mind that just because your friend loved a particular therapist doesn’t necessarily mean that you will.
The therapeutic alliance is very important in a successful match; some may argue that it is one of the most important factors. It may feel easy for some of us to connect with a therapist and share our personal information, but for others, we may take our time and want to make sure we connect with the therapist.
Make sure that your therapist is willing to meet you where you are at and that you feel comfortable. Go with your gut- sometimes it isn’t the right fit, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a therapist that matches your needs and one that you will form a strong therapeutic alliance with.
Do you have any tips for finding a therapist that I didn’t mention?