Here are my top five tips to finding a great therapist to meet your needs.
1. Tap Into Your Network:
I find the first hurdle that people encounter in therapy is not knowing where to look or not feeling confident to ask people in their inner circle. The later reason is understandable, because some clients don’t want others to know that they are seeking therapy. However, I encourage clients to start with their friend group, individuals that are a part of hobby groups, and other organizations that you might be a part of for support. Engaging in therapy is normalizing, and I encourage clients to begin at least engaging in conversations with others about their views or thoughts on therapy. Getting the conversation going and being vulnerable enough to start it can certainly be the first step.
2. Check Out Credentials:
Of course you want to get a feel for who you will be working with as a therapist. Psychology Today is a great platform to start looking for a therapist, and I encourage you to read our profiles with intention. If a therapist is licensed then that is an indication that they have met a set of standards to practice ethically in our field. In addition, if a therapist is not licensed, please ask them about supervision and support for their practice. Furthermore, if you need a consultation to decide, find therapists that can provide you with an introductory conversation into therapy (ex. a 15-to-30-minute consultation).
3. Cultural Competence:
Having a therapist that understand your lived experience and perspective on life and systems in society can be truly beneficial. It is totally appropriate to ask a therapist what their experience is with working with specific populations of individuals (ex. LGBTAIQ+ individuals). You bring your identity to the session and honestly, so do we. Yes, the hour that we see each other each week is totally about you. However, we all know how it feels when we are having a conversation with someone who just gets it. Trust that feeling.
4. Think About Your Therapy Goals:
It is our job as a therapist to help you process your goals. However, it is always helpful to know what clients want to work on and in what direction they wish their therapy to go. Once you provide us with this foundation, we can take a collaborative lead and join with you to assess how our therapeutic journey will evolve.
5. Expect to See a Few Of Us:
You are taking the time to be vulnerable with us and reveal parts of yourself that you might not have ever shared. It is natural that it will take time to know if the therapist you have selected is a good fit for you. Therefore, take the time (usually after three to five sessions) to evaluate, if the therapist that you are seeing is a good fit to meet your needs. If not, then separate from your therapy and find someone who is better suited to assist you. This is your time and ultimately the session is about you and not us as therapists. We are trained to understand that therapy will come to end for various reasons. It is okay if you need something more or someone else.