Over the years, I have heard many stories from clients who did not have a good match with a former therapist. Sometimes it is not easy to find the right person to help you Repair your Relationship with Yourself or With Others! So, I urge you to take your time to find the right person. Here are some tips for selecting your ideal therapist:
- Choose a therapist that is the right match for you. If you think you would work best with a therapist who is a certain background, gender, or age – then do not settle. Look for a therapist who you think is a good fit for you. Once you have shared more about yourself and your history and are in the middle of therapy, you will probably not want to have to start over with your treatment because you did not look for the right match the first time. If you are comfortable telling friends or your pastor or mentor that you are seeking therapy, there is a good chance someone can give you a word of mouth referral which is a great place to start. Finding a good therapist through referral can save you a lot of time and frustration trying to seek the right match for your needs.
- At your first appointment, notice if your therapist is professional and I think it is great to look for a therapist who is very professional with making sure that registration paperwork is completed, reviewing your history, and identifying your therapy goals. Your therapist should be caring and primarily focus on learning about you. Occasionally, I hear stories about clients who have seen a therapist who spends a lot of time talking about their own life or engaging in self-disclosure. Look for a therapist who may share a little about themselves, but then dives right into servicing your problem. Your therapist is the professional and they should have good boundaries. If they cross boundaries the first session, I would urge you to look for a therapist with more professionalism.
- If you are looking for a Couples Therapist, I urge you to make sure that you find one who has training and experience specifically with couples. Two resources for finding therapists who have had substantial training in Couples Therapy are the Gottman Network and National Registry for Marriage Friendly Therapists. I am on both of these networks, and they only accept couples therapist with high quality, extensive training in working with couples. Believe me when I tell you that there is a big difference between doing couples therapy versus individual therapy, so your Couples Therapist should have this expertise.
- Your therapist should answer your questions about fees. If you are on a strict budget, the best option is to find out a therapist who accepts your insurance. You should be able to get an up to date list of therapists by contacting your insurance company and requesting some names and phone numbers for providers. If you are not on a strict budget, then you can select a therapist outside of your insurance network based on who you think is your best match. However, if your budget will allow you to have therapy twice per month and not every week, discuss this with your therapist. Unless you are having a personal crisis and are in need of urgent mental health care, most therapists should be fine with you having less frequent appointments. You can still meet your goals even though it might not happen as quickly, but it’s important to reach your therapy goals in a financially comfortable manner so you do not add more stress and anxiety to your life!