Whether a child or an adult requires therapy, it is imperative that you find the right therapist and this takes patience, research and intuition.
So, now that you’ve clicked on this post, it is certain that you are looking for a therapist. Either your child needs one or your life situations demand one or your marriage might be suffering. For many, this task can get intimidating and daunting.
Once you delve into the world of therapists, you dive into the alphabet soup of PsyDs, PhDs, MDs, MSWs and MSs, not to mention the labels like psychologist, psychiatrist, family and marriage therapist, licensed professional, family counselor and social worker.
What do these therapists offer you? Well, they all offer you mental health services but each brings experience, training, character and insights to the table. How are you supposed to find the appropriate therapist that matches your needs and requirements?
The necessity of a good match
Did you just receive a suggestion for working with a therapist? Your best friend may have suggested the name of a therapist that worked for her. But how do you know whether or not that therapist will be able to assist you with your unique issues?
While a therapist may have great skills, they can only provide you with great work when you feel connected to them.
Hence, the same therapist who has had a great impact on your friend may not have such an impact on you. You may not be able to develop that connection with that person.
When you don’t like a therapist or you feel that the therapist may end up judging you for what you say, you won’t share your innermost feelings or even care to accept all those unflattering behaviors.
Not being able to talk about these issues won’t take you to the heart of the problems. You may not get the required information that you need for making a change.
Consider the type of therapist you want to work with
Before you jump into the bandwagon of choosing a therapist for yourself, know that it is vital for you to find someone who you can work well with. The factors to keep in mind are as follows.
- Age: Would you like to work with someone who is older than you or younger than you or around your age?
- Gender: Would you feel more comfortable with a woman or a man?
- Religion: Does it bother you in case the therapist has a definite religious affiliation.
You may think you’d connect better with an elderly woman or may speaking with a man of your age. This is entirely your discretion as you have to choose the type of person you would like to share your feelings with.
Don’t forget that therapists are great at keeping your private lives private. However, they may share few basic things in their biographies and hence you should find someone who is relatable before scheduling your initial appointment.
Credentials of a Therapist
Most often, you’ll see that therapists have several initials after their names and it may be confusing to know the meanings of those letters. No, you don’t have to become an expert on therapist accreditations but knowing them is better than ignorance.
- LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
- NCC: National Certified Counselor.
- LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
- LCDC: Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.
- LMHC: Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
- LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor.
- PsyD: Doctor of Psychology.
- MD: Doctor of Medicine (physician psychiatrist).
- PhD: Doctor of Philosophy.
Therapists who are licensed should meet the qualifications of the state that may comprise of the following.
- They have to pass a license test.
- They have to pass a background check.
- They have to perform a specific number of supervised hours.
- They have to maintain constant education credits.
So, when you wish to know the level of degree that your chosen therapist has, know that his credentials are a proof that the state has approved his services.
Best Ways of Finding a Therapist for You
Get recommendation from family and friends
Ask friends who have been into therapy if they like the professional they’ve worked with. If they did, you may try working with them but again, as mentioned earlier, you can’t work with a person unless you connect to him. Being able to connect with your therapist is the key to receiving proper treatment.
Online shopping can help
How about looking at Therapist Finder? You can most likely find a worthy therapist on Psychology Today’s Therapy Directory. Additionally, you can choose BetterHelp therapists who don’t sell themselves; their main goal is helping patients.
Take a look at the pictures of the therapist
Check out the pictures on the Therapist directory. Few red flags are therapists that use glamour filters or who post seductive pictures of themselves. In case you have doubts regarding a therapist based on the photos added, always pay heed to your intuition and steer clear of them.
If you think there is an unconscious motivation for your behavior, meet a psychodynamic therapist. In case you wish to alter your thoughts and you think you don’t believe in the unconscious, this is when you should get help of a cognitive therapist. If you wish to work on your family and not only on you, try family therapists.
When you get the number of a therapist, call them. Ask them about the school he passed out from, his specialty, whether or not he has previously worked with issues that you face, his training, whether or not he has his license and how long he has been into the therapy business. Once you get the correct answers, decide on whether or not you want to work with him.
Therefore, stay aware of all red flags before selecting a therapist for yourself or for your family. Keep in mind all the above listed facts and tips while choosing a therapist.