In the past couple of years, I have seen 4 therapists. If I include the therapist that I am currently working with the total is 5. My method of finding a therapist in the past would be to look online, check their reviews, make sure they took my insurance, and make an appointment. It was not until a couple of months ago that I realized that I was going about the process all wrong. In hindsight, searching for a therapist is somewhat like searching for a partner. Would you date a person just because they say that they are available? No way! You must talk to them, and feel them out. You must figure out if that person is worthy of your time and vice versa. This is the same approach that should be used when looking for a therapist. Just because a person is a licensed therapist does not mean that they will be a good fit for you and your needs. I learned this the hard way.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when finding the right therapist:
- Hours of operation and schedule – Does the potential therapist’s office hours coincide with your schedule. Will you be able to keep your appointments easily based on the therapist’s available time slots?
- Location – Depending on how often you decide to see your therapist, will his or her office be easily accessible?
- Cost – Does your therapist accept insurance? If so, does the co-payment fit into your budget based on the number of visits that you have decided to visit the therapist weekly or monthly?
- Specialty – Does the therapist that you are considering have experience working with people who have been diagnosed with your illness or disorder?
- Reviews – Does the therapist have any reviews online? How have they been rated by other patients?
- Impression – Have you had a chance to speak with the therapist over the phone to discuss your situation? Did you get a good impression from the conversation?
- Chemistry – Have you had a session with the therapist? Did you feel that there was good chemistry between you and the therapist?
Those were just a few things to think about when looking for a therapist. When you are dealing with sensitive subjects such as mental illness that will be discussed in therapy, it is most important to have a therapist who offers a warm, non-judgmental space that will aid in a healthy recovery process. Take your time and do your homework before committing to a therapist. You feel unstoppable when you have the right therapist on your team.