I admit that therapy is not for everyone, but sometimes– if you find yourself in a place where you need to talk to someone outside of your circle for advice or more support, having a good therapist can be a lifesaver. Just like making friends or dating, finding the right person can talk some time and effort. Here are a couple of tips to make it easier.
1. Find a Therapist in Your Area
There are a lot of different ways to do this: Call your insurance company, check with local mental health organization such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Mental Health America, or search online with a resource such as Psychology Today’s Therapy Finder . The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a list of online therapy finders.
2. Narrow Down Your List
Make a list of what you’re looking for and narrow down your search. Are you looking for a specific gender, a specific age range, length of time in practice, specialty areas, etc? It is really important that you “shop around” and find exactly the person that you’re looking for – this isn’t just picking out a box of cereal – this person will be intimately involved in your life!
3. Get Specific
Be weary of therapists who glamorize themselves or claim to specialize in EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t trust someone to work with me on my depression, if they claimed to be an expert in 100 other things as well. People just really can’t be that great at everything. Also remember that therapists are in business to make money just as much as, if not more sometimes, than they are looking to help others – so ask questions!
4. Ask Question
This person is going to be asking you all kinds of questions so make sure that you ask them some questions of your own: “Where did you go to school? Are you licensed? What type of therapy do you do? Have you ever worked with someone with similar issues to mine? Have you ever been in therapy? Write a list of questions that you would like answered before your therapeutic relationship begins.
5. Go with Your Gut
Follow your intuition. Do you feel comfortable sitting in the room with them? Do you feel heard? Do you feel like some progress is being made? Can you be open and honest? These are all important feelings so please do not ignore them. Your therapist will not feel let down or offended if they are not a right fit for you, this is about you – not them. So if you need to move on and find someone new – let your therapist know that you won’t be coming back and why – then move on to the next. It can be challenging to tell your story over and over to new people. But try to keep in mind that this is something you’re doing for yourself, to find peace and to feel whole. You are worth it!
Your turn: Do you have a therapist? How did you find them?