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Whether you’ve seen multiple mental health experts before or are ready to have a session for the first time, choosing a therapist possible for your current needs and personality style is essential.
With many therapists available and different techniques, it can be tricky to find the most suitable fit. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a therapist you’ll open up to.
Before you pick your therapist, get clear on your goals for choosing a therapist appointment. Consider things such as the difficulties you’re facing at the moment or could meet soon and how they’re affecting you and your life. Understand what you want to get from therapy and what you hope will improve for you due to attending sessions. For some people, the goal of seeing a counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other professional is to identify the “not quite right” feeling they have or articulate sub-conscious anxieties or desires.
There’s no right or wrong answer to the aims you have for treatment, as it’s such an individual thing. Just try to be as specific as possible with your aspirations to know them for yourself and articulate them to a mental health practitioner.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Therapist
One of the most crucial elements in picking a therapist is selecting someone suitably qualified. They should have the necessary educational degrees or certificates to their name and the proper licensing for their field. Always double-check these things rather than assuming people will only advertise if they possess such requirements.
You’ll also want to find a person with plenty of experience in their role and, if you need help in a particular area, someone adept at that treatment type or topic.
You might require the services of a therapist schooled in a certain technique, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, desensitizing, Gestalt therapy, or psychoanalysis. Therapists don’t learn every approach, so if you know you’re after help in a certain way, be on the lookout for this when checking out practitioner websites.
You might also be choosing a therapist who focuses primarily on one area. For instance, practitioners can concentrate on eating disorders, depression, divorce, domestic violence, social anxiety, career planning and achievement, personality disorders, grief, addiction, and so on.
Another factor in your decision-making will be the communication style of therapists. Pick a therapist who not only speaks your primary language well but who interacts with you in a way that suits your personality style. Some therapists choose to spend most of a session listening and letting clients guide what gets discussed, while others take more of an active role in leading conversations.
No matter what style someone has, you need to feel that they’re a good listener who is paying attention at all times and that you feel comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them.
Location matters, too. We’re all busy these days, and it’s generally easier choosing a therapist whose practice is nearby our home or office than to have to navigate long drives and lots of traffic to go further afield. Having said that, though, if you choosing a therapist who isn’t so close by but that gets rave reviews and specializes in the area you need, it may be worth the extra travel.
Alternatively, remember that the array of mental health workers offering online therapy these days makes things simpler. Thanks to technology, you can be choosing a therapist located anywhere and chat with them via video conferencing tools or phone calls. This increases the pool of people you can select from and can save you time (and often money) in turn.
Think about it before choosing a therapist. For example, you might only be able to fit in appointments on certain days of the week or within slim timeframes each day. The fit isn’t there if a therapist doesn’t operate in the hours when you’re free.
Similarly, it’s worth asking about general appointment availability when looking into your shortlist of therapist options. Some people are so popular that they’re booked out for weeks or months at a time. If you need to see someone soon, you’ll want to turn to other options.
As you consider who to choose for therapy, it also pays to consider the costs and if your insurance will cover sessions. Plus, take the time to read reviews about therapists and ask friends, family members, and colleagues for referrals, as this can be a great way to find an excellent practitioner. Take your time choosing a therapist you confide in who will guide you on your path to improved mental health. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make.