Choosing to talk to a trained therapist can be one of the hardest decisions you ever make in life, but selecting the right one for your needs can sometimes be even more challenging. There are many factors to consider, such as their fees, experience levels, and whether or not they work with people going through the same life events as you. If you’re ready to take the next step and seek mental health support, you might stand the best chance of picking the best therapist for your needs by doing some of the following things.
Ask someone you trust
Booking an appointment with a local therapist can sometimes be as simple as finding one in a directory and making a phone call. However, you might be able to improve your chances of finding someone suitable for your needs by asking someone you trust for a recommendation. A friend, family member, colleague, or your doctor might have a contact they recommend to assist with your particular needs. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s therapy goals are different, so a therapist who is perfect for one person might not be for another.
If you are trying to address a specific problem, such as an eating disorder, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder, consider reaching out to a national association or helpline explicitly focused on these areas.
Not only can these organizations have a wealth of information to assist with what you’re going through, but they can often point you in the direction of trained therapists in your local area. Organisations wouldn’t usually recommend individuals they don’t trust, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re only going to receive contact details for therapists who have helped many people in the same situation as you.
Identify your goals
Many people enlist a therapist’s services without knowing what they hope to get from the experience. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but studies show that your outlook can be better when a client and therapist have the same goals.
Think about why you’re seeking therapist help in the first place and let that guide the decision-making process. For example, if you’ve heard about the benefits of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), you might look for a therapist with experience offering this clinically proven therapy.
You might assume you must stick with the same therapist after your first session with them. However, you can use your first session to ask questions and decide if they’re the right person to help you on your mental health journey. Some of the best questions to ask include whether they have experience in your area, what treatment options they recommend for situations like yours, and their fee structure so you can budget for their services.
When you receive the answers to your questions, you can make an informed decision about their suitability for your needs. If you don’t believe they’re a good fit, you can explore the many other therapist options in your area until you find someone suitable.
Choosing the best therapist for your needs isn’t always a fast process, and it’s also not a process you should rush. Potentially improve your chances of finding the right match by taking some of the steps above.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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