The search for a therapist can be overwhelming and daunting. It's a time-intensive process, but it can also be one of the most rewarding parts of your therapy experience. Finding someone who makes you feel comfortable, safe and understood is key to having the best mental health experience possible.
Is it “OK” to shop around for a therapist?
It is absolutely fine to shop around for a therapist. You should interview at least two therapists before making a decision. You are the best person to decide if someone will be able to help you, so take your time and find someone who feels right for you.
Asking questions during the initial meeting with your prospective therapist is a good way to gauge if they are going to be able to help you achieve your goals in therapy. Keep in mind that there may be times when you feel uncomfortable asking questions because it may make them feel uncomfortable or even angry. If this happens, don't be afraid to move on and try another therapist until one accepts your request for more information!
Preparing to interview therapists.
Before you start interviewing therapists, it's important to think about what exactly you want from the experience.
Write down questions that are important to ask during the interview.*
Ask friends and family for recommendations.*
Think about what you need from a therapist, and how they can help you achieve your goals.
Setting up the appointment.
First, contact the therapist by phone or email and ask for a free consultation. If they offer this service, take advantage of it! You can learn a lot about a therapist in just one session.
Next, schedule your appointment. Write down the therapist's name and contact information and make sure to show up on time (even if they're running late).
Ensuring Your Comfort Level During the Interview Process.
It's important to remember that interviewing your therapist is as much about you as it is about them. The questions you ask during the interview process will help you determine whether or not this person can meet your needs. You'll want to ask questions like:
What will be our first session like?
How long do you think it should take us to make progress in therapy together?
Do we need more than one session per week? If so, why? If not, why not?
The answers to these questions will give you a clear idea of what kind of therapist they are and what kind of work they do in general. If your prospective therapist doesn't offer up these kinds of details (or doesn’t know), that could indicate problems down the road—because if they don't know how long therapy takes, how can their clients be confident that they'll get better in time for graduation/the job hunt/holidays with family etc.?
What Kind of Therapy Will They Conduct?
What kind of therapy will they conduct?
What is their approach to therapy?
How do they describe their own style of practice?
Do they have specific areas of expertise that might be helpful for you?
Making a Commitment To Yourself.
It's important to remember that therapy is a process, and it takes time. You are not going to be "fixed" or feel better overnight. However, you also don't have to live with your problems anymore! The key is finding a therapist who will help you understand yourself better and provide support as you work through your issues. If at any point during treatment it becomes clear that the relationship with your therapist isn't working out, then consider finding a new one (or even two). There are plenty of qualified therapists out there!
I hope this article has been helpful to you in your search for a therapist. Remember that every therapist is different, and finding one that feels right to you will take time and patience. If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the process, consider asking friends, family members or colleagues who have been in therapy what they like about their therapist.