Are you wanting to start therapy, but are feeling overwhelmed by where to start?
Or maybe you’ve tried therapy before and it just didn’t seem to help that much?
Maybe you are wondering whether it’s worth trying again?
This is actually one of the most common things I hear when people find out I’m a therapist; they think counseling would be helpful but they’ve never reached out, or they’ve tried to connect to therapy but they met with a counselor a few times and didn’t really feel any different.
A lot of people decide from that point that therapy just “isn’t for them.”
I think when that happens that your therapist wasn’t for you.
So how do you pick a good one? The right one for you? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
1. Read through their therapist profile or website thoroughly.
Notice how you react and be honest. Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel completely neutral? Do you feel curious or inspired? Do you feel like they could understand what you are going through? Do they have something to offer that you are drawn to?
2. Reach out to them before you make a decision.
Most therapists offer a free phone call or video chat consultation to see if they would be a good fit for you. Again, notice how you feel as you are talking to them. You want to feel at ease with a therapist, with their responses helping you feel heard and maybe a little challenged.
If you notice that you feel hesitation or resistance, pay attention! It is helpful to schedule consultations with 2 to 3 therapists (or more!) so you have something to compare when you are deciding who you want to work with.
3. Ask the right questions. Here are few important ones:
– “What is your approach? How would you work with me on [your primary goal]?”
– “Do you receive regular supervision and/or your own therapy?”
– “What kind of issues have you worked with in the past?”
– “What did you do/where did you work before starting your own practice?”
If you feel hesitation or uncertainty about something during the selection process, see if you can name that to your potential therapist.
For example, in your consultation or even in an email after you’ve talked, try something like, “When you mentioned using breathing techniques, I got kind of nervous – those have never worked for me in the past.”
How they respond to your honesty will tell you a lot about whether they are a good fit and can offer a safe place to do meaningful work.
To sum up, the most important thing is how you feel when you talk with them – a mixture of some apprehension and feeling that you can trust someone is a great place to start.
It won’t always feel comfortable but you should always feel that your therapist understands you and is rooting for your success.
I hope this helps sort through the options available to you and happy growing!