Are you looking for a therapist?
When you are stressed or in crisis, you may choose to find a therapist to help you navigate your way back to well-being. Whether it’s your first time seeking therapy or your tenth, finding the right one is perhaps one of the most critical factors in having effective care. Although you want someone right away, there are essential factors to consider. The right person will make a difference.
You want someone who understands and supports you. You want this person on your team. What’s more, it is someone who will guide you to solutions and understands that while we may not like it, change often comes through challenging what we know and committing to action.
Therapy is supposed to be yours, and a good therapist recognizes this. So I tell my clients in every first session that if you feel we aren’t a good match, please let me help you find someone else.
So what might be the first step? Research.
It is generally a great idea to do your research and prepare, particularly for therapy. It is not too unlike an interview, where people on both sides of the table are determining if they are a good match.
Similar to the job market, the number of openings will also impact your search. Lately, long wait lists have been a persistent and pervasive trend, so picking more than a few possible therapists may be a good idea. Moreover, insurance may determine therapy’s affordability, so verifying if the selected providers accept your insurance is crucial. Some practitioners may offer a sliding scale which is typically listed on their page.
While many of us rely on reviews to assess whether a product or service is worth our time and money, therapists often have much less internet footprint. When surfing through locations and specific listings, I recommend you read a practice description and a therapist’s “sales pitch.” Does it resonate with you? Are they speaking to you and your challenges? What target issues and treatment methods do they have listed? Photogenics should not be the only metric for your decision, so it is prudent to synthesize all information into an informed choice to reach out.
A quick internet search will likely result in several private practices and therapy services. Still, it may be as overwhelming as reviewing a thousand menu items—sometimes you don’t know what you want and if it’ll be satisfying!
Many providers offer both in-person and virtual meetings, but knowing what you can do and prefer may help filter your results. Websites such as Psychology Today, Therapists.com, and other profile listing services offer a large pool of client-seeking therapists with detailed profiles. In addition, your insurance company may have a list of providers they can also refer to you.
If one therapist is not accepting clients, they often will be able to point you to another.
Once you set up your first session, plan to make the most of it by brainstorming what you hope to achieve in therapy, and if you are unsure, your therapist can help you with that too!
Congratulations to you for taking the first step!