While there are many therapists available today, choosing a therapist involves various considerations such as cost, experience, personality fit, convenience, therapy style, etc.
However, one of the most important aspects you should consider when asking yourself “How do I find a good therapist?” is whether the therapist is licensed, because only therapists with proper training receive a license. Also, make sure that the therapist is experienced in dealing with your concerns and double-check if they use evidence-based treatment for your concerns.
Inquire about the therapy fees, and whether your health insurance (if you have one) will cover the therapy. Find out about your potential therapist’s theoretical orientation and what kind of therapy they provide and see if that matches your needs.
Picking a therapist may seem overwhelming, so here are some thoughts on how to find a good one.
- Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations
If you have family members or friends who are already in therapy, ask if they can recommend someone. You may get some good referrals because your friends’ therapists may know someone who would be a good fit for you.
- Use the Internet
Don’t waste your time and money going from one therapist to another before you find a good fit. We live in an online age, so, the internet can be a helpful source when looking for a good therapist. Online databases such as Psych Central or Psychology Today have detailed listings of mental health professionals nationwide. These listings provide information regarding the therapist’s qualifications, years of practice, and their areas of expertise. You will also find practical information such as office hours, phone number, where the therapist’s office is located, whether they provide online counseling, and if they accept your insurance or not.
Also, consider online therapy. Many people find e-therapy convenient because it doesn’t limit you to your geographical area. Additionally, e-counseling platforms such as BetterHelp and TalkSpace are accessible and affordable and provide ongoing support.
- Know What You Want to Work On
Another way of finding the best therapist for you is the awareness of your symptoms or aspects of your life you want to improve. Even before you receive a diagnosis, you might know what issues you are struggling with. For example, if you have relationship problems, you may want to look up a good relationship therapist. Or, if you struggle with depression or anxiety symptoms, you might want a therapist who specializes in these mental health disorders.
- Know What Kinds of Therapy You are Open To
Before you decide which therapist may be a good fit for you, it is good to know what forms of therapy you are open to. For instance, if you want to change your thoughts and behaviors and believe doing that will improve your well-being, you might want to choose a cognitive-behavioral therapist. If you believe in the power of your subconscious and unconscious mind, you might want to work with a psychodynamic therapist.
Some of the most common types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Mindfulness-based Therapies, and Integrative Holistic Therapy.
- Consider Fees
If you found the therapist that you like, discuss the rates, particularly if you don’t have insurance to cover the fees. If your budget doesn’t fit the therapist’s rates, ask if they can recommend someone who would provide similar services at lower cost. There are interns at clinics who work pro-bono and charge much lower fees. Read more on therapy costs here.
- Take Time
Choosing a therapist is a deeply personal matter. After you selected a few potential therapists, you may want to set up initial appointments to see if they are a good fit. However, do not pick a therapist who is – for whatever reason – convenient, but whom you can trust and who fits your needs. Most importantly, you need to feel that the chosen therapist can help you.