Therapy can be an extremely effective healing modality. Whether therapy is used on its own or as part of a multifaceted approach to healing mental and emotional struggles, talking to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can be tremendously helpful for one’s mental health.
While there’s often an assumption that therapy is reserved for those with more serious problems, the reality is that anyone can benefit from therapy. Talking to someone and feeling understood can be exceptionally beneficial whether experiencing deep emotional pain or dealing with everyday issues.
Whatever the reason one chooses to seek out therapy, finding the right therapist is essential. How do you find the right therapist for your own unique needs?
Finding the Right Therapist
Ultimately the therapist you choose will need to be someone experienced in the issues you bring to them.
Most importantly, you must feel you can trust this person and find comfort in their presence.
Following are a few things to look at when choosing the best therapist for your personal needs.
Decide which Kind of Therapist You Need
If you’re dealing with a specific mental health condition, it may be worth seeking out a therapist that specializes in that.
If you’re interested in finding someone to help with relationship difficulties or general stress, the type of therapist you seek will hold different credentials than someone trained to treat some of the more serious psychological struggles.
When looking for the right therapist, you want to find someone with plenty of experience working with your unique problems or condition, and any degree or certification necessary.
Do Your Own Research
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few potential candidates, find out as much about these people as you can. Before you book an appointment, use the internet to your advantage and look at their online presence.
What do previous clients have to say? How much experience does this person have in their area of expertise? Are they on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms? If so, what do these “tell” you about the type of person they are?
Once you’ve found out as much as possible online, get them on the phone and ask questions before your first meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly how much experience they have, what their educational background is, what treatments they offer, if what they offer is beneficial for your particular needs, and anything else you feel might be pertinent to knowing about this person before meeting them for the first time.
Feel Out Your First Session
Once you’ve decided on a therapist you feel comfortable meeting in person, feel them out the first time you meet. While feeling nervous is natural, you should still be able to assess your first impression of them from an initial face-to-face meeting.
One of the most important things to assess when finding the right therapist is how you feel in this person’s presence. This is someone you will end up spending a significant amount of time with, sharing personal aspects of your life you might not have ever shared with anyone else.
Going to therapy can make you feel extremely vulnerable and establishing trust and rapport with this person is imperative. When you go to your first session, become as aware as you possibly can about how being in the presence of this person makes you feel. Listen to your gut as objectively as you can.
Keep in mind that it might take a few sessions for you to gauge whether or not this is someone you can trust and open up to. Deep down, you’ll know if a therapist is right for you.
Let your feelings guide you. Does this person seem kind and compassionate? Do you feel a sense of judgment from them or are you at ease in their presence? Do you sense that they’re really listening to you or do they seem more detached?
While you might not be able to tell right away, you’ll either feel a safe connection with them or you won’t. If you don’t, this isn’t the right therapist for you.
If you are considering therapy, finding the right therapist is fundamental for lasting change. Figure out the type of therapist you need, do your own research, and trust your gut. When you find someone you feel comfortable with, you can then work together on healing so you can live a well-balanced, healthy, and happy life.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.