Therapy and Mental Health: Guide to Finding the Right Therapist For You

Anyone can benefit from therapy. Whether you’re seeking help for a mental health condition, relationship issues, familial concerns, life stressors, or something else, one of the biggest things people grapple with when searching for a therapist is how to find the right one. Here are some steps to take to help you find the right therapist for you.

Think About Your Goals And Why You’re Seeking Therapy

People attend therapy for many reasons. Some know exactly why they want to go to therapy (for example, “My partner and I want to work on conflict resolution” or “I want to work on my anxiety”), but others have a looser idea. Sum up your reason for seeing someone in a sentence or two:

“I feel stuck in life.”

“Worrying about what other people think of me is getting in the way of living my life.”

“I live with anxiety, depression, and OCD. I want to learn skills and improve my quality of life.”

“My stress levels are high.”

“I’ve been very down lately.”

Let that sentence guide you. For example, if you’re not sure what your goals for therapy are but know you’re experiencing grief, when you reach out, you might ask, “do you have experience working with grief?” If so, great! If not, they may be able to recommend someone else. It’s also okay not to know; it’s just as valid to make an appointment and go from there.

Ask Yourself, “Is There Anything That’d Make Me More Comfortable?”

You want to see a therapist you feel comfortable talking to. For some, it’s a real game-changer to look for a therapist with specific traits or to look for a therapist who works with a specific demographic or group. Here are some examples:

  • If you’re LGBTQIA+, you may benefit the most from and feel the safest with an LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist who specializes in working with the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • If you’re of a particular religion, you may prefer to work with a therapist who has a specific religious affiliation.
  • If you’re most comfortable speaking to a therapist of the same gender, you may seek a therapist of the same gender.

These are only a few examples. You may wish to see a therapist of a particular age group (for example, someone your age or older) or prefer to see a therapist who shares or is familiar with your culture.

Ask Questions

When calling around to find a therapist, don’t hesitate to ask questions. You may ask about their credentials, schooling, what areas they have the greatest level of experience in, if they work with specific demographics or conditions, the modalities or approach they use, and so on. Many also ask about insurance, if a therapist offers sliding scale rates, and other matters related to cost or paying for therapy. If there’s something you want to know, ask.

Know That It’s Okay To Switch Providers

Sometimes, you’ll click with the first therapist you see. Other times, after a few sessions, you’ll realize they aren’t the right fit. This isn’t time wasted; instead, it gives you more information about what you need. Maybe, this experience taught you that you need someone who uses a specific approach – you might need someone who gives more input, or you might require someone with a better understanding of a specific condition or concern. If you realize at any point that a therapist isn’t right for you, remember that you have the option to find someone new. Therapists are trained to navigate this situation and won’t get offended, nor should they tell you that you cannot switch. A therapist is someone who works for you – not the other way around – so never feel bad about changing providers, and don’t give up if the first provider you see isn’t a match.

Try Online Therapy

Online therapy makes it easier than ever before to find the right therapist. When you use an online therapy website like MyTherapist, you take a short questionnaire when you sign up that’ll help you match with someone who meets your needs. It increases your options by allowing you to work with any licensed provider in your state on the platform, makes it easy to change providers, and you can start seeing your therapist faster than you would when you seek out in-person therapy. You deserve to find the right fit and get the support you need, so don’t hesitate to get started.

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