Finding The Right Therapist Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

words Al Woods

Health experts that predicted the pandemic would result in a mental health phenomenon were right. Over the past few years, there’s been an increase in burnout, chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Not to mention the alarming number of divorces, domestic violence cases, deaths, suicides, homicides, and mass shootings, causing nationwide trauma. From celebrities like Simone Biles and frontline workers to everyday citizens, everyone is having a hard time coping. 

On the bright side, the current climate has encouraged more people to seek help from a therapist. No longer considered taboo, therapy is in high demand with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If you’re interested in finding a therapist, you should know that there’s more to it than clicking on a website and making an appointment. Continue reading to learn more. 

Finding Therapist

Due Diligence – The Background Check

When you’re interested in purchasing a product, you research to ensure it’s a good investment. You check out the company website, talk to people you know, and read online reviews to help you make an informed decision. The same is true when searching for a therapist. 

Entrusting someone with your emotions isn’t something to take lightly. For starters, you want to figure out if they’re qualified. For instance, if you’re looking for marital help, you’d like someone that has completed online MFT programs to get the knowledge they need to assist couples and families. You also want to check their license to ensure they’re practicing legally. Lastly, get opinions and read reviews to see if they have a positive rapport. 

Consultations – The Interview

After you’ve identified a few mental health professionals you’re interested in, the next step is scheduling a consultation. Before you get into assessments, talk therapy, and treatments, the consultation serves as an “interviewing session.” You meet one-on-one to discuss your needs and ask more in-depth questions to help you make an informed decision. 

During the initial meeting with a counselor, you can learn about their specializations, what services they offer, treatment options, session rates, insurance coverage, and more. 

choosing Therapist

First Few Meetings – The Trial Period

Here’s the part of finding a therapist that most people don’t consider – the trial period. Just because someone has a degree in psychology, the appropriate licensing, great feedback from clients, and accepts your health insurance, doesn’t mean they’re a good fit. Essentially, the only way to determine if you’re making the right decision is to give it a try. 

The first three sessions should give you a general idea of whether or not you’re connecting with your therapist. Pay attention to how you feel. Are they listening attentively or staring out the window? Is the therapist judgmental or biased? Do they provide sound advice and methods to try and resolve your issues? Are these methods working? More importantly, do you feel comfortable opening up to them?

If At First, You Don’t Succeed…

What happens if you meet with a therapist a few times but you’re not satisfied with the results? Although coping with overwhelming emotions and getting past traumatic events is a process that can take time, if you’re not seeing any progress, it may be time to move on. The same is true if you’re not comfortable speaking to the therapist. 

If you’re going to get the full advantages of therapy, you must find the right mental health professional to guide you. Whether you know it or not, many people have to go through multiple therapists before they find the right one. As a courtesy, inform your therapist that you’re not satisfied. They may have a referral for another counselor that can assist you better. If not, go back to the drawing board using the tips listed above. 

Finding a therapist is as simple as completing an internet search and scheduling a meeting with the first mental health professional you come across from the outside looking in. However, the reality is that it can take several weeks or even months to find someone suitable for you. As long as you remember this and remain motivated, you’ll eventually discover someone who checks all the boxes.

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