Making the decision to see a therapist can be exciting. You’re starting your journey to prioritize your mental health and feel your best. It’s important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. Without strong rapport, you most likely won’t share your innermost thoughts and feelings. To help, we’ve rounded up five key things to consider when choosing a new therapist.
1. Consider Demographic Factors of Your New Therapist
When looking for a therapist, you may want to take into consideration their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other demographic factors that are important to you. You may find that you connect best with an older woman, someone the same age as you or even someone who is from a similar cultural background. Think about who you can see yourself opening up to. And if you find that you don’t have a preference, that’s ok as well.
2. What Do You Want from Therapy?
Think about what you want to accomplish in therapy. What goals do you wish to achieve? Which types of therapy are you interested in trying? Once you figure out what you want from your therapist, the next step is to find someone who specializes in those areas and can provide the right treatment.
3. Do Your Research
Take some time to understand the different types of therapy-related licenses, credentials and specialties. Then, find local therapists by searching online databases, your insurance provider’s directory or even LinkedIn. Make sure their office is located in a convenient location for you, understand which types of insurance they take, and even consider checking out a few reviews to see how others have liked working with them.
4. Make a Call and Ask Questions
Most therapists will allow a free phone consultation. Use that opportunity to conduct a brief interview and ask questions about things that matter to you. Below is a list of questions that may be important to ask a prospective therapist:
- What are your specialties?
- How long have you been practicing?
- How many years of experience do you have with people who are dealing with the same issues?
- Do you accept insurance or provide superbills?
- What does a typical session look like and how long is each session?
- If the treatment plan doesn’t work, what do we do next?
5. Monitor Your Progress with Your New Therapist
Your feelings of comfort and trust should be your top priority. As you move forward with a new therapist, pay attention to how you respond to treatment. When you meet with your therapist…
- Do you feel comfortable or tense?
- Do you feel emotionally and physically safe?
- Do you feel engaged or distracted?
- Do they set the right tone?
- Do you feel heard or judged?
- Do they push you to talk about topics that you aren’t ready to talk about?
- Do they invalidate or brush off your concerns?
There is no “one-size-fits-all” therapist, so if you don’t find the best therapist right away, keep searching. Don’t feel discouraged if the first one you meet with isn’t the best fit for you. There are many different types of therapists available, and it’s worth a little bit of searching to find the best fit for you.