You’ve made the exceptional step towards better mental health by choosing to start therapy. There’s only one problem; there seems to be thousands upon thousands of therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals to choose from! How can you possibly choose when you have so many options?
Thankfully, the following items are great things to look for when narrowing down your search for the ultimate therapist for you. Read on, and remember, never be afraid to ask questions of your future health care provider!
1. Team Effort
A good therapist is one that recognizes that therapy is done together, whether they’re a family therapist, couples therapist, or individual therapist. It’s a collaboration between you as a client and your mental health professional. A therapist should be intuitive enough to sense when certain tools or techniques from certain types of therapies aren’t working during a therapy session and adjust to suit your goals and needs. Likewise, a good counselor will hold you accountable and encourage you to be present on your road to better mental health.
Perhaps the most important thing to find when seeking therapy is a therapist you “click” with. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes this can take a few sessions, but it’s important to find a licensed therapist that you feel comfortable with. By no means do you need to be buddies with your counselor, but you should trust them, feel they are being authentic with you, make sure they are maintaining positive communication, and feel that they identify with you. In other words, cultivate a therapeutic relationship with them.
If you aren’t feeling any of those things, don’t worry, there are plenty of other helpful therapists out there that you may “jive” with better.
3. Niche or Specialties
While most mental health professionals can treat a wide variety of mental health concerns, most commonly anxiety and depression, it’s important to choose a therapist who has expertise in your particular struggles. Dealing with substance abuse? Seek out an addiction specialist. Recently lost a loved one and overcome by grief? Look for a potential therapist who specializes in grief and bereavement therapy.
In addition to looking into a therapist’s particular niche, if you’re interested in a certain therapy modality, look for a mental health professional that offers that type of therapy. For example, if you are interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, make sure your potential therapist has been educated in that therapy. Ultimately, make sure you choose a therapist that can create a treatment plan that fits you as an individual.
4. Education, Licensing & Certifications
Depending on your mental health concerns, you will want to seek out a mental health professional that has graduated from an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited university and is licensed in your state. There are many different levels of education for mental health professionals, so it’s important to ask your potential therapist about their education, check out their about pages and ask questions.
5. Costs & Insurance
Last, but not least, it’s always important to make sure you can afford a particular therapist’s fees and/or your insurance is accepted. While some therapists accept insurance, others may not. However, never be afraid to ask if a therapist has options for payment; many therapists offer sliding scales and can help you check with your insurance company to see if you have out-of network benefits. While finding a therapist that’s just right for you can be overwhelming and sometimes frustrating, know that there is that perfect mental health professional and treatment plan out there for you! Think I may be the perfect fit? Great! Feel free to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.
Dr. Lindsay Howard, Psychologist, Psy.D.
Hi! My name is Lindsay Howard, and I am a therapist in Parkland, FL. Along with serving the community here, I provide therapy for all residents of Florida. Learn more about how I can help you thrive by clicking below, or feel free to schedule a free 15 minute consultation today.