When life’s stresses and problems begin to accumulate and you need an outlet to vent your emotions, it’s always wise to seek professional help. A therapist is someone to confide in, who can help you through the psychological difficulties you face.
But in order to achieve the best results, you’ll need to find a therapist with whom you can communicate and build a rapport. But finding the right person can be often be a tricky and time consuming task. To help accelerate the process, here’s a guide to finding the perfect therapist.
When sifting through the range of therapists on offer to you, a few key considerations can help you refine your search. Dr. Robert Epstein, a research psychologist and developer of an online mental health screening test, says there are several important deciding factors to consider when choosing a therapist.
“Cost, accessibility, the relevant experience of the therapist, and your comfort level,” should all play a significant role in your decision making, he says. “If the therapist is too expensive for you or too much trouble for you to visit, you probably won’t stick with the process.”
Personal recommendations can be invaluable in your search for a new therapist. If possible, try asking the advice of someone who has experienced similar emotional troubles to your own. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with a friend, your regular physician or healthcare professional should be able to recommend a mental health specialist. Certain online directories can also help you to locate therapists in your area, and some even offer customer reviews and recommendations.
A therapist’s credentials can tell you a lot about how adept they will be at helping you through your problems. Of course, strong qualifications are always critical, but it’s also important that they are experienced enough in a specific area to cater to your needs. “These days, even if the therapist is assigned to you by an HMO, it’s pretty easy to find out about a therapist’s experience and training,” Epstein says. “If you suffer from a phobia, you’re probably better off with a therapist who has a lot of experience treating phobias or who has even had specific training in that area.”
If you’re feeling a little skittish about committing to a new therapist, you might consider booking for a trial session with the prospective psychoanalyst to test the waters and try to establish some potential chemistry. Of course, very little progress can be made in just one session, but it can provide you with a perspective on how you may progress together in the future. Use this time to evaluate your prospective therapist, particularly if you are feeling apprehensive or unsure about the process.
It’s important to be inquisitive during this all-important first meeting – ask about the process of therapy, how long it may take, and what kind of outcomes you might expect. If you feel comfortable with the answers you should be able to proceed to the next level with greater confidence.