Finding the right therapist can seem quite intimidating. Often figuring out where to start is what holds people back from pursuing therapy. Although initially, it can seem overwhelming once you get the ball rolling things become easier. Here are a few tips to help you find the right therapist.
Understand mental health and your individual needs
We often feel that there’s something going on inside of ourselves but have a difficult time understanding and explaining it to others. Fortunately, there are many resources out there that can help us develop better emotional vocabulary and decrease stigma surrounding mental health. Check out the podcasts Therapy for Black Girls, Latinx Therapy, Mental Health Mukbang for culturally relevant resources. Understanding your unique needs helps to build a foundation for the work you’ll do in therapy and assist in finding the right therapist.
Ask your friends and family
Unsure how to start your search for a therapist? Open the dialog with your friends and family to learn about their experience with therapy. These conversations can help you better understand what you want to gain from the therapy and the qualities you want in a therapist. Remember not to let someone else’s negative experience with therapy discourage you. Everyones experience is their own, use these to help you make a more informed decision about what you would want from a therapist.
Narrow down what qualities you want in a therapist
Don’t be afraid to get specific. gender identity, religious affiliation, ethnic background. It’s important to create a safe space and understanding what helps you feel safe and being able to communicate those things can lead to a more appropriate match. When talking to the therapist or intake person be open about what you want. They want to make sure that you are able to find the right fit as well so don’t be shy.
Explore modalities that interest you
It’s also important to share if you want a specific style of therapy. Be clear if you want a therapist that incorporates mindfulness or meditation into their practice. There are a wide variety of approaches, start by checking out this list from Psychology Today. If you’re unfamiliar with therapeutic modalities and open to learning more share with the intake person or therapist. This lets them know that youre open to exploring new modalities while working toward your goals.
Be open to meeting a few therapists
It’s important to be open when meeting with a therapist for the first time. Keep in mind that the first therapist you meet may not be the right match, that doesn’t mean the right fit isn’t out there. Remember it’s ok to take a break. If you feel burnt out from the search give yourself grace and time to build up the strength to try again.
About the Author
Cirrena Troutt has an M.A. Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco and is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) at Well Clinic in San Francisco. In her words:
“Maintaining a positive outlook on life can be difficult, especially when we’re surrounded by so many unknowns. If you would like to find out more about how we can work together to work towards your goals don’t hesitate to reach out.”