Whether you’re returning to therapy or are considering therapy for the first time, one of the most common questions people ask when looking for a therapist is, “How do I find the right therapist?” or “How do I know if a therapist is right for me?” The right therapist, after all, makes a world of difference. So, what can you do?
Signs A Therapist Is Right For You
In many ways, if a therapist is a good fit, you’ll likely know it. Sometimes, it’s about the chemistry in the therapeutic relationship rather than checking all of the boxes. That said, there are some things that can help you get the most out of your experience. Here are four signs a therapist is right for you and how to find a therapist with each trait.
1. They’re knowledgeable about your concerns.
If you are searching for support regarding a specific concern, such as anxiety, trauma, OCD, or something else, you will often want to see someone who works with or specializes in that concern.
How to find it:
When you look at a provider’s online profile or website, they will often have information about what conditions and concerns they work with. If they don’t, you can write to them through email or contact them by phone and ask what concerns they typically work with.
2. The kind of therapy they practice is the kind you want.
Some people know exactly what kind of therapy they’re looking for, but many other people don’t, and that is 100% okay. If you don’t know the specific type of therapy that you want, you may know what does and doesn’t work for you based on previous therapists, or you might know that there is a specific trait that would make you feel more comfortable in sessions. For example, some therapists will focus on the past more than the present or vice versa, and some therapists will provide more input than others.
How to find it:
Be upfront! Let a therapist know what you’re looking for, and again, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Additionally, if your current therapist seems to do something that is unhelpful, you can speak up and tell them what isn’t working or what would help you more. If they do not respect that or don’t practice a modality of therapy that you think you’d benefit from most, it might be time to switch providers. If you ever feel like therapy is not helping on an ongoing basis, if you feel constantly misunderstood, or if there are any other concerns where you can see that you just aren’t clicking with your therapist, this is always an option.
3. Their communication works for you.
Of course, you have to be able to show up to therapy in a way that is accessible and comfortable for you. Some people have a preference for seeing a therapist remotely so that they don’t have to commute to therapy sessions or because of the other advantages to seeking therapy remotely, such as increased options for finding the right therapist, where other people prefer to sit face-to-face with a therapist.
How to find it:
You can join an online therapy website or look for a provider who offers remote sessions in your area if you prefer remote therapy or think that you might. Research shows that online therapy is just as effective, and sometimes, it’s even more effective. Online therapy websites are also frequently more affordable ways to get therapy, and it can be much easier and faster to change therapists if you ever need to!
4. You feel understood.
It’s true that you may not feel 100% understood by your therapist from the get-go. It is important, however, that you feel understood or believe that they will be able to understand you in a way that will help you make progress. For example, you may want to find a therapist who specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ individuals, couples, and groups, or you may want to find a provider who speaks your native language. You might want a therapist who is of a specific gender, or you could want someone who is knowledgeable with regard to your religion.
How to find it:
If you are talking to someone else who is helping you find someone to see for talk therapy (for example, a social worker at your doctor’s office), let them know what you are looking for. Let them know the most important thing that you are looking for in a therapist, and don’t be afraid to give other details, too. For example, say that you have a preference for seeing a female therapist. You might say, “the most important thing is that I see a therapist who is female, and I would also like someone who is trauma-informed.” If you’re searching the web or using an online directory, you might look at the person’s profile to see if they have the attribute you’re looking for or to see if you can narrow it down to a list of providers who work a particular demographic.
Find A Therapist
There are a number of ways to go about finding a therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company or visit their website to see who they cover, search the web, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics to help you find a provider. All you have to do is type your zip code into the search bar, and you’ll see a range of therapists who are licensed to practice and work with a variety of concerns. The directory on the Mind Diagnostics website is an excellent tool that can help you find the right fit. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to start the process today.