Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

How to Choose a Therapist


Aug. 6, 2021 Psychology Today

Are you looking for a new therapist? Or thinking of trying therapy for the first time?

Therapy is most effective when there is a good fit between therapist and client. The alphabet soup behind everyone’s names, the therapy jargon you might not understand, the multitude of certifications, trainings, and treatment models simply adds to your confusion. Even we therapists can experience this when trying to find therapists for ourselves or are providing referrals for family and friends. Let’s break this down into more manageable pieces.

Before you start your search:

  1. Get clear about what you want to accomplish in therapy or are needing support around.
  2. Decide if you want in-person or telehealth sessions.
  3. Know your accessibility needs and what will make it easier for you to commit to the process.
  4. Determine what values or life experiences are important for your therapist to have in common with you.

Once you have the above figured out, narrow your search based on these. Knowing what you want to accomplish or need support around allows you to search therapists’ sites and database profiles using keywords like “couples therapy” or “anxiety management.” Most therapists state clearly whether they offer in-person or virtual sessions. Many practices have both available. If you know you’re wanting one or the other be sure to add it to your search.

When considering accessibility, think about more than ADA compliance, languages spoken, and a schedule that fits with yours. You want to make sure your therapist takes your insurance, offer a sliding scale for payment, or that their session fees fit your budget. Additionally, if you’re going to do in-person sessions, is their office conveniently located? Because let’s be real, if the office is a challenge to get to, or going to therapy is going to require a three-hour time commitment, you’ll be more likely to cancel sessions and maybe quit sooner than you’d intended.

There are some who suggest a therapist’s values and life experiences should not impact the therapeutic relationship as therapists are trained to remain neutral, and to keep their personal beliefs, values, and life experiences out of the therapy. I suppose maybe if therapists weren’t also human beings that would always be true, but alas therapists are all humans first, and therapists second. Shared life experiences, dimensions of culture, and/or value systems can create a sense of safety and trust that only a “me too” connection creates.

Read More on Psychology Today

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

I’m Overwhelmed. What Can I Do?

How flexible emotion regulation can help improve your mental health.

Read More

Working With Your Partner to Confront and Control Stress

On dyadic coping.

Read More

Learned Hopefulness: The Key to a Successful Life

How to cultivate more authentic hope in your life.

Read More

Finding Peace in an Anxious World

A Personal Perspective: Change seems to be the new norm.

Read More

Beware of store credit cards this holiday

Here's why they may end up costing you more

Read More

Happy Thanksgiving

We're Grateful for You!

Read More

These 5 tricks will help you spend less this holiday season

You don't have to choose between spending a lot or skimping on gifts this year.

Read More

35+ Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Last minute dishes can be delicious and healthy.

Read More