Choosing a therapist can feel overwhelming. How can you tell in 45 minutes (or a 15 minute phone call) if you want to spend your time and money working with a therapist? What are the questions to help know if this therapist is a good fit? There are a few things to consider but the most important thing to know is whoever you choose as your therapist, you should know it’s your process. If things aren’t working, speak up.
First things first: Where to begin?
- Ask around: Seeing a therapist is getting more and more mainstream. Thank goodness the stigma is being lifted. Perhaps those you trust are also going to therapy and can recommend someone.
- Psychology Today: One of the more popular listings out there. Take a look at location, insurance accepted (if you are hoping to use insurance), and specialities.
- Insurance company: If you are planning to use insurance, call your insurance provider to determine your out of pocket costs for in and out of network providers. If you know you will be using your insurance, you can search the insurance company's website for a provider.
Now you have some names, consider
- Location, Location, Location: Narrow down your search by convenience to either your home or place of work. If going to therapy requires a challenging commute, you’ll be less inclined to go.
- Therapeutic approach: The majority of therapists out reference similar modailites. You may see the following over and over again: eclectic approaches, collaborative approaches, CBT, solution focused, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and so on. Before going into your first session or consultation call, have a sense of how you like to work through problems. Bring them up, what you want should be forward facing.
- Identity similarities/differences: If it’s important to you that your therapist shares the same or similar intersecting identities, make that your search priority.
- COST!!! Yes, cost is super important if you’re not using insurance. Really consider what you can afford. Talking about money can feel uncomfortable but therapy can also be uncomfortable if you’re worried about the session fee.
- Goodness of fit: At the end of the day, you need to feel that your therapist can support you and can create a healthy environment for change