How to Find the Right Therapist for You
One of the hardest parts of considering therapy is the first one: finding the right therapist that can make you feel safe, comfortable, and open to talk to.
It may be difficult for you to take that first step into getting therapy and looking for the right therapist, but remember, you are not alone. In 2018, about 5.3 million Canadians said that they needed help for their mental health in the previous year, according to Statistics Canada.
Whether you are considering therapy to improve your mental health, outlook on life, relationships, or just looking for someone to talk to, finding the right therapist for you is important.
Here are some tips that can help you along your journey of finding someone that’s right for you:
Figure out what kind of therapy you are looking for
Do some research and see what type of therapy you are looking for. There are many different forms of therapy to choose from such as relationship therapy, art therapy, compassion-focused therapy, emotion-focused therapy, music therapy, and more. Some focus on areas like thoughts,emotions, some on behaviour, relationships etc.
Those are brief mentions of various therapies that could work for you. Figure out which therapy is your match. To explore more options, visit CAMH’s website for an extensive list. The multitude of options could seem overwhelming, however, deciding what you want to accomplish will help you in determining which one is best for you.
Make a list of potential therapists and starter questions
Once you find what type of therapy you are looking for, you can now narrow down your search to specific therapists. There are many online platforms that have extensive databases that you can go to to find therapists in your area, including their introductions, detailed descriptions on their speciality, treatment approaches and prices. You can also ask your family doctor, or an employee/family assistance program through work, a community information centre, a social service agency or a self-help group.
Once you have a complete list of therapists that you are satisfied with and want to contact, create a list of starter questions.
Sample questions from CAMH include:
What educational and professional training do you have?
How many years of experience do you have working as a therapist?
Do you have specific training or experience working with my particular issue (e.g., trauma, divorce, childhood sexual abuse)?
What is your approach to therapy for my specific problem?
Are you a member of an association or professional organization?
Remember to book a phone appointment to talk to them before you make a decision. This allows you to know what to expect from them, to learn more about them and their methodologies, and most importantly, to find out if it’s the right fit for you.
Allow yourself to take time to make a decision
No matter how many questions you may ask a therapist during your interview with them, you won’t know if they are your right fit until you have your first session with them. Everyone will respond differently and give different tips, tricks, and advice to you. If you feel that their methodologies are not suited for you, you can always find someone else or keep searching for other options. Don’t feel obligated to stay with a therapist because you had one or more sessions with them. Therapy is there to help you, not hinder you. If you feel a change is needed, then go for it.