Finding the right therapist is a marathon, not a sprint – Flux Magazine
Words of Al Wood
Health experts who predicted that the pandemic would lead to a mental health phenomenon were right. Burnout, chronic stress, anxiety and depression have increased in recent years. Not to mention the alarming number of divorces, cases of domestic violence, deaths, suicides, murders and mass shootings resulting in trauma across the country. From celebrities like Simone Biles and frontline workers to ordinary citizens, everyone is finding it difficult to cope.
On the plus side, the current climate has encouraged more people to seek help from a therapist. The therapy is no longer considered taboo and is in high demand, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If you’re interested in finding a therapist, know that there’s more to it than clicking on a website and making an appointment. Read on to find out more.
Due Diligence – The background check
If you’re interested in buying a product, do your research to make sure it’s a good investment. You visit the company’s website, talk to people you know, and read online reviews to make an informed decision. The same goes for finding a therapist.
Confiding in someone about your feelings is not something to be taken lightly. For starters, you want to find out if they qualify. For example, if you are looking for marital assistance, you would want someone who has completed online MFT programs to get the knowledge they need to help couples and families. They also want to check their license to make sure they are practicing legally. Finally, get opinions and read reviews to see if they have a positive relationship.
Counseling interviews – the job interview
After identifying a few mental health professionals you are interested in, the next step is to schedule a consultation. Before moving on to assessments, talk therapy and treatments, the consultation serves as an “interviewing session”. They meet in person to discuss your needs and ask in-depth questions to help you make an informed decision.
During your first meeting with a counselor, you can learn about their specializations, the services they offer, treatment options, session prices, insurance coverage, and more.
The first meetings – the probationary period
Here’s the part of finding a therapist that most people don’t consider – the trial period. Just because someone has a psychology degree, is licensed to do so, has great feedback from clients, and accepts your health insurance doesn’t mean they’re a good fit. Essentially, the only way to tell if you’re making the right decision is to try.
The first three sessions should give you a general idea of whether or not you are connecting with your therapist. Pay attention to how you are feeling. Are they listening intently or staring out the window? Is the therapist judgmental or biased? Do they offer sound advice and methods to solve your problems? Do these methods work? And more importantly, are you comfortable opening up to them?
If it doesn’t work the first time…
What happens when you meet with a therapist a few times but aren’t happy with the results? Although coping with overwhelming emotions and overcoming traumatic events is a process that can take time, if you don’t see any improvement it may be time to move on. The same applies if you are uncomfortable talking to the therapist.
If you want to reap the full benefits of therapy, you need to find the right psychologist to guide you. Whether you know it or not, many people have to go through multiple therapists before finding the right one. As a courtesy, let your therapist know you are not satisfied. You may have a recommendation for another consultant who can better help you. If not, return to the drawing board with the tips listed above.
Finding a therapist is as easy as completing an internet search and scheduling a meeting with the first psychiatrist you encounter from the outside looking in. However, the reality is that it can take several weeks or even months to find someone who is right for you. As long as you remember this and stay motivated, you will eventually spot someone who ticks all the boxes.