Want to Find the Right Therapist for You? Just Ask Them

Finding the right therapist when you need one is critical to your mental health.

The thing is, not every therapist is right for every person. Some specialize in one area of psychology or another, of course.

It goes deeper than that though.

You need to find someone with whom you don’t mind sharing your innermost thoughts as well as the daily details of your life. Someone you trust. Someone with whom you click.

In fact, it’s a lot like finding an employee.

Your Therapist Works for You

The whole point of hiring of your therapist is to benefit you, and you will be working closely with them over a period of time and toward a common goal.

The client/therapist relationship is so similar to the employer/employee relationship, in fact, that you can go about finding a therapist in the same manner.

You can “interview them” in an informal sense…or even formally if you like.

When it comes to trading your hard-earned money for therapy, don’t be shy!

“I’ve found that over the years, clients feel that they are unable to ask questions to see if their therapist is truly a good fit based on their needs,” said Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP, and Chief Clinical Officer of Foundations Wellness Center. “You can (and should) definitely ask questions about experience, therapeutic style, and how the issues you are facing can be potentially resolved.”

Instead of interviewing potential therapists, Baksh shared, oftentimes clients in the private practice setting just attend the first session and present as they would like to be led, instead of asking questions to find out more about the professional that they are entrusting with the deepest details of their mind and lives.

As well, the credentials that therapists have can be confusing.

A Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can technically meet the same needs. Social work once meant engaging in more case management type work. With the current shift towards standardizing the educational requirements, however, both have the same general education prerequisites.

It’s more about forging a successful working relationship than the letters behind someone’s name. “Yes, they need to have some sort of educational background and credentials,” Baksh clarified. “But in the end, find someone you connect with – that’s absolutely critical to a successful treatment outcome.”

Also, it’s fine to ask for recommendations from friends and look at reviews online. In the end though, it comes down to how the two of you are able to work together.

It’s the same thing when employers look at potential candidates. There is no way to tell for certain that one will work out in the job itself – no matter what their pedigrees are nor what their references say. Interviews, degrees, and a few phone reference checks will only tell you so much. That’s why you need to be open to change if need be.

When It’s Time to Switch

You may find that, despite your best efforts, you are not with the right therapist for you.

Maybe you aren’t making progress anymore…or perhaps you never did.

Maybe they failed to establish trust with you. Maybe you just don’t respect them or their approach to your treatment.

Maybe you do feel comfortable and enjoy your sessions, but your condition is getting worse.

It happens; it doesn’t mean you are they are “bad” people, that you are irretrievable or beyond help, or that they don’t know what they are talking about. It does mean that there is a bad fit, and you need to keeping looking for another therapist.

Again, therapy is a very individual experience.

The bottom line is that you need to feel that you’re with the right person and on the right road. Eventually, you will both get to your destination.