What To Look For In A Therapist




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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re continuing to write about this important subject. Today, we’ll be discussing what to look for in a therapist.


You’ve taken a huge step and decided to get a therapist - congratulations! Whatever you wish to accomplish through therapy, it will be much easier if you have the right therapist. Here are a few things to consider.


Price

Therapy can be expensive, but many therapists offer a sliding scale based on income. You should also check with your insurance company to see if they’ll offer any assistance. If the therapist you’re speaking to is too expensive, see if they can refer anyone within your price range.   


Specialty

Are you seeking help for substance abuse? Depression? Something else? Whatever you’re looking for, make sure your therapist has experience treating that condition. If they don’t, it probably isn’t the right fit for you.


Comfort Level

You’re probably going to have to answer some difficult questions, so you want to feel at ease sitting across from your therapist. No matter how brilliant they are, if you don’t feel comfortable expressing yourself to them, you will probably have trouble making progress.

 

Communication Skills

You want a therapist who is great at two things: listening and explaining. They should be able to hear you clearly and understand why you’re experiencing your symptoms. They should also be able to communicate with you in a way that you can easily understand.


When they develop a treatment plan for you, they should be able to explain why they chose it and why they believe it will be effective for you. As you continue to work together, they should be open to feedback and willing to make adjustments if necessary.


If you get the sense that their treatment plan is for a generic patient, rather than specifically designed for you, you may want to seek help elsewhere.


Call Them

It may take you a while to see if you click with a therapist, but you can get an idea if you call them beforehand. Explain why you’re seeking treatment and ask about their experience treating your condition. If you’re satisfied by their answers and feel comfortable speaking with them on the phone, it could be a good idea to set up an appointment.  


You can learn how to find mental health assistance, including therapy, here. If you need immediate help, call the Suicide Hotline at (800)-273-8255 or the Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)-799-7233.

By Luke Smith

 



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