If you are at a point in your life where you believe that therapy is the right option for you, the idea of finding the right therapist may be daunting. Just typing “therapist near me” into Google will bring up hundreds of results, all in a wide variety of disciplines and with a wide variety of testimonials. Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch with this guide. Here are the top 5 tips for finding the right therapist for you.
1: Ask For Recommendations
Asking people you trust for recommendations is a great place to start. This could be a friend, family member, coworker, or other health professional. If someone you trust can make a referral, this can act as a prescreening process. If you have a friend or family member who is a therapist, they would also be a good person to ask as well. Therapists tend to have good information about other reputable people.
2: Decide if You Need an Expert
Think about why you are seeking help and find someone who specializes in treating your particular issue if necessary. This is especially important if you are struggling with something very specific like OCD, ADHD, addiction or an eating disorder. There are evidence-based protocols which are used specifically to successfully treat issues like those listed above. If you are seeing someone who doesn’t have specific training in your issues, you might be wasting your time and money. Be wary of those who claim to be an expert in everything.
3: Use Industry Websites
The web is a great resource for locating and learning more about local therapists, boasting a large variety of specific industry websites that will often have testimonials and other indicators of quality. Psychology Today, for example, has a comprehensive listing of therapists and allows you to search based on several different factors. To be listed on Psychology Today, therapists must prove that they have an advanced degree and up-to-date professional license. You can read profiles or click through to individual therapist websites. You may also be able to discover something about their technique and get an idea of whether or not you will mesh well with them. After all, as Alan Behrem, a psychologist in Alpharetta, points out, the purpose of a therapist is to “give you the techniques, tools, skills, and guidance to achieve your goals,” and the right mix of these elements varies from person to person.
4: Interview Potential Therapists
Many therapists will have a lower priced or free first session. You should use this as an opportunity to interview them on various elements of their discipline that will affect your patient-doctor relationship. Question them on their therapeutic style, experience with your issues, and their preferred theories and techniques when it comes to psychology. Your potential therapist will likely be expecting some questions, so you don’t have to worry about being rude or somehow out of line. Just make sure to be polite but firm in discovering whether they are the right therapist for you and what your relationship will look like in the future.
5: Don’t Be Afraid to Begin Again
If you feel that your current therapist isn’t working out or that you are somehow not clicking with them, don’t be afraid to begin again. The sunk cost fallacy can become an expensive, destructive trap very quickly, and you shouldn’t be afraid of finding the best possible care for you and your unique needs. Your therapist will likely be willing to give you recommendations or referrals to professionals that they feel will be a better fit for you, and you should consider their expertise. But, ultimately, you are the only person who can decide if your therapist and your care is the right match to help you live your best life.