Having a therapist can help you sort through some tough things in your life, but having a good therapist can be life changing. There are many benefits to seeing a therapist, including getting a new perspective on a problem in your life, or feeling a sense of relief after venting about some pent-up emotions. However, I’ve found that it can be difficult to find one that suits your needs and is a good match to your personality, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
So what makes a good therapist? A therapist that is a good fit for you will make you feel comfortable, and has a plan to meet your needs. A good therapist asks questions, and listens intently. An experienced therapist keeps up with psychology research, and gives you things to work on outside of the sessions (“homework,” so to speak). A good therapist remembers details of things you’ve previously discussed with them, so they can keep up with your story. Good therapists steer clear from offering too much advice, and aim for assisting you to self-reflect. A good therapist will never make you feel judged or guilty for feeling the way you do. Try to find a therapist that have these qualities and practices.
Without further ado, here are my top 4 tips to finding a good therapist:
1. Have a consultation with them. Most counselors offer free consultations to allow you to meet with them, ask them any questions you may have, and to see if you are a good fit for them. Take advantage of this, and meet with as many therapists as you feel is necessary until you are comfortable.
2. Find a therapist that uses evidence-based therapies. In other words, find a therapist who uses techniques that have been tested and proven to be successful. Some common evidenced-based therapies are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Eye-Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization (EMDR). Spend some time Googling what types of techniques work best for your needs, and then look for a therapist who uses those methods. This way, there’s science to back up the fact that your treatment works. This may sound like a given, but not all therapists use evidence-based techniques. Some therapists just use “talk therapy,” (getting you to talk about your thoughts and feelings) and don’t actually use scientifically proven methods. While talk therapy can be helpful for some, it is not the most beneficial for those who suffer with mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.
3. Look around! I can’t emphasize this enough. Keep looking until you find someone who you feel will help you make the most progress. Do not settle. It’s okay to see a few therapists before you find one you really like. Personally, it took me three different therapists before I found one I thought would benefit me.
4. www.psychologytoday.com is a great resource to find therapists in your area, and you can search based on certain criteria, like therapy methods used or insurance accepted.
Thanks for reading! Lauren