Have you ever wondered how to go about finding the right therapist for you?
Maybe you’ve wanted to get into therapy for a while, but you’re just not sure what steps to take. Or maybe you’ve tried and didn’t have a great experience.
Finding the right therapist can be an overwhelming process and there’s a lot to consider.
But there are practical steps you can take that will help you find someone who has the right experience for your specific needs. The goal is to find someone who has the appropriate training and who you truly connect with and can open up to so that you can expand your mental wellness.
In honor of Mental Health Month, I’ve created a step-by-step guide and this VIDEO to help you find the right therapist so you can get the support you need to feel better.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting into therapy, I get it. There’s been a stigma when it comes to mental health help for a really long time. Thankfully, that stigma is beginning to dissolve as more and more people in the public eye (celebrities, athletes, even Prince Harry!) are opening up and talking about their own experiences with therapy and mental health issues.
Let me give you a little reframe if you feel like there’s something that’s still holding you back from seeking the support you need:
If you had a toothache, would you think that you should just have the strength to deal with the pain? Or that you should pull yourself up by your bootstraps and yank out that tooth yourself? Of course not!
Mental pain and psychological suffering are no different than any other medical issue. There’s nothing wrong or weak about you getting care from a professional. In fact, it takes brains and strength to know when you need help.
I’ve been in therapy consistently since I was 19 years old and it has added so much value to my life. I even switched my entire career in my 30’s from being a talent agent to psychotherapy because of the profound possibilities that therapy created blew my mind. The knowledge and tools that I could gain to lessen not just my own, but also the suffering, stress and struggle of others was something I became wildly passionate about…and still am to this day.
So let’s get into my step-by-step method to find the right therapist for you:
Step 1. Get Internal Clarity
Think about what you want to get help with.
- What is causing my pain?
- What is stressing me out?
- What is causing my suffering or frustration?
- How am I feeling on a day to day basis?
It could be an addiction, anxiety, depression, communication issues, past trauma, or relationship problems. Grab your journal and do a brain dump of everything that feels hard, everything that’s not working for you, or issues in your past that have caused you pain.
Getting clear on what you need help with before you start searching is going to yield a much more targeted and succinct search, which will increase your chances of finding the right match.
Step 2. Ask Around To Get A Recommendation
Ask other professionals you respect. Talk to your general practitioner, your gynecologist, or any other medical professional you know and trust. My feeling is that the good ones know one another and are happy to give referrals.
You can also ask the people in your life that you trust the most. If you have a friend or family member who has had a good experience with therapy and you feel comfortable sharing your search with them, just ask! Even though you might not want to see your sister’s therapist, often, therapists know other therapists and again, are happy to provide an excellent recommendation.
Step 3. Check Your Company’s Benefits
If you work for a company or corporation, it’s worth it to look into your employee benefits to see if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
This is a program in which a licensed therapist has a contract with the company or corporation, and employees are entitled to mental health assessments or short-term counseling. Each program is different, but usually, if more long term treatment is needed, the in-house therapist will refer you out. If you have this benefit, this could be a great place for you to start!
Step 4. Research Your Local Resources
Many schools and universities have mental health departments and can be resources for finding support. I had such a good experience when I first started therapy with someone who was in a training program at a university that I continued to see her for years after she graduated.
If you’re willing to work with someone who’s still in training, you can often get sessions at a discounted rate.
There are also counseling centers in towns and cities that aren’t associated with schools that offer short-term counseling on a sliding scale depending on your income. Catholic Charities Behavioral Healthcare provides services regardless of religious affiliation and has branches all over the US.
Step 5. Flex Your Internet Search Engine
Google is amazing, people! The key is to know how to narrow down your search to get the results you want. In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you a list of some of the different types of therapists, licensures and therapy modalities, so that you will know what to look for based on your needs. You can download that here now.
Other fantastic resources:
Psychology Today – There is a directory of verified therapists on this website. You can put in your zip code and issues you are seeking help with and it will give you targeted, local results with bios and credentials for each mental health professional.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America – This website also has a “Find a Therapist” feature and many resources if you’re seeking support with anxiety or depression.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness – Here you can access online support groups and other free mental health educational resources. There are also local chapters.
Step 6. Make Some Appointments & Ask the Right Questions
Once you’ve got some names of therapists you want to explore further, contact them, and ask if they will do a free consultation (sometimes they call it a free intake). It’s generally about a 20-minute conversation where you can ask them questions and see if it’s a good fit. Ideally, you’ll meet with a few therapists.
In the guide, I’m giving you a list of questions that you can use during your consultations so you’ll know what to ask and what to look for. You can grab that right here.
Remember: you are interviewing them, and the best way to prepare for this is to get into the right mindset, to know what you want, and to effectively communicate what you need help with the most. During your consultation, you’ll get a vibe from the person you’re speaking with, so try to listen to your intuition and be open to getting the answers you deserve so you can make the best choice for you.
Step 7: Consider Online Therapy
Online therapy is really a very valid option for people. Especially right now with some of us still sheltering-in-place or taking extra precautions because of COVID, this is a perfect time for this modality.
I’ve partnered with Better Help, an online therapy platform, after my team and I fully vetted their services. You fill out a short questionnaire and get matched with a therapist based on your specific needs and their expertise. We found them professional, quick to respond, and of course, beneficial to our mental wellness! You can choose how you connect with your Better Health professional: they offer text message support, phone or video sessions, and have different levels of plans to meet your needs and budget.
In my professional experience, I’ve found that virtual therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions. I’ve been connecting with my private clients online and over the phone for years. Here’s where you can go to learn more about Better Help.
I hope that this gave you some tools and strategies to feel more empowered to find the right therapist for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you might have, so please, drop me a comment here and let’s get the discussion going.
If you know someone this could help, please share this episode with them. It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, after all, so let’s work together to bust through stigmas and raise awareness!
Committing to therapy is giving yourself the gift of accelerating your growth and healing, and searching for the right fit for you is the first step. Make sure to download your guide with all of the resources and questions to ask during your consultations right here.
Thank you so much for listening, for sharing, for caring about your mental health. You are my people.
I hope you guys have the most amazing week and as always, take care of you.
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