If you are looking locally, a good way to find a therapist is to be mindful of word-of-mouth in the community. Often, people will self-disclose they are seeing a therapist, and will let slip positive and negative experiences that can point you in the right direction to a possible connection. If you are looking outside your local, residential area, one of the best ways to find a therapist is an internet search. An internet search will offer you the chance to review a therapist’s credentials, clinical focus, client reviews, and location, even before you reach out to make contact. You will be able to get a sense whether a therapist is a fit for you.
A healthy relationship with a therapist looks and feels like a warm, trusting, nonjudgmental, synergy with a focus on guided discovery. Your therapist should offer genuine interest in who you are and your goals for therapy. In this kind of therapeutic relationship, you will be able to trust that your therapist can call you out on the things getting in the way of your success and happiness. You’ll know it’s kismet when you can call your therapist out as well on issues presenting in sessions that may be getting in the way of your progress.
Ask mindful questions and listen to your instinct on this one. Does your therapist appear to listen to/hear you in session? Does your therapist ask for feedback from you on your positive and negative experiences in session? Do you sense you can’t trust your therapist? Do you find that your sessions typically focus on your therapist’s issues and not your own? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you have run into some issues that can plague the therapeutic process, and it may be time to start seeking out services of another clinician.
One important question to consider as well: “Is my therapist challenging me with the problems I am presenting with, or is he or she avoiding them?” You explored the option of therapy for guidance to point-out the “elephant” in the room. A well-trained therapist will know when to warmly point out that elephant when the time is right. He/she should see that you are worth exploring the reasons that brought you into therapy in the first place.
If a therapist isn’t a fit for you, that’s completely acceptable. Any therapist worth their salt will understand this and seek to problem-solve options for you to find greater progress, connection, and happiness.
There are several resources that can help you find a therapist. The internet is the fastest method of getting information you need. One of the best online resources to connect with a therapist is Psychology Today, which provides enough information on therapists for you to make an informed decision on your journey in therapy. GoodTherapy, TalkSpace, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are avenues that can point you in a fruitful direction when seeking therapeutic services as well.
There is another type of resource that may seem unorthodox but using a local therapist as a resource may be very effective in getting your needs met. If all else fails, and you seem to be at a loss of where to begin, reach out to a local provider and let them know what you are looking for. You may make an instant connection, or she/he can provide you with referrals that best fit your presenting problem. Remember, your mental wellness matters. It may take some time to find the perfect therapeutic fit for you, but you are worth it.
Scott Allen, LMHC