Finding the Right Therapist
Choosing a therapist can be a daunting task. There are so many names, photos, approaches and specialties to sort through. Even if you love ice cream, choosing one flavour, out of many options, to eat for the foreseeable future can be overwhelming
Fortunately, there are several factors that can help narrow down your search for a therapist.
- Benefit Coverage and Fees – If you have a benefit plan that covers a portion of therapy fees, look into the designations that are covered. At Living Well, we have Counsellors, Social Workers, Provisional Psychologists and Psychologists. Call your provider to make sure you know which designations are eligible under your benefits plan. If you don’t have benefits, consider what you can afford and whether sliding scale fees are an option.
- Schedule – Love your early morning coffee with a side of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? Find a therapist that offers morning appointments. If possible, find a therapist with availability that matches your calendar and needs.
- In-Person vs Online Therapy – Do you prefer to meet in person or virtually? Most therapists’ offices offer privacy and security that we can’t always get when online (either in our homes, offices or cars). In December, going out to your car for a 60 minute session can be chilly. However, if you have mobility limitations or can’t get to a therapist’s office for whatever reason, virtual therapy may do the trick. Studies show that online therapy is just as effective as in-person, so choose what works for you.
Therapist Approach and Fit
The fit between you and your therapist is essential to meaningful change. One way to assess fit before starting therapy is by taking advantage of free consults (most therapists offer these so both parties can identify if they’re well suited to each other). When you talk to a potential therapist, consider the following:
- Do you like them? Are you comfortable with how they speak, how they listen to you, and their general vibe? Do they seem genuine?
- Can you see yourself confiding in them? The good, the bad, and the ugly? It’s essential to have a safe, healing, nonjudgmental space in which to have difficult conversations.
- Does the therapist’s approach make sense to you? If you ask them how they would help you, do you believe it will be effective? Do they have experience helping people with your concerns?
- What are your expectations for therapy? Consider how long it may take, what sessions will look like, whether there will be homework or not. If the therapist you’re consulting has a different perspective, does their explanation make sense?
- Lastly, if you have previous experiences with therapy, what worked for you? What didn’t? Keep these in mind when interviewing potential therapists and even after you’ve started working with the person you’ve chosen. Feedback lets your therapist know what you need.
The relationship between a therapist and client is special. Ask the questions that can help you feel confident going into your first session.
American Psychological Association: The Division 12 APA Task Force. How Do I Find a Good Therapist? https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/finding-good-therapist.pdf
Laska, K. M., Gurman, A. S., & Wampold, B. E. (2014). Expanding the lens of evidence-based practice in psychotherapy: A common factors perspective. Psychotherapy, 51, 467-481. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034332
Photo reference: Stock Image from Microsoft Office
Megan Duffy, MC, is experienced in the areas of anxiety, burnout, healthy relationships, plus many more. For more information about Megan and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.