Choosing to go to therapy can be a challenge in itself. Then you have to go meet a perfect stranger that you may tell some of your most interment thoughts and feelings to. This is sometimes an overwhelming task. I thought I would take the time to break the process of choosing a therapist into some easy steps. I hope this helps people make the process slightly less overwhelming.
Step 1: Ensure that the person is appropriately licensed.
- A therapist should have a master’s Degree and hold a License by the state.
- Here is how you can check for yourself
- They should have a LMHC, LMFT, or LCSW
- They can also be a Registered Intern which means they are out of school but still under supervision by a licensed professional.
Step 2: They should treat the situation you are dealing with.
I.E. if you have an eating disorder it is important to find a person who specializes in this.
- Ask the person about your particular situation.
- If they do not treat the situation they should refer you to someone who does.
Step 3: If you need to use your insurance for therapy call your insurance provider.
- They will have a list of therapists who take your insurance.
- You can still interview the therapists and decide if they work for you.
Step 4: If you are part of a minority cultural group ask the therapist questions about treating you
- While not all people from any culture meet a specific norm it is important that the person you choose understands you as an individual including your worldview.
- A therapist may not fully understand your culture but they should be open to ask questions and learn.
Step 5: If you are a member of a minority sexual group such as; LGBTQ, Ethical non-monogamy, or kink it may be difficult to find a professional who is competent.
- I know that it is a vulnerable situation to be open for some people but, it is important to ensure that you are open with the professional you are interviewing so they can inform you of whether or not they are competent.
- If the therapist is not competent ask for a referral they should know who treats your sexual community.
Step 6: If you find that a therapist is judgmental and does not respond effectively to your situation.
- This should not happen but if it does please remember we are humans and flawed as well.
- Don’t give up
- Call another person.
Step 7: Go to a first session and meet the Therapist.
- Forty percent of your ability to change in a therapeutic environment is that you have a good professional relationship with the therapist.
- It is important to respect and trust your therapist.
- If you are struggling to connect with the person providing therapy let the therapist know.
- The therapist will most likely explore the reasons why and see if it is something that can be resolved or if it is not going to work.
- We as therapist should not take this personal and should help you to find the kind of person you can connect with.