Deciding to take up therapy is a daunting step, considering mental health still has a stigma around it. It’s easy to feel like you should ignore your feelings because the thought of opening up to a stranger and telling them your deepest and darkest thoughts is genuinely terrifying. But therapy can change your life if you have the right person to help you.
If you’re wondering how you can go about finding the right therapist for you, keep on reading.
1 – Figure Out Your Requirements
Before you do anything else, you have to figure out what you want from therapy. Everyone has reasons to seek counseling, and you must make sure you know yours. It allows you to grasp what you’re looking for in a counselor. The goal is to find the person who is best fitted to help you with your specific needs. You can make a list of things that you want to work on or a list of things that might be making you unhappy. Doing some internal searching is a great idea to help you figure out what’s motivating you to take this step.
2 – Check For Credentials
Credentials are the most significant bit to consider to know that your therapist is a trusted professional. It can also confirm that they’re legally allowed to practice in the state they’re located in. They should have a proper degree and a license to be practicing. Though some people believe that therapists with licenses from online programs aren’t as qualified as traditional ones, that’s an outdated idea. There are excellent licensed clinical social worker online programs that turn out highly talented professionals in the field.
Beyond that, credentials can also help you narrow your search for what type of therapist you want. For example, if you’re looking into Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy, looking up their credentials will help you with that information. But if your demands are more general, you don’t need to get too caught up in the details.
3 – Deciding On Cultural Experiences
Though all therapists are trained to be sympathetic and understanding of all kinds of situations, many people don’t feel fully comfortable with ones who are from completely different backgrounds. They feel like their cultural experiences are far too complex to be understood by someone who is a stranger to them. It’s also a hassle to explain things that are normal for them but completely new and foreign to the therapist.
For example, people from the LGBTQ+ community often face this problem. They don’t want to talk to someone who doesn’t understand or acknowledge their experiences, so they prefer therapists who have experience dealing with people from their community.
4 – Get A Personal Recommendation
Searching for a therapist on your own is perfectly fine, but personal recommendations can give you the insight you can’t find otherwise. Get in touch with your friends and family and explain what you’re looking for. If they have experience with counseling, they can share their knowledge and explain the therapist’s treatment style and how it worked for them. If they don’t have personal experience, they can help expand your search by asking the people around them.
5 – Decide On Your Goals
Now that you’ve hopefully figured out your reasons for seeking therapy, it’s time to start thinking up some goals. It is directly linked to the first tip since your main motivation and goals are inextricably linked. Initially, you can come up with bigger goals that span a couple of months or even longer. These are a bit vague and provide a general idea of where you want to see yourself in the long run. After that, you can narrow it down to monthly and weekly goals.
It’s also important to not put too much pressure on yourself, the point is to grow, and as long as you’re doing that, it doesn’t matter how minuscule the steps may be. Smaller goals also give you more opportunities to celebrate new milestones and reward yourself. The latter is crucial, as therapy takes a lot of hard work.
6 – Craft A Budget
It’s no secret that therapy can be very expensive. Many people choose to back out of getting help because the costs are too much for them to handle. That’s why you need to calculate your budget right from the start. You can do this by looking up therapists near you or asking around to find a rough estimate of the costs in your area. After that, you can decide how many sessions you want to do in a week or a month. This will help you know how much you’ll need and adjust your plans accordingly. If you can’t come up with the finances, you can look up several free counseling services. Though try not to make the mistake of assuming the worst of them just because they’re free.
7 – Trials Runs
Now that you have narrowed your requirements and searched for a couple of options, it’s time to start taking sessions. You don’t need to feel nervous about whether you’ve made the wrong choice, as you’ll be taking some trial sessions first. It will allow you time to become comfortable with your chosen counselor and learn more about their treatment style. You can also ask them questions about how they like to go about things and whether they have experience with patients with a similar background.
After your first few sessions with a therapist, you can evaluate your progress and comfort level. If you feel like you couldn’t open up or don’t see them helping with your specific goals, move on to another option.
So, those are our tips on how you can go about finding the right therapist for you. The process might be tedious, but it ensures you find the perfect fit or whatever comes closest to it. Sometimes we feel like therapy is not right for us or isn’t helping us, but the only reason for it is that we haven’t found the right therapist. So, whatever demons you are looking to fight with therapy, we hope you succeed. Good luck!