How to find a therapist that fits your style: 7 simple tips

As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my head. I’m always scrambling to find the right words to connect my thoughts seamlessly and the experience goes from observation to document in the blink of an eye. By guiding not only my career but also my personal life, I convinced myself that simply Think through everything, I was able to find a solution and fix any problem, and sometimes, I did it alone. So learning how to find a therapist? Never been on my radar — that is, until now.

Like so many others, there’s a special place in my subconscious where hurt and pain resides — and after a few… tumultuous years, a little bit of that has surfaced. And while maintaining routines, being physically active, and eating emotionally-supportive foods have certainly worked, I’ve always believed in the power of reflection and finding support. So, naturally, it’s time to find a way to find a therapist. Especially a good person, if not a perfect fit.

Featured image of Teal Thomsen.

Pictures of Michelle Nash

Of course, with global levels of anxiety and depression rising sharply since 2020 (WHO reported a 25% increase in the prevalence of both diseases worldwide during the first year of the pandemic), there is no No wonder therapists and other mental health professionals are in high demand. Whether you’re returning to therapy after a hiatus or going deep for the first time, navigating the process of how to find a therapist can be a daunting task. And of course, the vulnerability of pouring out your heart to a stranger can be a huge source of fear or discomfort.

If you’re looking to start working with a therapist or aren’t sure where to start, know you’re in good hands. I spoke with Kathryn Lee, a psychotherapist and mental health associate based in New York City. Kathryn shared everything from how to start looking for a therapist and navigate a consultation call, to potential signs that could indicate a bad fit. So dive in and discover your guide on how to find a therapist and let the healing journey begin.

If someone is wondering how to find a therapist, where should they start?

If you’re new to the world of therapy, learning how to find a therapist can require a bit of self-reflection and taking time to understand your expectations. “The first step to consider when seeking therapy is determining what you want to achieve,” says Lee. “Although you don’t need to articulate all the details before your first session, it can be helpful to have an idea of ​​the ‘why’.”

You’ve probably heard of this idea before. It is often written about fitness, nutrition, and other health areas, and it certainly applies to the pursuit of therapy. As opposed to treating treatment as something you have to do, understanding why you want to go down this path can help create a more personalized experience and ultimately help you get more out of it. “By doing this,” adds Lee, “you can begin to form an idea of ​​what kind of therapy you want to work with and what kind of approach you might need and want in therapy.”

Before working with a therapist, how should someone prepare for success?

If you are losing interest in finding a therapist, you are not alone. “Finding a therapist can feel like an overwhelming and daunting process,” says Lee. “I want to encourage people to think of finding a therapist as a process similar to dating. Like dating, it will have its ups and downs.”

She recommends scheduling a few phone consultations before committing to working with a therapist. “During these phone consultations, be open, curious, and ask questions!” (For specific questions to ask, rest assured, we’ve got the answers for you below.)

Be prepared with ideas about how you want to structure the following: session tempo (how often you want to see your therapist), their availability, whether they accept insurance, and their session costs.

Lee adds another key consideration to keep in mind: “You’re likely inviting this person into some of your most vulnerable moments; therapy is a safe and sacred space. ”

Consider the following on your way to finding a therapist who will support your individual needs:

  • Do you feel safe and visible talking to this clinician?
  • Do you feel a connection based on trust, compassion, and respect?
  • Can you see yourself partnering with this clinician?

Pictures of Michelle Nash

What resources would you recommend someone use when looking for a therapist?

While finding a therapist that fits your style and can provide you with the treatment you’re looking for can be difficult, the internet is here to help. Lee recommends perusing the following mental health categories online:

Using these resources, Lee notes, you can “search for providers based on coverage, geographic location, expertise, and identity.” She adds that contacting your insurance provider directly can also be helpful, or that you can request a referral from your primary care physician or medical providers. other.

When it comes to a consultation call, what questions can help determine if it’s a good fit?

Many therapists offer free consultation calls before your first appointment. This can be a great time to better understand their approach and have a clearer idea of ​​what working together would be like. However, Lee says, “remember that you most likely won’t know for sure if it’s the right fit until you sit with them in practice. Research has shown that the client-therapist relationship is the single greatest indicator of achieving treatment goals.”

With that said, here are some questions Lee recommends asking to help you get the most out of your consultation call.

  • What is your theoretical direction and approach?
  • What is your general therapeutic philosophy?
  • Have you worked with customers who had a similar experience to mine?
  • How long are the lessons? How long will we meet?
  • What does a regular session look like?
  • Have you ever treated yourself?

Picture of Teal Thomsen

What are the cost-friendly alternatives to traditional treatments?

Whether you have insurance or not, therapy can still be low-cost. Fortunately, there are online and virtual platforms that are changing the game when it comes to making therapy more accessible and affordable for all. Lee recommends the following resources and tips for pursuing a path that fits your budget.

  • Betterhelp By filling out the questionnaire, you’ll be matched with one of Betterhelp’s 24,000 licensed therapists. From there, you can message your therapist at any time through the service’s website or app. Plans start at $40 per week.
  • Talkspace For $65 per week, this subscription-based service includes weekly live sessions and messaging support.
  • Open Path Collective With a lifetime membership ($59), you can find any provider in the group’s network for in-office and online psychotherapy sessions for $30 to $60 for personal.

Photos of Kate Thompson

What are the potential red flags to look out for?

For most things in life, when looking for a therapist, Lee encourages you to listen to your heart. “There are so many great therapists out there! While there may not be anything particularly ‘wrong’ with a therapist, they still may not be right for you. “

Here are some red flags you can look out for to help you decide if you want to pursue treatment with your doctor:

  • If the therapist doesn’t specialize in what you’re looking for.
  • If you feel that you do not have the therapist’s attention.
  • If you feel that the therapist is not respecting your boundaries.
  • If you feel judged during the session.
  • If you have not specified the initial goal of treatment.
  • If a therapist has never been to therapy before.

How long should someone see a therapist before determining if they should continue treatment?

“In my own clinical work,” Lee shares, “I like to check in with my clients often when we first start working together to gauge how they feel about speech therapy. shared.” She adds that if after a few sessions you don’t feel like a good fit, “they can help you find a clinician that’s a better fit for you based on what they’ve learned so far. ”

It’s important to remember that “breaking up” with your therapist is completely fine — and can even be an important step in your journey! “We understand that we’re not right for everyone,” says Lee. “However, we absolutely want everyone to receive the best care possible.” Be dedicated, the right therapist is there.

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