Tips for finding YOUR Therapist
Improving your mental health is not a one size fits all scenario. As such, finding the therapist that works for you is key to aiding your journey. There are plenty of qualified and educated professionals out there ready to help, but what makes one counsellor a better fit than the rest?
There are lots of things that could make or break the client-counsellor relationship. Maybe the therapist doesn’t specialize in what you are looking for. Maybe you would prefer a male, female, or non-binary cousellor. Some professionals only work with children and families, others specialize in certain types of therapies that may or may not work for you and your situation.
It also doesn’t hurt if you just like them, a counsellor may check off all of your boxes but if you just don’t mesh well with the person, as a person, then that can make or break a session.
How do I make sure a therapist is right for me?
Do your research.
Look up practices in your area, look at reviews, and look at their specialties.
If you are hoping to be in person, this will also narrow down your search to your hometown. The pandemic however opened up a new realm of individual counselling by allowing practices to open their virtual “doors” to patients around the world.
Narrow your search down to practices that suit your needs. If you are looking for help with personal anxiety you will likely need a different counsellor than someone looking for specialties in couples and family counseling.
If you are interested in EMDR then you will need someone with specialized training such as our very own Victoria West. Play therapy is also a special technique that not every therapist uses.
These are all things that you may want to consider when looking for a counsellor.
As well, many practices have multiple counsellors with different skill sets and different approaches so don’t get discouraged if the first person you look at doesn’t offer what you want. Take a look at all your options.
Make some calls
Once you have narrowed your search and you have a short list of clinics and therapists either make some calls or reach out via email. Many offices have places on their website for inquiries. Look for the Contact tab on our website.
After you reach out you may find that some of the clinics on your list are not currently accepting new clients, that is ok. You can ask if they have a waitlist or you can also choose to cross them off your list.
If a practice is accepting new clients, ask if they offer free consultations with your chosen therapist. This will allow you to ask specific questions and have a back and forth conversation with your potential counsellor. This can be key in choosing your therapist as you want them to be easy to talk to as well as easy to listen to. You want to like your therapist and you need to be able to trust them.
If you decide to go ahead and move forward with a counsellor then they will direct you to their onboarding process and set up the initial appointment.
Questions to ask your potential therapist.
How long have they been practicing?
This is important but it goes both ways. You may want someone with a lot of experience but you may also want someone that is close to your age range. If you want someone younger, you likely aren’t looking for someone with 30+ years of experience.
How much do you charge?
Money can be a factor especially if you are planning to pay out of pocket.
Check with your insurance to see how much coverage you have for counselling. As well see if you have a health spending account.
What does your general approach look like?
If you are looking for a specific method of counseling. EMDR, CBT, or Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies are just a few examples of approaches you may be looking for. However not every therapist is going to use the same approach.
If you don’t know what approach you are looking for that is ok too you don’t have to have all the answers but if you are looking for a specific approach this is a great question to ask.
If you do plan to go forward with sessions another great question to ask is:
How do I prepare for my first session?
There may be some light paperwork or a few questionnaires that they will want you to fill out. Maybe they want you to keep a log or journal for a couple days. Maybe they will ask you to have a certain app (like Jane) downloaded prior to your first session if you are choosing to go virtual. Maybe you want to ask about parking if you are going in person.
Let’s get it done.
Finding a counsellor may not always be easy but now you know where to start
- Do your research
- Make some calls/Send some emails
- Ask questions
- Repeat as needed
Leave a comment below and let us know if this article helped you! What questions do you suggest asking a potential therapist?
Everything is very open with a very clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!