How To Choose A Therapist

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The process of deciding to go to therapy is worthy of a blog post in itself.  There are estimates that a potential client will visit a website or listing of a therapist approximately 8 times before deciding to schedule. In the space between each website visit, there are stressors, relationships, circumstances, and difficulties that continue to arise, finally cresting to the point of impetus where the patient dials the phone number, or clicks the “book now” button on the website.

One of the difficult factors in choosing to begin therapy is figuring out which therapist to see.  Countless studies have confirmed that the best predictor of therapeutic outcomes is in the therapeutic alliance, or the relationship between therapist and patient.  It can be incredibly difficult – not to mention time-consuming, costly, and emotionally draining – to schedule appointments at numerous therapists’ offices, hoping to find the right relationship “click” that will lead to positive outcomes.

There are other factors, as well.  There are increasing numbers of providers who do not accept insurance – for several very good reasons why.  For those who must use their insurance for therapy, they may be constrained to a very small list of providers who accept that plan, and those providers may not have the specialization or expertise, or experience, that you require.  Word of mouth can also be difficult to rely on, as therapy is a private and confidential matter, your group of friends may not be openly discussing who they’ve seen, and why they do, or do not, like that provider.  For those that may be in the minority, it can be even more difficult to find a therapist who understands the experience of being a minority as well.

Understanding the types of therapy, and the different types of providers of therapy can help.  Within the field of mental health, providers range from doctoral level to bachelor’s level in degrees.  There are medical doctors, social workers, speech pathologists and yogis.  In short, there are a lot of things, and people, that can help!  Knowing the basics, like what you are needing help with, what your budget and time needs are, the location of the provider, and the type of person that will make you feel most at ease can help narrow the list down a bit.

Therapy Hive is a resource as well.  Therapist directories like ours allow a potential client to quickly look through many providers, to find one that works with the condition and factors that you need, with the availability and other parameters outlined on the listing.  There is also the added peace of mind that many directories require therapists to submit their license – and Therapy Hive in particular reviews resumes and experience as well, to make sure that a provider has the experience that you need them to have.

More and more providers are also offering “consultation appointments,” where a potential client will either meet with the therapist, or speak to the therapist by phone.  This brief introduction is a chance to see if the relationship can click.  Is this a provider that you feel comfortable speaking with?  Were your questions answered satisfactorily?  The first appointment is a much longer and more formal and detailed process of introduction, and likely the therapist will want to collaborate with you on deciding to move forward, and what a treatment plan will comprise of.

The bottom line is that there is an abundance of therapists and support available.  While this can feel overwhelming to someone seeking help and support, it helps to know that there are easy ways to narrow the list, and find the right sort of help that you need.

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