Finding the right therapist is essential in order for therapy to be effective. For a relationship with your therapist to be impactful, one should be able to establish a personal connection in order to build trust, feel safe, and to be heard and challenged. Therapy is not always going to be pleasant every day, but having a therapist that you can trust increases the opportunity for self-exploration.
Here are a few tips to help you find the right therapist for your mental health journey:
Ask Friends and Family
The stigma against mental health can make people shy away from letting others in their personal circle know when they are seeking help. However, sometimes your friends and family can be one of the best resources to finding a great therapist. You may be surprised at how many people you know have gone to therapy before. Asking people you trust for recommendations can go a long way.
Using a therapist someone recommends could take away some of the anxiety or nervousness, knowing that they’ve helped someone else whose opinion you value. Or, if you personally know a friend or family member who is a therapist, asking them for recommendations can be a great help as well.
Choose Based on Specialties
Find a therapist who specializes in the specific issue with which you are dealing.. Whether its anxiety, depression, family issues, or other problems, ask your potential therapist what experience they have in those areas. Many therapists have specific areas that they are well-versed and interested in. Knowing this will help you choose an expert who is most familiar with the protocols necessary to help guide your treatment.
LARKR has a particular focus on matching you with a therapist specializing in your area of need, since this isn’t always as easy to find locally. The app’s proprietary algorithm analyzes the answers to the intake questions you provide and recommends a list of professionals in that specialty who are available to treat you.
Find a Channel Where You’re Comfortable
Traditional, in-office therapy has proven to be effective for many people. However, some people are not comfortable in this setting or perhaps its restrictions don’t fit with their needs and day-to-day lifestyle.
Luckily for those seeking mental health care today, traditional in-office therapy isn’t the only option available anymore. A number of options to get effective therapy are now at your fingertips, including video-based and text-based therapy.
LARKR is one new platform that provides on-demand video chat sessions, connecting patients to therapists anywhere across the country.
Whether you prefer video sessions or text-based conversations, seeking care through a platform that you’re comfortable with is vital to the success of your therapy.
Know Your Theoretical Orientation
Another great tip to help those seeking the right therapist, would be to learn what your theoretical orientation is. In psychology, a theoretical orientation is the way in which a therapist is trained to solve problems with their patients. It is normally broken up into five broad categories: psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, humanistic and holistic.
- Psychodynamic: focuses on family history and unconscious roots of your behavior
- Cognitive: focuses on negative thoughts and how to shift them into more positive thoughts
- Behavioral: focuses on poor behaviors that you have learned over time and how to change them
- Humanistic: focuses on your current state and how to help you achieve your maximum potential
- Holistic: combines various aspects of multiple therapy styles as well as non-traditional practices like guided imagery
Prior to looking into therapy, take some time to look into the various styles of therapy and think about which ones you think would be the most impactful for you.
Pay Attention to Chemistry
Don’t be afraid to call a few therapists once you’ve narrowed down some potential options and get a feel for what they are like over the phone. Trust your instincts and whether or not you feel comfortable speaking with them. Pay attention to their energy and if they seem interested in your situation and working with you to overcome any issues that you may have. This would be a great time to ask them questions about what their specialty areas are and what their theoretical orientation is.
While their experience and accomplishments in the field do hold weight, don’t let that distract you from the natural chemistry that you feel with them, and whether or not you feel like you would be able to build a trusting relationship with them.
Choosing a therapist may seem like a pressured decision, but it is important not to rush it. Take your time “window-shopping” for who you feel is truly the right fit.
Even if you try someone out and you realize that they may not have been what you were hoping for, that’s okay. You can still learn from that experience and take that with you while you search for someone who may be a closer fit.