How to choose the best therapist for you
Counseling is a profoundly personal experience, and the hard work of a successful therapeutic experience begins with finding the right therapist for you. Have you been considering therapy for a while? You’re not alone; mental health struggles have been on the rise, with the Covid-19 Pandemic wreaking havoc over the last two years. Many people have felt anxiety, depression, and other negative mental health symptoms increase during this unprecedented time in history. Therefore the need for depression counseling and anxiety counseling is rising at a rapid rate as well. If you have been thinking about seeking counseling, please keep reading to learn how to choose the right therapist for you.
Maybe you’ve got a friend or family member who has been seeing a therapist for a while and says, “My counselor is amazing; you should make an appointment with them!” However, will that therapist be able to help you too? No matter how talented a therapist may be, one person can’t be the right fit for everyone. Choosing the wrong therapist for your needs can be a huge factor in a successful therapeutic experience. When you’re looking for the right therapist for you, what you’ll be trying to find is someone with which you can build a Therapeutic Alliance.
What is the Therapeutic Alliance?
The Therapeutic Alliance is the bond developed between you and your therapist. An essential part of creating this bond with your therapist is establishing trust. If you feel uncomfortable or don’t trust your therapist to know or care about what’s best for your circumstances, you are less likely to open up to that person truly. Mental health growth and healing occur through examining our inner selves. Those deep, personal, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations are vital to achieving your mental health goals. Finding a therapist that you feel safe having these conversations with is of the utmost importance.
Another important aspect of the Therapeutic Alliance is being in agreement with your therapist about the goals of your work together and the methods and timeframe for achieving those goals. If you don’t like the methods or timeframe proposed by your therapist, it will be difficult for you to commit to the process, and therefore, it will be much harder to reach your goals successfully.
Carl Rogers identified three main components of a successful therapeutic relationship. Those components include empathy, authenticity, and genuine regard for the client. In other words, your therapist should care about you and your needs; they should be themselves and see your value as a person. If you feel like your therapist relationship does not have all of these components, you should consider looking for another therapist who is a better fit for you.
Things to Consider when looking for a Therapist
Many people instinctively prefer to work with a therapist of a particular gender. Or they feel incredibly uncomfortable working with a specific gender. You should take some time to consider if either of these statements applies to you and look for a therapist of a particular gender that you feel most comfortable with.
Some people feel more comfortable working with a therapist close to their own age, while others prefer someone older or younger than them. You should think about your own needs and if you feel those needs are best served by working with someone within a specific age range.
Suppose you are a particularly religious person and hope to find therapeutic support and advice that fits within the parameters of your religious belief. In that case, finding a therapist who shares your religious belief could be significant to you.
Not all therapists specialize in all of the unique needs within the mental health field. Some specialize in marital therapy, some specialize in trauma, while others specialize in working with children. Most therapists are familiar with helping their clients through anxiety and depression as these are the most common mental health struggles that will come through their practice. However, if you are dealing with something specific, it would be wise to find someone specializing in the area you need the most help in.
All licensed therapists go through extensive education, training, and testing to obtain their license. However, some may find comfort in working with a therapist with more experience.
Insurance and Cost
In a perfect world, we would be able to choose our therapist based solely on our personal needs, but for many, there is also a financial factor to consider. Take a look at your finances and take the time to determine what you can afford for private-pay therapy, or if you need to look for a therapist who is covered under your current health insurance network.
With the Covid-19 Pandemic still in effect across the country, many therapists have transitioned their practices to include teletherapy. However, some people are still more comfortable with in-person therapy sessions. If this is the case for you, you will most definitely want to consider location when looking for a therapist for you.
It May Take Time
Finding the right therapist may take some time, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it right on the first go! Suppose you’ve been working with your therapist for a while, and you feel like the relationship isn’t what you were hoping for, or you aren’t comfortable with how your sessions are going. In that case, it’s perfectly ok to consider looking for someone else! Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of switching therapists because it feels sort of like a break-up, and they are worried about hurting their current therapists’ feelings. You should always keep in mind that seeking support for your mental health is ultimately about doing what is best for you! If you don’t feel like you’re bonding with or growing more comfortable with your therapist, you can absolutely try working with someone else to see if they may be a better fit for your needs.
At Georgetown Counseling and Wellness, we provide a compassionate space to tell your story and fully acknowledge your reality, utilizing proven treatment techniques. We have a staff of 5 therapists with a wide range of specialties and unique experience to fit the needs of as many of our fellow community members as we can. If you are in the Georgetown, Texas area and need support with mental health, couples counseling, children’s counseling, or are looking for a therapist for any other struggles you may be facing; please feel free to reach out! To get started finding the right therapist for you, please call (512) 400-4247.
Want to get to know us better? Join us for a Free Open House to check out our new offices and meet our fantastic team on Wednesday, September 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM.