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How to find a therapist that is right for you

Updated: Apr 22

Finding the therapist that is right for you whether it is your first therapist, or just looking to try a new therapist.


Two people on chairs talking



importance of finding a therapist that is right for you


While there may be many different approaches to therapy, and a diverse group of individuals who practice as therapists, one of the most important aspects of the therapy process is what is called the therapeutic relationship/alliance (i.e. relationship between you and your therapist). The quality of your relationship with the therapist can potentially impact both your experiences and the progress toward your intentions for therapy.


It has been suggested that the therapeutic relationship IS what predicts outcomes, in particular when this includes shared goals, interventions, and a strong therapeutic bond/alliance (Steindl, S.R., et al., 2022). Carl Rogers, a psychologist who is known as a founder of humanistic psychology and person-centered therapy, notes that there are some core things necessary in a relationship between you and your therapist and this includes things such as empathy, unconditional positive regard (e.g. feeling accepted by your therapist just as you are), and therapist genuineness to guild a safe, supportive relationship between you and your therapist (Van de Motter, 2022).


where to start when finding a therapist for the first time


People seek out therapy for a variety of reasons (e.g. a difficult situation, to find coping skills, to understand impact of trauma, to improve interpersonal relationships, etc.). And finding a therapist for the first time, or finding a new therapist that is right for you can be daunting and time consuming.


As you start looking for a therapist, you may want to start with identifying what you are hoping to get from the experience, and if there are certain concerns you hope to address with the support of a therapist. Think about the thoughts, feelings, and situations you are currently struggling with and what you would like to explore, change, and heal.




Where do I find a therapist that is a right fit for me


There are a variety of ways to find a therapist that is right for you. These can include asking others in your community if they have any recommendations. However, please be mindful that sometimes asking a loved one, personal friend, co-worker for a therapist referral may or may not prevent that therapist from being able to see you due to a potential conflict of interest depending on the relationships that your referral person has with the therapist recommendations they offer you. So it may be a good idea to ask your referral person what their relationship is with the therapists they recommend so you can also better assess how you feel about the recommendations.


Searching the internet for therapists near you, or with a particular specialty, or area of focus may also help you find potential therapists to talk with about working together. There are also various therapist directories that therapists and practices use to provide information about their work.


What to do once I find a few therapists that may be a right fit


Once you have identified a few potential therapists, we encourage you to schedule initial consultations with the therapist or the intake team (if the practice has one) to talk more about your interest in working with a particular therapist(s). Through the consultation appointment with the intake team and/or therapist, you will be able to get a sense of whether or not you may want to schedule an intake appointment to start therapy. Some practices, like ours, have experienced therapists on the intake team to help you best determine if we have a therapist that may fit well with what is important to you in finding a therapist that is a right fit.


Here are some questions you may want to consider for yourself, and to ask the intake team member, to help you in your search process.


  • What am I hoping to get out of the experience?

  • What are my specific goals?

  • What are some things that are important to me as far as the therapist and their approach to therapy?

  • What is my availability for therapy? (e.g. days/times)

  • Do I want in-person, telehealth, or option for both(hybrid)?

  • How often would I like to be seen?

  • Do I want to use insurance?

    • If yes, is the provider/practice in-network or out-of-network for my insurance plan?

    • If the provider/practice is out-of-network for my insurance plan, do i know what my out-of-network benefits are and how they work?

      • If not, we suggest you contact your insurance to find out by calling the number on the back of the card.


Find a therapist that is right for you


We understand how important it is to find a therapist that is right for you. We invite you to reach out if you are interested in seeing if one of the therapists on our team is a right fit based on what you are looking for, and our team member's area of practice.




References

Steindl, S.R., Matos, M., & Dimaggio, G. (2023). The interplay between therapeutic relationship and therapeutic technique: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 79, 1686-1696. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.23519


Van de Motter, A. (2022). Client-Centered Theory. In K.W. Bolton, J.C. Hall, & P. Lehmann (Eds.), Theoretical Perspectives for Direct Social Work Practice. Springer Publishing. https://doi.10.1891/9780826165565 (pp. 207-222).


Disclaimer

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as healthcare advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a healthcare professional-patient relationship. We do our best to keep information accurate and up to date, however mistakes do happen, and we cannot make guarantees regarding the accuracy of our information. We are not liable for any information on this website or your reliance upon it.

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