Making the decision to seek therapy is a big step! It can be stressful to sort through all the directory listings and google searches for a therapist that fits your needs. You may not even know what you’re looking for initially and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the acronyms, specialties, and info out there.
The relationship between the therapist and client is actually the number one indicator of how successful therapy will be. Through my work as an online anxiety therapist in North Carolina, I have met with many clients who have had difficulty connecting with therapists in the past, so they stopped going to sessions.
There are a ton of approaches that work well for some clients and not others. You want to make sure that the therapist you are going to see looks/sounds/acts like what you need in your life. People who struggle with identifying their feelings may want a therapist who is directive. For example, a therapist who asks a lot of questions and/or assigns homework to help them identify their feelings more thoroughly between sessions.
Others may want a more free flowing approach and to guide the sessions themselves. Some clients want materials to read or listen to between sessions. Others prefer to wait for sessions to talk things out. There really is a therapist for everyone and you just have to think about what your preferences are.
Are you feeling really worried and overwhelmed all the time? Have you experienced a disturbing event that has caused you stress? Is your self esteem getting in the way of what you want out of your life? Look at the therapists in your area (or within the state if you want prefer Telehealth). Then, narrow down your search to the feelings/symptoms you are going through.
Read through the info on the therapist’s website and/or directory profile. There may be a lot of therapists out there who deal with anxiety/depression/eating disorders/etc. But you can tell a lot about a therapist by the way they describe themselves and their clients. Find the words that sounds the most relatable to you. For some clients, having a therapist who has similar demographics to them is essential. The biggest factor of a successful therapy experience is the therapeutic relationship, so finding the right therapist is very important.
You definitely want to double check the hours that the therapist is available. It would be so disappointing to find a therapist that you want to see, only to find out that their schedule doesn’t work for you at all. If their website doesn’t say their hours, you can always call or email them for verification.
Some therapists take insurance and others do not. Many of the therapists who do not take insurance do offer a superbill. A superbill is basically a receipt of services that you can send to your insurance company for partial reimbursement, if you have out-of-network benefits. Call your insurance company before or during your search to see if you have out-of -network benefits since that may open up your options for therapists.
You may have heard of a specific protocol or type of therapy that you’re interested in. Maybe you’ve read that EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) is great for people who’ve experienced trauma and you want to try it. Narrow your search down to therapists who use that framework.
Finding a therapist can be a daunting process. But if you use the tips listed above, it may make it a little clearer and easier to navigate. I hope you find the therapist that best fits you!