Psychotherapy is a special type of activity in which a person purposefully resolves those mental difficulties that arise. Walking this path, a person clarifies the invisible and cognizes the unknown, receives direct knowledge of himself/herself. Therefore psychotherapy can be considered one of the ways of self-knowledge.
If to look at 10 years ago, the advice to find and go to a therapist sounded almost like an insult, and a therapist was often confused with a psychiatrist. Today, seeking help from a therapist is gradually becoming the norm. However, almost anyone who decides to resort to a therapist for help inevitably has such questions: How to pick a therapist? Which one do I need to find? This article will answer these questions and provide the necessary information to find the top therapist.
Do I Need To Find A Therapist?
Before looking for a mental health therapist, it is essential to determine whether you need such a professional. Here are the cases when it is necessary to find one:
- When you notice that your mood has been depressed for a long time;
- When you are tormented by panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, or an irresistible desire to perform some kind of ritual (for example, turn over your shoulder three times or count all red cars);
- When you are in a state of extreme anxiety most of the day;
- When you experience emotional swings so intense that it interferes with normal relationships with those close to you;
- When you constantly torment yourself with thoughts about the “wrong” past or “terrible” future, you experience feelings of guilt, worthlessness, meaninglessness;
- When you feel pain here and there, the doctors cannot explain your complaints.
The list can go on and on. So, if you feel like you need to find a therapist, you need to find one immediately.
What Will Therapy Sessions Help You Achieve?
Here are the possible outcomes that you can expect after completing therapy:
- Solve a specific situation. For example, to translate conflict relations with parents into harmonious ones.
- Build comfortable psychological boundaries. On the one hand, it is to respect the rights of other people to freedom. On the other hand, to defend your interests and territory.
- Learn to withstand and control emotions. To become more resistant to stress, live without anxiety, depression, and begin to calmly respond to situations or actions that were previously stressful and painful.
- Feel valuable, become confident. High-quality psychotherapy as ideal parents — accepts a person unconditionally and helps to learn self-respect.
- Understand yourself. Studying yourself together with a therapist, you find to become a person who understands who they are and what they really want.
- Create harmonious relationships with your partner, children, parents, friends, colleagues.
- Live in the present. We often relive past happenings in our head: we dream of correcting mistakes and repeatedly think about painful situations. Therapy helps to see repressed emotions and leave them in the past.
If you have decided that you want to achieve at least one of the points mentioned above, you might want to know how to find a counselor that is right for you.
How To Find The Right Therapist?
Before even trying to find a top therapist, you need to know what exactly you try to find. The factors listed below can become handy with this mission. This will ensure that your needs are most effectively considered when you start looking for a mental health therapist. So, how to choose a therapist?
Listen to Your Needs
First, think about where you are in your process of seeking help and what you need right now. If you find counseling because you are in a crisis (persistent thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else, for example), ignore the rest of this list and immediately go to the nearest counseling office.
Suppose you are not in a crisis but have never attended therapy sessions before. In that case, you need to see someone first for a full assessment to understand your diagnosis and develop a precise treatment plan. If you know your problem, you may try to find someone for long term psychotherapy. Or you can also find a therapist for short term work in a very specific situation.
Location and Accessibility
Make sure that the professional you find is available according to your schedule. Also, consider the therapist’s location. How far are you willing to drive? Are you considering psychotherapy online, via skype or a website platform? Remember, therapy only works if you can consistently attend sessions.
The cost of therapy sessions may vary significantly. How to choose a psychologist that is budget-friendly? What price would be convenient for you? How many sessions can you afford? Does your insurance cover the costs?
Also, consider that online therapy you find is typically much more affordable than in-person therapy sessions. However, keep in mind that for some people, in-person therapy is more effective than the online company one and vice versa. So, it is crucial to rely on your needs and preferences.
Specialist Type and Level of Expertise
Another factor to consider is the type and level of knowledge you find in the mental health therapist. Think about the problems you want to deal with and look for counseling experts who specialize in these issues. If you are unsure about what you want to work on (and this is what a therapist should help you with), try to have at least a general idea of your goals in therapy.
However, you should be aware that experience can often come with higher prices. While this is not always the case, you should expect more if you are willing to work with a very high-level therapist.
Make sure that the therapist you find complies with the rules of confidentiality. This means that he/she does not tell third parties about his clients (the exception is a supervisor and a personal therapist, but they are also obliged to keep secret what was said to them in the session), does not describe sessions on social networks or individual blog, does not tag clients in posts and does not upload recordings of sessions to YouTube, even with the mark “with the client’s permission.”
There are many schools and therapy methods, and each therapist has a different opinion on which approach will give the best results. Think a little about which is best for you, and be sure to ask any therapist you find about their specialization and how they describe their approach to psychotherapy.
Take Your Time
It is important to remember that finding a good therapist takes time. You will have to talk to a few on the phone and feel if they suit your needs. You may need to meet a couple of them before you find the one you are most comfortable with. It is okay if the first one that you visit doesn’t turn out to be as expected.
What Should You Do If You Failed In Finding A Suitable Expert?
It can happen that all the listed specialists you find seem to be not suitable for you, and the thought of meeting them, despite the need to find the outside help, causes rejection. Perhaps this is your case if:
- you believe in fate, magic, karma, and omens;
- you are sure that there are influential people in the world who can quickly change your life;
- you are convinced that someone else is to blame for your problems;
- you consider psychology to be a pseudoscience and doubt that it is worth paying for;
- it seems to you that a person is arranged very simply, and there is no need to delve into the soul.
If you have recognized any of the above in yourself, this does not mean that you cannot be helped. Your case is not hopeless. But interaction with specialists will be hampered by your attitudes, which will slow down the recovery process.
FAQ’s About Online Therapy
Still, have some questions left about choosing a proper therapist for your needs? Check out these questions and answers.
What Is the Most Important Factor When I Find a Therapist?
While all of the factors are important, the primary one is the quality of the communication that you have going on with your chosen therapist. If you feel comfortable telling everything to the therapist, then it might be the right one for you.
How Do I Find a Therapist for Anxiety?
You can try to find psychotherapist with the help of Google. Also, try contacting the local medical establishment’s psychiatry department, the nearby hospital, asking about a mental health clinic nearby, or searching through the APA database. Moreover, if you try to find an online therapist, try googling the top companies that provide mental health counseling services.
What Qualities Should a Therapist I Try to Find Have?
While some qualities are more important for some people, others consider other qualities more important. But the main ones are — critical thinking, empathy, social skills, and listening skills.
Should I Find a Male or Female Therapist?
It depends on what gender you find yourself more comfortable to open up and communicate with. There is a lot of highly-trained and qualified both male and female mental health specialists.
Where Do Psychologists Usually Work?
Typically, nowadays, psychotherapy services are available both online and in-person. With the first option, you can communicate with a therapist anywhere using your computer or any other technological device. The second option entails visiting a psychologist’s office.
The Bottom Line
There are actually many specialists who can help you, and with each of them, the therapy process will be slightly different. Find one or more, have a couple of sessions with them, and decide who you want to stick with.
It has been statistically proven that the most important therapeutic factor in psychotherapy is the therapist’s personality and the therapeutic relationship, not the method. Therefore, you should not dwell on the method, but you need to find and get exactly the person type that suits you. Finding the right therapist is not a fast and easy process, but still quite rewarding.