How To Find The Best Therapist
Every time you experience a certain physical health problem, your first and immediate step is to search for the best doctor or physician to help you with your problem.
Similarly, when you go through a mental health issue and feel the need for mental health counseling, you must find the right person to go to.
In times when one experiences chaos and turbulence in the mind, it is best to reach out to the best therapist out there, also called a mental health counselor. However, it can be quite a struggle to find a good therapist for yourself, one that caters to all your mental health needs and one that makes you comfortable enough to talk your way through all that is causing you mental stress and anxiety.
According to Betterhelp, the leading online counseling and therapy platform:
The first thing to determine when you’re looking for a therapist is if they have a license. A good therapist has a valid license that can be easily verified. You can search for public records to do that. Depending on the state, the therapist is registered to practice in; you can look to see if their license is valid with their particular board. Search based on their credentials-ie: LMFT, LPC, LCSW, etc.
Finding the Right Therapist Is Not As Easy As Finding Other Doctors
It is one thing to find a good physician for yourself who deals with physical health issues and procedures, but it is a whole different thing to reach out to a therapist, an unknown person, trust them and give them full access to literally your mind, soul and heart.
Regardless of what kind of mental health therapy you need, it is of utmost importance to put your mental health in the right person’s hands.
Most often than not, mental health is narrowed down to depression and anxiety. However, it can be anything and everything from everyday stress, death of a loved one, overwhelming feelings, strong emotions, job burnout to relationship problems, a difficult family situation, betrayal from a friend or substance abuse. Anything that might be causing an effect on a person’s mental health, be it positive or negative, can be discussed with a therapist.
In such uncontrollable situations, it is natural to want help from a trained professional who knows exactly how to help you get through such problems.
However, there are certain things and steps you must follow in order to find the right and the best mental health professional that can provide you the correct counseling and treatment.
Decide on the Type of Therapist you Need
The first and most important step is to understand the type of therapist you require to help you with your mental health.
A therapist is more like an umbrella term under which there are certifications such as psychologists, counselor, psychiatrist, where each of them offers different expertise and therapy methods.
For instance, a psychiatrist is a doctor that treats mental illness, and they are the only type of therapists that have the license to prescribe medications to their patients or clients.
A psychologist works by administering different diagnostic tests to understand a person’s mind and their main focus is to understand the various ways the brain affects human behavior followed by the correct treatment course.
Identifying the type of therapist and kind of therapy you need is key to finding the right therapist for yourself.
Ask Yourself Important Questions
Once you have figured out the type of therapist that best fits your needs, the next step is to ask yourself some very important questions. These questions tackle the basics like the gender of the therapist, for instance. While for some people, the gender of the therapist has nothing to do with their mental health treatment; others might associate comfort and trust with the respective gender of the therapist.
Other important aspects include things like whether you want a kind of therapist that simply listens to you and gives appropriate advice or someone who provides you concrete problem-solving tools. Also, are you looking for long term therapy or you wish for your therapy sessions to be over in a matter of weeks or a couple of months.
Therapy is a very intimate relationship, and these are important factors for you to consider because you want the kind of person who makes you absolutely comfortable and someone that makes it worth your while.
Ask Friends and Family
One way you can begin looking for the right therapist is by asking your friends and family. While you can always look for one online, it is often best to ask someone who can tell from experience.
It is probable that someone in your family knows a good therapist and has had a great experience with them, so they can guide you accordingly.
Referrals and word of mouth usually work best because people usually trust their friends and family to give them honest opinions and advice.
Look For the Right Credentials
When looking for someone to help you deal with your mental health, you will certainly want them to be trained, licensed and experienced in their field.
First and foremost, the person must be a licensed therapist or can even be a therapist-in-training. However, the former has about two years’ worth of experience, working under supervision, so it is best to opt for a licensed therapist.
They must have also received their doctoral degree and have had completed post-doctoral supervised experience before beginning to practice independently.
A therapist with an experience of clinical internship and doctoral-training is basically what you should be looking for.
How Much Can You Afford
Most of the times, when people are seeking therapy, they are already working within a budget, and the first thing they usually ask is how much will the therapy cost. This is understandable because long-term therapy can cost a lot sometimes, so you want to ensure that the fee of your therapist falls within your budget.
It is important to note here that several insurance companies provide financial coverage for mental health services. If you are covered by an employee assistance program or a private health insurance plan, you may not have to worry about finances.
However, if you aren’t covered, the burden falls on your pocket. So you must make sure that the therapist you choose is someone whose services you can truly afford.
While these are just a few basic steps to cover when looking for the right therapist, you must also ensure that the person has all the qualities that make a good therapist. Empathy, patience, a good listener, comfort level, warmth, and acceptance are some of the few important things that you must look for in a good therapist.