How to Choose a Therapist

For most people, choosing to seek counseling is a difficult decision. Often one may suspect that they could benefit from therapy but have no idea how to find the right therapist. For this reason, I have composed some general guidelines that I hope will be helpful to you in finding a good fit.

#1 – According to research, the most important aspect of therapeutic change is a sense of trust and understanding between you and your therapist. When you are with your therapist you will want to feel at ease and find it comforting to sit in his/ her presence. You will notice that there is a sense of calm in the room. You will feel yourself able to be your authentic self while in session. You should also expect to find some benefit from the relationship within the first 3 sessions. If any of these factors is missing, you may want to consider finding a new therapist.

#2 – Your therapist should be able to provide an explanation of his/her general philosophy of how change and healing occurs. Evaluate whether the therapistʼs beliefs and practice matches your own expectations and ideas about change. You will feel more connected and more congruent if you are in mutual agreement with your therapist about the process of change.

#3 – Your therapist should be able to explain to you how she/he is qualified to help you solve whatever issue or concern you have brought in. The therapist should explain to you the assessments he/she may use to clearly identify the problem, and what skills will be addressed to affect necessary change. The therapist will also explain how both parties will know when therapy is complete. No one wants to be in therapy for an unnecessarily long period of time.

#4 – Your therapist should seek feedback from you about what is and is not working. The client/therapist relationship is a mutual one. All good therapists want and need to know how their clients are perceiving their help. Make sure your therapist values your feedback early in the counseling relationship.

#5 – Make sure that your therapist has a sense of humor. Therapy often involves heavy and draining emotional material. Being able to laugh while in the midst of exploring difficult topics will make the healing process more enjoyable and potentially more effective. Take advantage of the gift of humor with your therapist.

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