Sure, you could call up the first therapist you find listed in the phone (does anyone still use the phonebook?), make a visit to the closest office to your home or office, or book a session with the therapist your friend used to see – all quick and easy solutions. But are those really the best ways to find a therapist? Of course not.
Convenience is convenient, but you will more than likely be sacrificing quality when you take the easy route – and your mental health is too important for that. The following 4 tips for finding a therapist will help ensure you find a therapist who is suited best to you and your needs specifically – trust us, the little extra effort it takes will be more than worth it in the long run.
1. Ask Around
Just like you would ask you’re your friends, family members, or even coworkers for recommendations for hairstylists, dentists, personal trainers, or physicians, it can also be a good way to begin your search for a therapist. If the therapist your friends have recommended to you does not seem to be the appropriate therapist for you, they may be able to refer you options for professionals more matched to you and your needs.
2. Research Is Key
While recommendations are a great place to start, we don’t suggest that you choose your therapist on recommendation alone. It is always a good idea to do your own research. First, research the different types of therapy available; for example, online therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Of course, every person and every situation is unique. In Ontario, for example, a therapist may have strong ties and affiliations with a local rehabilitation & treatment center. However, just because this therapist has experience in one field does not mean they’ll be right for you.
Once you know what type of therapy you are looking for, you can narrow down your search to therapists with experience and specialization in that area. Compile a list of therapists you have been recommended as well as therapists you have found either online or through local sources – you can then compare various factors and narrow your search even further.
Take into consideration their education and qualifications, what they specialize in, how much experience they have, and the testimonies of previous or current patients.
3. Go for a Consultation
If you think you’ve found the one, or you are having trouble choosing between a few different options, try to book a consultation. Often, therapists will offer free one on one consultations to their prospective patients.
There are two reasons why a consultation is a great idea. First, a consultation allows you to ask questions. You can gather a better idea of the therapists’ style, techniques, and approach to your type of situation, and learn more about their related education and experience. Additionally, being able to meet in person affords you the opportunity to get a general feel for the therapist and the relationship you may have with them – which is not necessarily possible through e-mail or phone conversations.
4. Follow Your Instinct
It is of the utmost importance that you feel comfortable with and confident in your therapist. If you feel in any way that you are unable to trust them, that you are being judged or criticized rather than supported, or that they are not listening to you or not taking you seriously, or you just generally have a feeling of discomfort around them, they are not the right therapist for you. If you have the gut feeling that something is off, listen to it. Not only will a situation like this hinder your healing process, it may even be counter productive, causing additional problems such as stress or anxiety.
Take your mental health seriously – take the time and make the effort to find the best therapist possible for you and your needs using these tips.