Choosing a therapist who is right for you is important. There are many psychotherapists out there who are wonderful at what they do, but there are also some terrible ones who have no business being in the field. An advanced degree and a license to practice is no guarantee of a therapist’s competence. So, the question becomes, how do I pick the therapist who is right for me and my situation? Here are some tips to follow when choosing a therapist:
- Remember that you are a consumer and that the basic rules that apply to selecting any type of service apply to therapy. I’m always amazed by strong, confident people who act weak and deferential when choosing a therapist. Trust your gut when it tells you that a therapist is solid, and trust your gut when it tells you that a therapist is shaky.
- Choose a therapist, not a type of therapy. Year in and year out studies show that what makes the real difference in whether psychotherapy is successful are the personal characteristics of the therapist, not the school of thought that they represent.
- Choose a therapist who can understand you. This person will not necessarily be someone like you. Men can understand women, women can understand men, whites can understand blacks, blacks can understand whites, etc.. Once again, find someone who is strong regardless of their background.
- Choose a therapist whose goals and approach make sense to you. Regardless of whether the goal is to gain insight or change behavior, the approach should make sense and resonate with you.
- Choose a therapist who places the well-being of the client above making money and business concerns. Therapists need to make money like everyone else, but the priority of a good therapist is the welfare of the of the people who are coming to them for help.
- Choose a therapist who has their act together. You may not be able to find out if a therapist has good relationships and is free of psychological problems, but, once again, trust what your gut tells you about a therapist’s own emotional health.