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Published On: November 15, 2018|Categories: Mental Health, Treatment|

If you are suffering from mental illness, searching for a therapist is an important step towards recovery and having a better life. However, finding a therapist can be a difficult and deeply personal task.

You are trying to find a person with the right skills, training and personality to help you find mental health and wellness. This is not a process that should be rushed or done carelessly. While you might desire to see a resolve in your mental health now, it is important to remember that healing takes time, and the work you put in at the start – such as doing thorough research for a therapist – will only enhance your recovery in the long run.

How to find the right therapist

With so many options, finding the right therapist might feel like the old adage, “finding a needle in a haystack.” But truthfully, the process isn’t hard so long as you know what you want and what to look for. Entering into a therapist–client relationship can be vulnerable and must be authentic; therefore, you want to be able to meet with someone you can feel vulnerable and authentic around.

Don’t get caught up in titles

When searching for a therapist, people often spend too much time thinking about what type of license they have, whether they are master’s or doctorate level clinicians or what schools they attended. While it is important to determine that the therapist is appropriately trained and obtained the right credentials, the right therapist for you can come from a host of disciplines. This includes social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists or psychologists.

Each of these disciplines requires that the individual learn how to provide clinically sound therapy and use evidence-based practices. For this reason, you can feel more confident in selecting a therapist with specific training in the area you need help, rather than just choosing a therapist due to an impressive list of credentials.

Find the right match for your symptoms

Mental health is a broad field of medicine, and the symptoms and presenting issues can vary drastically. When seeking out help, it’s important to determine what type of therapist you need. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, you’ll need a counselor with experience in treating those symptoms and conditions. If you are suffering from a co-occurring disorder, you’ll need to find a therapist trained in treating dual diagnosis.

However, if you are searching for help with a more specific issue, such as an eating disorder, gambling problem or drug or alcohol addiction, it is critical that you seek out a more specialized therapist. Just as you would go to a cardiologist for a heart issue, you need to find the right mental health professional for the treatment of certain, potentially more severe conditions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

The most effective tool in therapy is the relationship between the client and the clinician. A key component of that relationship is open communication. Every therapist is their own unique individual, and you need to determine if they are the right fit for you.

During the initial session, consider treating it like an interview – this is not to convey a lack of trust in them but to determine whether or not their style, attitude, approach, etc. is going to make you feel comfortable and authentic in potential sessions.

Questions to consider asking your therapist to help determine this compatibility and level of comfort include:

  • What seeing them would look like for you financially – for example, do they accept insurance, how much do they cost per session and do they have a fee for canceling?
  • What treatment philosophy do they use? – Do they solely utilize Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or do they use an organic blend of different treatment philosophies based on the needs of their client?
  • Do they work in tandem with you to understand your specific needs and goals, or do they use a similar curriculum of treatment for the majority of people they see?
  • What qualifications and years of experience do they have?
  • How often do they anticipate needing to meet with you?

It’s important to remember that you are not required to stay with the first therapist you speak to or meet with. This is your mental health we’re talking about, so taking the time to research someone who will benefit you is increasingly important.

Understand your role in treatment

During this process, it is important to have the right expectations for your role in the treatment process. While the therapist will be there to guide and support you, the one doing the majority of the work is you.

Throughout therapy and treatment, the person you will need to be most honest with is yourself. Only then will you know if you are making progress and if the sessions have impacted you in a positive way? It’s important to understand the work you will have to do, and not search for a therapist expecting they will be able to treat you without your input. If you consider the therapist/client relationship as a partnership where you both are putting in work, you’ll be more prepared to do what you need to do for your mental health.

Not sure where to start?

If you or a loved one are searching for help in overcoming a mental illness, we encourage you to contact us at High Focus Centers. Our therapists understand the importance of finding a compatible match to best benefit your mental health and will ensure the counselor you end up with is right for you.

To get started, contact us by calling our offices at 800-877-3628 to get in touch with someone today.

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