How to Choose a Psychotherapist
There are times when we feel the need for help just getting by with life. These are probably times when only a psychotherapist will do. But how do we know we’ve found the right one?
First of all, a psychotherapist must be a person you are completely comfortable with. Therapy is hardly easy, and a psychotherapist is not there as your buddy. Still, you should look for someone who respects you for everything you are. You have to trust your psychotherapist 100%, and you should never have to consider lying to them at any stage. Otherwise, you can’t expect any real help from them.
Additionally, you have to feel that you are actually benefiting from seeing your therapist. If you don’t, then you obviously need to find a new one.
Secondly, find a psychotherapist who has been in this line of work for a long time (perhaps ten or more years). Of course, they should also be licensed in your state or territory.
For example, psychologists need a valid license before they can advertise themselves as “psychologists.” A clinical social worker will typically put an “L” prior to their degree, as in “L.C.S.W.” In some states, clinical social workers are not required to get a license, or do not have to display licensure in this format.
If you’re uncertain about this, you can always do your research so you can learn more about your prospective therapist. Professionals will not take offense when asked about their qualifications. If the psychotherapist has a degree, it will always follow their names in their ads or it may even be required by law.
In any case, pick someone who has a long history of psychotherapy training and experience, and stay away from those who don’t. In some states, for example, you may find that a high school diploma is all a person needs to become a
Certified Addictions Counselor. Although this sounds impressive, it takes so little to get this title, which isn’t very reassuring.
Therapy was never meant to be easy, so if you think it is, perhaps you need to find a new psychotherapist, or maybe you’re just not working hard enough. Be brave enough to stand up for yourself and keep searching for the right therapist to help you.
Referrals are still the best when it comes to finding a good professional. Nothing’s better than hearing it straight from those who’ve worked with the psychotherapist you’re considering. If you can’t get personal recommendations, check out online reviews but stick to popular consumer websites for more credible info (marketing websites are usually full of fake and misleading reviews).
Finally, spend time comparing different psychotherapists, instead of considering one at a time. Without comparisons, you can never tell who’s really the best for you.