Updated: Oct 19, 2021
The best predictor of therapy having a good outcome, is the quality of “relationship” between the therapist and client. Healing happens when “trust” is established within the therapeutic alliance. So it is wise to consider implementing the following steps to finding a therapist that is best for you.
1. First, ask for a referral from a friend, your general doctor or someone you respect who has been to therapy. Refrain from asking a family member, asking a friend relieves the burden of judgment.
2. Go to an online therapist directory, where therapists have professional profiles. I recommend the well-respected platform psychologytoday.com There are thousands of therapists listed across the country. You can explore by issues a therapist works with, or treatment modalities, you can find out what therapist takes your insurance, as well as the “age group” a therapist works with, as well as the preferred gender, ethnicity, sexuality, language or faith you would like to work with. Some profiles even have video, which allows you to see them explain more about who they are.
3. If you have insurance, look on your insurance providers website and search for Behavioral Health. In this section there will be a list of therapists you can choose from based on their specialties. Also, look on the back of your insurance card which may have a number to call for behavioral health information.
4. Allow yourself to choose up to 3 possibilities that you are willing to interview. This next step involves requesting a consultation with each therapist via email or call. Some therapists may do this over the phone while others may ask for you to come in for a session or two. This is the best way to feel out the client-therapist relationship.
In broad terms, in a Consultation, the therapist may ask:
*Ask a few questions to learn a little more about your situation and make sure you are a good fit for each other.
*Ask why you decided to reach out for therapy at this time, what support are you seeking, and what issues are you dealing this. You will want to ask the therapist:
*What is your experience?
*How long have you been in practice, and what degrees, licenses, or certifications do you have?
* What approach to therapy do you use? i.e. Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused or Behavioral Modification
* Can you estimate a time frame for the course of therapy? *Then if you would like to proceed, an appointment is made to do a further intake, gather your history, and create a treatment plan with goals to begin the therapy process.
Meeting new people is always a little scary, and people often feel especially vulnerable in the first few sessions. The therapist knows it’s scary and- trust me- knows you are a strong and brave person just for reaching out and showing up.
If it helps, it is okay to come in with a list of questions or concerns. Your list can be a really good place to start. It’s also okay to show up without anything to talk about! Therapists often have a structure they follow for the first session or two- so know that you are NOT responsible for filling the space.
After you have a consultation, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Did you feel a connection?
2. Did they listen well to you?
3. Did you feel cared for?
4. Were they curious?
5. Did you feel challenged?
6. Did they feel authentic?
7. Did they provide you feedback?
8. Did you feel a sense of relief?
You will want to ask yourself all these questions to make an informed decision. I wish you well in your journey of healing, self-understanding and self-discovery. Your greatest currency is your mental health. So invest in your self wisely and patiently. Jeanette is the director of Yoffe Therapy, a mental health practice in Los Angeles serving clients in California. If you would like to request a consultation Learn more here: https://yoffetherapy.com If you would like to join a mental health class with Jeanette, please join her on November 10th at the Journey to the Primal Wound event HERE.