How Do I Find the Right Therapist?
It strikes me how finding the right therapist is like online dating. First, it helps to know what you are looking for in a therapist. Are you looking for someone who is a good listener and will help you reflect on what your are thinking and feeling or are you looking for someone who is a more active problem-solver and will offer advice? These are just two variables. Others include age, sex, race, religious affiliation, and the list goes on and on.
Finding a therapist may include talking to others for a referral or recommendation, but most likely includes searching online. Just as dating profiles offer some insight into the individual, the therapist’s profile in a directory or website can offer you an impression of who he or she is as a therapist. The therapist may offer some description of themselves that you like or may describe a problem he or she treats that speaks to your struggle.
Choosing to meet with a therapist is only the first step. Just as a first date is a discovery process, the first session with the therapist is a time to discover whether you feel comfortable discussing yourself and whether you leave feeling hopeful that this therapist will be helpful. Sometimes the “chemistry” is there or not, but other times you aren’t certain because the relationship with a therapist is unlike any other relationship. You may need several sessions to discover whether this therapist is right for you.
If you find that this therapist is not right for you, do not feel guilty. Remember, you are rejecting the relationship with the therapist, not the therapist. No therapist is right for everyone, just as every date cannot be expected to work out. The important thing is to take the risk of searching and exploring what therapy can do for you. It takes courage, but that discomfort can be rewarded by offering you an incredibly special relationship that can help you find a path to a brighter future.