CHOOSING A PSYCHOTHERAPIST – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FINDING THE RIGHT THERAPIST

A girl named Lily had her own first-ever therapy. During her first therapy session, she happened to notice her therapist constantly glancing at her hands. This worried her. Was I trembling or feeling terribly nervous? What did she think about that? Should I have kept my hands still? Was that strange enough? – All these intrusive thoughts came across her mind after having her first-ever mental health consultation with a therapist she booked via online.

To kick start with the above topic, the feeling of awkwardness to be opened and vulnerable with a complete stranger at initial stage can be totally understood. However, such nervousness will wear off as time goes on and therapy can gradually help you to cope with your most pressing emotional issues. In order to get the full benefits of therapy, you have to put your mental health in the right person’s hands. Even the professionals we talked to agreed that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and the professional that works well for someone else might not work as well for you. After all, there are important considerations to keep in mind through every step of the therapy process.

#1 THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD COMPATIBILITY

If you’re new to the world of psychotherapy, you’ll probably start by asking friends for referrals or searching online. You may even have received a suggestion to work with a particular therapist, maybe a friend of yours said, “This therapist helped me so much. You should call them and make an appointment, too.” – However, will that particular therapist be able to help you as well? The answer is it depends.

When researching possible candidates, you want to make sure they have the tools to solve your issues. At the very minimum, a therapist’s website should include information about their education, certifications, and specializations. There are different kinds of mental health accreditations, and a counselor’s certifications will be different than, say, a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. That doesn’t make them any less skilled at what they do. While these therapists may have great skills or outstanding credentials, their work with you will only be effective if you feel connected to them. Therefore, the same therapist that made a great impact on your friend may not work out well for you if you don’t feel that personal touch. If you don’t like your therapist, or you are too way concerned that they may judge you, you aren’t likely to share your innermost thoughts and feelings or acknowledge unflattering behaviors. As a result, if you are not opened enough to talk about those things that bother you significantly, you might not get to the heart of your issues and you might not gain the information you need to create positive changes at the end.

#2 THE THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE

Once you have narrowed it down to a few therapists who look promising, the next step is to make a quick consultation call. Before committing to an actual appointment, reach out and ask to chat on the phone or send some questions via email. And during your preliminary inquiry, you have the opportunity to ask the therapist questions that are important for you to know about the therapist you are reaching out better so that you will have some sort of personal bond developed, or simply known as having a therapeutic alliance.

When it comes to addressing why it is imperative to have a therapeutic alliance, Edward Bordin (one of the first researchers to examine the effect of therapeutic alliance), found that the alliance isn’t just made up of a bond between the therapist and the patient. It has also something to do with agreement on the goals of therapy and the methods used to reach those goals. The therapist and the patient need to like one another. They also need to feel there are good communication and a mutual willingness to work together. And the idea is that the therapy relationship makes substantial and consistent contributions to psychotherapy outcome independent of the specific type of treatment, which is accountable for why clients improve (or fail to improve) at least as much as the particular treatment method.

#3 START YOUR SEARCH AND LOOK FOR CREDENTIALS

Often, therapists possess a lot of initials after their names, and it can be confusing to figure out what all those letters stand for. While you certainly don’t need to become an expert on mental health accreditations, it can be helpful to understand a bit about what the letters mean. Here are some of the more common ones.

a. LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

b. LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

c. LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor.

d. LMHC: Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

e. PsyD: Doctor of Psychology.

f. CCC: Canadian Certified Counselor.

In addition, there are a number of different places where you can begin looking for a therapist. Some options include:

i. Insurance directory: Check with your health insurance provider to see if they have a directory of therapists who accept your insurance.

ii. Recommendations from friends: Friends who have had great experiences with a particular therapist can be a great resource when you are looking for a treatment provider.

iii. Mental health organizations: Many mental health organizations maintain therapist directories listing professionals who are qualified to treat different conditions.

iv. Online therapist directories: You can also do an online search to find therapist directories where you can search based on education, treatment specialty, experience, and geographic location.

v. Social media (e.g. Instagram, Facebook): If you are a social media addict and regularly spend most of your time browsing on social media, you can easily find several renowned therapists who own their Instagram or Facebook account. Perhaps, one of the notable figures who specializes in the field of mental health issues (identity, relationships, moral trauma) that I would personally recommend is the Serbian-Canadian Psychologist named Sara Kuburic aka Millennial Therapist.


Above all, you may see some other variations as each state has its own licensing board and credentialing system. While it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, their exact license might not matter very much to you in the end. What is really important is to make sure that the therapist you choose is a licensed mental health professional as they follow guidelines and a code of ethics. This is significant if you are looking for therapy as opposed to life coaching since life coaches by far are not required to have a specific degree, and they don’t have oversight by a governing board.

NoteFor booking a free online consultation or if you would like to have a collaborative therapy session, kindly visit this website by clicking the link provided ---> www.sara-kuburic.com/contact-us

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