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Choosing the Right Therapist

woman with a thinking expression. arrows, question marks, and a lightbulb appear above her head

The name of this page is misleading - however, the process of finding a therapist can be confusing and misleading.

When you read an article or a page titled "Choosing the Right Therapist," it's usually a build-up to the self-serving conclusion that the author is the one you should choose.

This ain't that!

It would be presumptuous of me to tell you who the right therapist is for you. I don't know you. I don't know your reasons for going to therapy. I don't know if you have had therapy before or if you are new to therapy. I don't know the issues you have been struggling with and what you want to change in your life. Ultimately, you're the one who needs to decide who would be a good match for you. With that mind; here are some suggestions:

  • Don't look for the "best" therapist, look for the therapist who suits you best.
  • Credentials are not the whole story - they are just the starting point for your search.
  • Social workers are not better therapists than psychologists; psychologists are not better therapists than social workers (likewise for other licensed mental health professionals). Graduate school training is only one of many factors that contribute to a therapist's effectiveness.
  • Trust your instincts! If you don't feel safe or comfortable with someone, don't choose them to be your therapist (regardless of who referred him to you).
  • Have a first session with two or three therapists. If this is your first time in therapy, this gives you a chance to see the differences in how each therapist approaches your problems.
  • Avoid any therapist who claims that their method of therapy is the only or most effective one. A good therapist is skilled in at least several types of therapy and can adapt them to the needs of her clients.
  • Unless you are looking for analysis or psychodynamic therapy, the therapist should feel authentic to you.

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