If you decide to embark on a psychotherapy course, it’s important that you choose a therapist that is right for you. After all, throughout the entire process, it will just be the two of you, so you need to know that you’re in good company.
When you start searching for a therapist initially, it’s worth writing a list of several “candidates”. Approach the process as if you’re hiring someone for a job. You can find therapists online, using the phone book or speaking to local health authorities. Look for therapists that are fully qualified and have several years of experience.
Once you have compiled your list, start calling the numbers. It’s generally best to call rather than email, as it’s more secure and confidential. If there’s no answer, you’ll typically be able to leave a voicemail. Leave your name, number and a brief message including your contact information, and they’ll generally get back to you pretty quickly.
On the phone, go through a set of questions in order to help you filter through various therapists. Remember, you’re conducting job interviews at this point.
- What are your qualifications and how many years of experience do you have?
- Are you currently accepting new patients?
- What are your fees?
- Have you helped people in a similar situation to mine before?
- What is your approach to treating symptoms like mine?
Don’t be shy, and ask any questions that are relevant to you. Once you’ve decided on a therapist you will need to meet them to know if you’re a good fit for each other.
It’s essential that you feel comfortable and that you will be able to speak freely with your therapist. While they’re not going to be your friend, be sure that they don’t put you on edge. It can sometimes take a few sessions to really get to know if you will be able to work together. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t feel bad about looking elsewhere.