How to choose a therapist

Yes or No - choices

It may not be difficult to come across multiple listings of therapists who are local to you – but how do you go about deciding which one is right for you? You may not have a clear idea until you’ve reached the point of meeting someone but considering the below points in choosing a therapist may give you a head start.

1) Once you’ve decided that you would like to get in touch with someone to start therapy sessions, take your time and shop around. The person you end up seeing will be someone you may be sharing really important information with and they may also be the person who hears things you may not have spoken to anyone else before. Trust and feeling comfortable and safe with your therapist is crucial as the relationship you have with them is the most influential aspect of how successful your therapy may be.

2) Ask around. You may have friends and family members who are seeing therapists or who have seen someone in the past so ask them what they enjoyed most about their therapy. Also ask them what maybe did not work for them. If you haven’t had therapy yourself before, this may be a good starting point to give you ideas on what it is that is likely to also be important to you in your therapy. And if you have had therapy before, take some time to consider what did and didn’t work for you that time around.

3) Read up on therapist profiles. It may be completely different to read a profile and to meet someone in person but when you’re looking online, reading profiles may be the best starting point you have. Establish who sounds like they may be a person you would like to meet and work with. When choosing a therapist have a shortlist of people you want to get in touch with to set up initial appointments.

4) Take time to consider what may be important for you in the therapy room before you start. For instance, would you be happy if there is a waiting period before you can start? Is gender an issue and would you be comfortable with a male or female? Is sexuality important? You may for example want to work with someone who also identifies as lesbian. How much are you able to pay? Would you like to focus on a current issue and immediate problem or would you like to take time to process a historic experience?

5) Notice what’s going on for you when you first talk to or meet a potential therapist. Whether or not you can articulate what may feel right or wrong, you will probably have an insight into whether a person just feels right for you or not. Consider whether you felt heard; Can you envisage seeing this person on a regular basis? If you have any doubts you are happy to share, talk them over with the therapist, if there is someone who may be a better fit, you may also be able to get further recommendations.