When looking for a therapist, you want to find someone you will feel comfortable opening up to. This will look a bit different for everyone. Sure, training is important, but there are several other factors to consider when searching for a therapist in your area.
So, how do you ensure you end up with the right therapist?
First, it’s important to have the right mindset going into your sessions. Recognize that it might take a few tries before you find one that you really click with. It’s okay to shop around a bit before finding the right one. But if you hit it off immediately with someone and know right away that they are a good fit, then dive in and stay put. The best results in therapy come from someone highly trained walking someone totally comfortable through their current experience, in a judgment free way.
Second, it’s important to remember that one bad experience is NOT a reflection of therapy as a whole. Therapy is life-changing in so many ways. So if you’ve had a therapy session that didn’t go well, then you probably haven’t found the right therapist. Keep looking, taking what you’ve learned from your experience with you in your search.
As you begin your search for a therapist you feel comfortable with, here are a few things to consider.
This probably seems like a no-brainer, but in today’s online world, there are plenty of people offering services without any real training or license. Someone who is licensed has oversight, boundaries, and clear guidelines for practice. Additionally, in order to maintain their certification, they keep up with their continuing education, which means you get the best of what research and best practices have to offer.
If you are on the hunt for a therapist, make sure you check out the education and licensure to ensure you are getting the best possible support you can. While most websites will list this information, you can always ask over the phone when inquiring about services.
Training and licensure is a baseline. It’s the minimum you want someone to have. However, when you are looking for a therapist to really change the game for you, then you want to know that they have experience working with clients like you.
Every person is different, but there are common themes that an experienced therapist will be well-versed in. If your loved one is struggling through an eating disorder, you are going to want to make sure their therapist is well versed in eating disorders – as they present specific challenges. If you are seeing a therapist to process through your divorce, you don’t want to go to someone who’s only experience is with children or adolescents. Although their training and license may allow for that, you want to make sure they have worked with other people walking through a divorce.
Diving into someone’s experience may require a few questions to be asked, but it should be pretty easy to determine experience based on website bios or a quick phone call.
There are various types of therapy that practitioners can choose to utilize in their sessions. Make sure you are comfortable with their approach to therapy before diving in deep. While there are various approaches that can be beneficial, you want to make sure that their style of therapy is one you feel good about.
The best way to know if someone is a good fit outside of actually working with them is to get referrals from friends and family. Sure, online reviews can be helpful – but not nearly as beneficial as having an actual conversation with someone you already know and trust.
A few things to consider when getting recommendations from friends and family:
Just because the therapist was a good fit for them, doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you. However, if you are struggling with a similar issue as your friend or family member, and have seen a positive change in their life as a result of therapy, then their recommendation could be a great starting point for you.
Take your recommendation, then do some research. Make sure your friend or family member’s recommendation is someone who is licensed and experienced in what you are looking for. Again – a good fit for them might not be best for you, but it’s certainly worth looking into!
Use referrals as your baseline. There is nothing like getting real time feedback from someone going through the therapy process. However, your journey might be different than your friend or family member. So get the referrals you need, then do the homework you need to do to find what works for you.
The front office staff is a good indicator of how on top of things the therapist will be. A therapist who takes the time to make sure their front office staff is friendly, professional, and willing to go the extra mile is likely to do the same.
A good therapist knows that the voice a potential client hears on the phone could be a life-saver. Your therapy experience is not just about the time you spend with your therapist, it’s about the whole experience, so if you find the staff to be difficult or off-putting, continue with your search.
The bottom line is that great therapists have great office staff, so you can focus on your therapy sessions and not stress about appointments, billing and insurance.
At Life Insight Hinsdale, our front office hires are as crucial as our therapist hires – because we value our client’s time, and want to make the process as seamless as possible.
When you are researching a therapist, and the different types of therapy that you might be interested in trying, it’s important to remember that ratings online aren’t everything, but they can be insightful.
Make sure you are aware that trolls are trolls, and they are everywhere…unfortunately.
When considering a therapist, take your time and read all of their reviews, paying close attention to their average rating. There’s always going to be some extreme likes and dislikes, but when you can find someone that the majority of people have positive things to say about, they are usually a safe bet to set up a session.
Hopefully, you will find the perfect therapist on your first try. But we know that this isn’t likely to be the case. Therapy is such an important way to live your healthiest, happiest life, so don’t rush the process of finding the right person. Once you do find the right therapist, then stay consistent and do the work. The right therapist and someone willing to show up and do the work is a recipe for healing, growth, stability, and a well-lived life.
If you are in the Hinsdale area, and you are looking for licensed, experienced therapists, give us a call. Our office is an inviting environment, our therapists are exceptional, and our office staff makes the process easy. We have specialists in almost every field of therapy, so to give us a try and book your first appointment, fill out the form below.