One of the most important factors to successful therapy is the strength of the relationship between you, the client, and the therapist. The more comfortable you feel with your therapist, the more open and honest your conversations can be then the more progress you will see. That’s why it is extremely important to find a therapist who provides a nonjudgmental space and who approaches you with an open mind. You want someone who you feel is trustworthy and knowledgeable.
Here are some things to think about before you start the search:
- Ask yourself if there are particular demographics you want your therapist to have – specific gender? Age range? Religion? Race?
Do you want a therapist who will address general distress or a specific issue? Do they seem to have experience in working with clients with issues like what you are experiencing?
- What is their approach to psychotherapy?
The therapist should describe in their bios or during your first meeting, their understanding of how problems may arise and how therapy can best provide resolution to these issues. Some therapists may approach current problems by examining unresolved issues from the past (psycho-dynamic approach), whereas others approach current problems by examining the way you conceptualize the world and your thought-response (cognitive-behavior approach). How much does their approach style fit your own goals?
Some things to keep in mind when talking to the therapist for the first time:
1) It’s okay, and in fact encouraged to ask the therapist for some information about them – are they licensed? For how many years have they been practicing for? What has been their experience to date?
2) Even if this was described on their website or bio, have the therapist describe their approach to psychotherapy to you.
How do they answer this question and how do they envision helping you? When they are describing it, how does that make you feel?
3) When you talk to the therapist for the first time, did you feel like they heard you and understood what you were saying?
For any of these questions, notice the therapist’s behaviors and reactions – were they defensive or reactive? Did they answer the questions based on how you expected? Were they open and honest or did they deflect and avoid? Did they make you feel bad for asking these questions?
Most importantly, ask yourself how did you feel after they gave you answer - hopeful, happy, anxious, or nervous? Pay attention to your own reactions when you are listening to these answers– Your reactions are signals that your mind and body are giving you on how comfortable this therapist is making you feel!
Remember, it is okay to change therapists or try a few out at the same time. You want to make sure that you find someone who feels right for you. Sometimes it takes moving through a few different therapists to realize what you want and what you are looking for.
Finding a therapist feels like a daunting task – you are being asked to do a lot of work before you even get started with the therapy work. Don’t let this dishearten you - utilize the resources you can, like the Veera Concierge team as a starting place to begin to get connected to therapist in your area.
Written by Rohini Bagrodia, Ph.D Candidate, Clinical Psychology
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician or trained professional.