How to Find the Best Therapist- Expert Roundup

How to Find the Best Therapist


You’ve decided to go to a therapist.

Congratulations on the first step towards self-care.

Finding the best therapist for you is not difficult, well, not plain sailing either. You would probably be going through all the steps of finding the best therapist, like-

  • Step1- Ask your family or friend to refer someone
  • Step2- Check best therapists near you on Google or check reviews for the referred ones
  • Step 3- Select one based on license, experience, offline and online reviews, gender preference (you already know what gender to choose), theoretical orientation and beliefs.
  • Step 4- Check for their website professionalism if you are finding an online therapist.
  • Step 5- Book your appointment online or directly call.

Choosing a therapist seems easy, right? But, believe us, you gotta be careful. After all, it’s the matter of your own mental health.

Worried?

Hey, what are experts for?

Marriage.com brings about a list of tried and tested tips from amazing experts helping you with finding the best therapist.

SHERRY GABA, LCSW Psychotherapist and Life Coach

  • Ask a friend for a referral or your insurance provider.
  • Consider their gender, website professionalism, theoretical orientation, and discern what your experience is when you make your appointment.
  • Do they have experience with your particular issue?
  • Are their fees reasonable or do they take your insurance?
  • Are they licensed? And once in the therapy room with them, what are your instincts?
  • Look for something that both of you share. And if there is none, remember it is your therapy and you deserve to find the best therapist that is a fit for you.

Check your therapist’s area of practice, ensure their competencies Tweet this

DR. TREY COLE, PSYD Psychotherapist

  • The relational connection, rather than the type of approach (i.e. particular orientation, technique, etc.) the therapist uses is what matters most.
  • In order to create this context, increasing one’s vulnerability in the presence of each other is essential, so find someone with who you could see yourself doing that.

Check for that relational connection before you choose the right therapistTweet this


An Experience-
One day, I had a client enter my office, and after an hour of what I thought was a successful intake, she got up, shook my hand, and said, “You are lovely, and I feel like this was a great hour of time, but you are not a good fit for me. Thank you for your time.”
As she walked out, I thought to myself, “good for you!!”
In my early days, this would have felt like a reflection of me and my skills, however as I have become more seasoned, I take this as a form of client empowerment and self-awareness, confidence to ask for what you need when therapy and true change is a goal.
This being said, how does one search for a therapist, and one that they can feel comfortable with to not only open up but feel supported because ultimately, you have everything within you!
  • Ask yourself, what am I hoping to accomplish with seeing a therapist? What do I need from them, what goals do I want to feel supported in making and working through, and how do I want to feel when I leave the session.
  • Check in with the environment, and what you need from not only the space but the session: Is the setting one that brings about calm and connection, or stress.
  • Is the office over-stimulating, or does it allow focus? And is the therapist holding space for you to connect to your personal treatment goals, or are they taking up space with therapist goals, constant feedback, or silence?
  • Ask yourself, how do I feel when I enter and exit the office space, whether it is related to the environment, the therapist, or what you are hoping to get out of the session, ask yourself what is most important for you.

In the end, choosing a therapist is about personal fit, feeling connected to personality, style, and environment. Being aware of your personal goals, and the availability to grow.

Go for the therapist who asks, listens and supports Tweet this

MATTHEW RIPPEYOUNG, MA Psychotherapist

  • The “best” therapist is someone you feel at ease enough with to really open up. Research shows that the best outcomes in therapy are all about the interpersonal fit between you and your therapist.
  • Find someone who you would be happy to sit in a small boat in a storm with.

Find that interpersonal fit between you and your therapist Tweet this

  • Find the best therapist by finding the therapist that gets you RESULTS!
  • You can always talk to a friend about certain issues, but the best therapist will listen to you and change your life with real RESULTS.

All’s well that ends well – Find a therapist that gets you results Tweet this

MADELAINE WEISS, LICSW, MBA Psychotherapist and Life Coach

  • Recipe for Success: Find one or a number of therapists who offer a complimentary phone session, so you can ask any questions you may have about credentials, logistics, approach, fees… and assess the fit.
  • With the right therapist, you should come out feeling relieved, hopeful, and looking forward to the journey together.

Check therapist’s attaché, what’s in there for you Tweet this

Looking for a good therapist? What I tell others:

  • It rarely dawns on most people to actually interview a prospective therapist. A brief conversation/consult by phone can give you a lot of information about who will be the best fit for you. Call before making that appointment, as the questions mentioned below.
  • The key is to know that you and your therapist can bond or connect. Everything else is secondary. You’re looking for comfort, a deep rapport, a sense of humor, their ability to be emotionally available, and ease in conversation.
  • Therapy technique is not as important as the therapeutic relationship between you and the person you’re seeing.
  • Once you’ve established that a connection is there, look for competence. Do they know their material? Are they up to date on the latest research on therapies, your condition, how meds affect your thoughts, behavior, and emotions? Do they know how to manage the issue that brought you in to see them? Do they have experience with the issue that brought you in? Ask these questions up front.
  • Find a therapist who really enjoys their work. Nothing is more defeating than seeing someone who trudges along, day by day, emotionally exhausted from seeing people, or someone who is not fully engaged. You’re looking for someone who is excited about being in the same space as you and is there to add value to your life.
  • Avoid “Stepford” therapists who mostly sit there quietly, or who always agree with you, or don’t challenge you or encourage you to step out and try new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Hopefully, you’re looking for someone who is active, and directive when necessary, but also knows when to sit quietly and be a witness to your struggle and pain.
  • Once in therapy, don’t be afraid to set the tone and direction (to the extent you can). If you can’t today, work towards doing so at a later time. A good therapist, one who is genuinely looking out for what is best for you, will look to you to lead and provide direction. They will ask an excellent question that forces you to think and look at things differently and will challenge you to meet your goals. At times you will need to be challenged: other times you will need someone who knows how to be a quiet presence to your pain and thoughts.

Have a therapeutic relationship, let the therapist set a tone that soothes you Tweet this

LISA FOGEL, LCSW-R Psychotherapist

  • Ask questions and watch closely for the therapist’s response. Check online for reviews.
  • You can never know for sure how your therapist connects with you until you meet them, but never feel you have to stay once you have given them your time if you do not feel comfortable.

Trust your gut when it comes to finding the best therapist Tweet this

How to find your ideal therapist.

  • Go shopping, do your research or a list of names, from friends, the web etc.
  • Arrange a time to talk to them, either by phone or preferably in person. Most offer a free 15 or 30 minutes consultation to see if there’s a good fit.
  • Ask how their sessions are structured, how long, cost, protocols used, how many sessions etc.
  • Notice if they listen to you and ask questions, or are they too busy telling you how smart and successful they are?.
  • Finally, do you feel comfortable with them?

Can you trust them with your deepest concerns and emotions?
Do this – and you’ll have your answer!!

Have a therapeutic relationship, let the therapist set a tone that soothes you Tweet this

  • When looking for a therapist, I think it is important to keep in mind not to look for the best therapist but to put your focus on finding the best therapist for YOU.
  • Of course, it is important to make sure that they are experienced and qualified in the area you are wanting help in, but at the end of the day that does not matter at all if you have a funny or uncomfortable feeling about them.
  • I believe that if you feel a comfortable energy when you are around them, they treat you with professional respect, with no strange red flags or uncomfortable feelings about them, then you have found the best fit.

‘YOU’ should matter the most to your therapist Tweet this

JAIME SAIBIL, M.A Psychotherapist

  • Look online at profiles of therapists to see who offers what you need, eg. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR, psychotherapy, anger management, couples therapy, etc.
  • Set up a consultation over the phone to have a chat and get to know each other. Usually, 15 to 20 minutes is enough to get a sense of their personality, and whether you’d like to book an appointment.
  • After your first session, ask yourself whether you like him or her and whether you felt comfortable. If you said yes, you will probably gain some value in spending time with him or her.
  • Be mindful that someone could be the best therapist for one individual and not another. The counseling relationship is a fit between two people. Also, a therapist could be the best for you during a certain period in your life, and not at another. Once you feel that you are no longer getting any value and have taken all that you can from him or her, it’s time to move on to someone else.

Your intuition is the best search engine Tweet this

  • When looking for a therapist, it is not so much about finding the “best” therapist as it is about finding the “right” therapist.
  • Finding a therapist is about finding the right fit for both the client and therapist as this will allow for more safety, openness, exploration, and connection.
  • Many therapists offer a complimentary consultation which is always a good way to at least get an initial impression and felt a sense as to what they are like. You get a chance to feel what it is like to be in their presence or to hear their voice over the phone and then notice how you respond to them and how they respond to you.
  • Having a solid therapeutic relationship is key to building the foundation of trust and then the rest can flow from there. It is a real relationship and it is so incredibly important that the “fit” and connection is there.

Go for the complimentary consultation to check the right fit Tweet this

  • First things first, why do you want to go to therapy? What are you looking to work on or get help with? These are important questions to ask yourself in order to find a therapist that specializes in your area of need.
  • Next, what is my financial situation? Am I looking for someone in my insurance network? Can I pay out of pocket?

After addressing those two important questions, the search begins.

  • If you choose to go through your insurance network, I highly encourage you to contact the insurance company (typically this can be done via their website) to find providers in your network in your area.
  • Then, research! Take those names, put them into a search engine. Check out their website.
  • Read their blogs, statements, experience, and areas of expertise. Finally, reach out to the therapist.
  • It is important to interview that therapist of your choice before scheduling. Ask any questions you may have, verify they take your mode of payment, and if you like them, schedule away!

Analyze your needs and then work on finding the best therapist Tweet this

MARY KAY COCHARO, LMFT Couples Therapist

There are basically two ways to find a good relationship therapist.

  • The first way is to ask someone you trust for a referral. This can be your doctor, attorney, clergy or a friend who’s engaged in Relationship Therapy and had good results.
  • The second way to narrow your search is to go online. There are many directories which screen a therapist’s credentials before listing them.

What to look for?

  • I recommend that you pick a therapist who has a degree in Psychology or in Marriage and Family Therapy with the corresponding license from the state where you live. Additionally, it’s wise to look for someone who has advanced education, training, certification, and experience in working with couples.
  • Many therapists say that they see couples, but you want to be sure that Relationship Therapy makes up a large percentage of the work that they do. Seek out a therapist who’s been practicing in the field for at least a decade when possible. Research shows that the longer a therapist has been practicing usually the better client outcomes. Experience matters.

Pick a therapist with a degree, license, experience & skills Tweet this

If you are looking for the “best therapist,”

  • Do your research first
  • Read the websites of the potential therapists, their blog/articles if available,
  • Meet them either on the phone or best in person to see if you are a good match.
  • Many therapists offer a free short introductory session before starting the therapy. Take an advantage of it, and
  • Don’t feel compelled to make another appointment right away just because they offered you free time. Go home and think about it before committing to anything. It is your life, your work, and your money, after all.

Go for a watchful first introductory session with the therapist of your choice Tweet this

MYRON DUBERRY, MA, BSC Provisional registered Psychologist

  • More important than any method or approach used, is the relationship between you and your therapist.
  • Everyone is different, so the best therapist is one that you just enjoy talking to and can adjust to your needs. Shop around if you can and find one that is the best fit specifically for you.

The best therapist for you will adjust to your needs Tweet this


Trying to find the right fit with a helping professional can certainly be difficult.At the same time, having someone to help you navigate through the difficulties you might be having in your relationship can be incredibly useful.So, how do you know that a counselor is a right fit for you and your partner, or just for yourself? Start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What are the issues that I want to work on? Who are the people who are familiar with these issues?
  • Do I have special considerations?

Examples-

I am trans, and I want my counselor to be familiar with the nuances and struggles specific to the transgender population.

Or,

I am Jewish, and I want my therapist to at least know that Chanukah is one of the biggest holidays of the year for Jewish people.

Or,

I have children, and I want a therapist who knows about the struggles of having children, trying to manage a career, and relationship with my partner.

  • If you’re seeing a couples counselor/therapist, make sure that they are trained specifically in couples/marriage therapy. They should know about Emotion-Focused Therapy, which is a counseling modality used for couples.
  • I have mental health challenges; is the counselor familiar with these mental health challenges? For example, some counselors are specifically familiar with treating trauma, or grief, or working with the senior population. What specific training does my counselor have?
  • My partner and I have difficulty with staying focused when we argue, or we are in high conflict. How will the therapist deal with that in the session?
  • Most importantly, it is really about how you feel in the conversation with the helping professional. Do you feel at ease in talking to them? Keep in mind that it might take some time to feel comfortable to open up to them. If you’re struggling with this part of things, what might the therapist be able to do to support you through this process?

Go for an emotion-focused therapist who knows how to deal with issues Tweet this

  • It is very important that you and your therapist can build a bond of trust and respect. You need to have a connection.
  • Either by phone or at your first appointment, the therapist will ask you questions to get to know you and your history. Make a checklist of all the issues you have. Share with them one by one.
  • As a client, you have every right to ask the clinician pertinent questions that you want to know. Some may be, ‘what client issues do you work with’, ‘where did you go to school’ and ‘when did you graduate’, or ‘do you belong to a professional organization that gives you credibility’. You can ask any questions that you like and the therapist should respect that.
  • Be careful not to ask personal questions as therapists don’t share much personal information with clients as it is your time to be in the office to talk about you, but a question like, are you married, or do you have children is OK, if it is pertinent to your case.
  • Ask questions to help yourself feel more comfortable, don’t ask ones to invade the clinician’s privacy and don’t be offended if she prefers not to answer. You can then make the decision if this is the counselor that you want to work with on your personal issues.

Ask questions and help therapist build your trust Tweet this

LIZ VERNA ATR, LCAT Licensed Art Therapist

  • Interview several candidates to have a context for comparison.
  • A therapist works for you, size them up rigorously and pay attention to how it feels to speak with them. A good therapist wraps you in a bubble of safety, hears your every word and responds with comments that shudder in your chest like an arrow hitting a target.
  • Any question, any doubt, any less – even if you can’t articulate why – means it’s not a good match.
  • Choosing a therapist is a powerful step towards empowerment and self-care, use the opportunity to value your needs and comfort.

Interview, compare and choose the best one for you Tweet this

Try not to miss even a single tip from our panel of experts on finding a good therapist for you.

With there being so many psychotherapists to choose from, it is more important than ever to discern who is the best therapist for you.

Again, it is very difficult to measure the effectiveness of psychotherapy and what makes a “good” therapist, most of the experts analyze the subject agree on one factor: the overwhelming part of the success in therapy depends on the relationship between the therapist and the client.

Nothing else, not the educational level, nor the modalities used, nor the length of therapy have the same effect as the personality of the therapist and the connection between them and the clients.

Simply, follow the right steps. Take help from these tips and see how easy it would be finding the best therapist for you.

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