6 Tips to Help You Find the Right Therapist

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With all that has occurred in the past year and a half with COVID, many people are struggling with mental health issues. And, understandably so. Life throws us so many curveballs already, that adding something like a global pandemic on top of it, would make anyone feel unstable. So, what do we do when we are struggling? 

Going to see a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist is a great way to take care of yourself. Whether you are resuming therapy after a long break, starting therapy for the first time, or searching for a new therapist, this article will provide some helpful hints in finding your best match.

1. Consider your goals

First, write your goals down. Goals condense all your thoughts into a tangible list. Instead of taking many sessions for your therapist to learn your needs, a list allows them to identify right away if they are best suited to help you; saving you time, effort, emotional labor, and money.

2. Research treatment methods

Even if a potential counselor match specializes in the area you are looking for help in, it’s important to know what therapy methods will likely work best for you. Do you need firm words or gentle guidance? Are you open to medication, or do you prefer mindfulness techniques only? Do you want to try new, trendy techniques, or do you want to stick to established methods with plentiful and long-term evidence? These are good things to know before you start meeting with your therapist.

3. Use your insurer’s provider directory

Many health insurance companies have a search feature on their website to find medical professionals that are covered under your policy. With BCBS specifically, you can search by specialty, location, average review, or by awards/credentials. Checking your health insurance’s website will help you narrow down your search as well. 

4. Shop around

Don’t be afraid to drop one therapist for a new one; within reason. It’s a great idea to give your therapist enough time to establish a connection with you. It’s common for your emotional/mental struggles to worsen slightly at the beginning of therapy before improving. After some time though, if it still doesn’t feel quite right, don’t be afraid to tell your therapist “goodbye” and attempt to move on to a better fit for you. Psychology Today has a great list of questions to ask your potential therapist in order to assess your feelings and compatibility.

5. Ask a friend you trust

Do you know anyone in a similar situation with similar therapy goals as you? Ask them what their experience is like, and if they have any recommendations. You may get a more honest and detailed review from someone you trust than anywhere else.

6. Find a therapist your trust

After a complicated childbirth, I had severe PTSD. I knew I needed a therapist who specialized in birth trauma. Luckily, I found the perfect match on my first attempt. After “graduating” trauma therapy, my anxiety reached a peak about eight months later. Though my therapist was trained in anxiety therapy, it wasn’t her specialty. However, we had built a connection together over the year of trauma therapy, and I knew trust was the single most important factor in therapy achievement for me. And research has proven the bond between you and your therapist is crucial to growth. So I enrolled back with her, and have been happy with the decision.

What tips would you add to this list?

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Hi, I’m Dani! I’m an engineer turned clinical research scientist. My husband and I met through our mutual love of all things nerdy. We married in 2017 and recently started growing our family. Our first child was born three days into the start of the new decade. Just as we were ready to start bringing her out into the world, the pandemic hit. Finding communities online has been the perfect way for me to feel less alone in new motherhood and the wonderful, emotional, exhausting, and sometimes terrifying experiences that come with it. Columbia Mom =was one of these communities. In April 2021, I joined as a contributor. I will use my background in engineering and science to provide unique activities that I hope you and your children will love. I believe in honestly sharing the “good, bad, funny, frustrating, beautiful, and messy” parts of our new parenthood journey, so in this little corner of the internet, you might relate to something and feel connected and empowered.

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