Choosing a therapist

There are many factors at play in choosing the right therapist for you. The most obvious are logistical; such as location, cost, insurance coverage and appointment availability; but there are a number of other important issues that are vital to consider before making that first appointment.

Relationship

Research shows that the relationship between the client and therapist is the most crucial piece that makes therapy “work”. Ensure that you feel your therapist understands you and has patience and respect for you. If you don’t feel that in your initial phone contact, it’s unlikely you will in person, so shop around until you find someone who makes you feel that it’s okay to be you.

Area of specialty and preferred treatment approach

All therapists, regardless of their type of licensure, differ in their treatment approach and areas of specialty.

Some therapists are excellent at treating anxiety while others are better at treating depression. Some therapists are excellent with couples, while others do much better with individuals. Talk-therapy may vary from a psychodynamic approach (where your childhood experiences are considered as important in shaping who you are as an adult) while others work with a cognitive-behavioral approach (which is generally shorter and more tool-based).

Ask your potential therapists what they consider to be their areas of expertise and what issues they have most success with. If there isn’t a match, or if they give you an exhaustive laundry list, look elsewhere.

Do your homework

Good therapists rarely have time to offer “free consultations”. Do your research up-front by asking friends, colleagues or other therapists for recommendations and by talking with therapists on the phone. Pay attention to the details, such as how soon you receive a call back and whether the therapist conveys that they have time to chat with you.

While therapists can be notoriously difficult to reach, you should expect your phone messages to be returned on the same day, or at least within 24 hours. If the therapist has a website, read what they say about themselves and see how that leaves you feeling. Of course, if your first meeting with your therapist doesn’t go well you are under no obligation to return.

Starting therapy takes courage. Many clients only call a therapist when they have tried everything they know how to do. Others are tired of reaching the same crossroads again and again – be it in their relationships, their career or with an issue such as anxiety, insomnia or a past experience that keeps them from living life to the fullest. Whatever is bringing you to therapy, Vicki will be more than happy to chat with you about the options available to you, and how she can be helpful.

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