Finding the perfect therapist is like finding a good pair of jeans or a delicious sushi place. It can be a daunting task and is certainly not "one-size-fits-all." You may have had a poor experience in the past that has made it hard to trust someone new or maybe your child only "clicks" with certain adults. As you embark on your search for a therapist, here are a few tips to help guide you in the right direction.
Tip 1: Really think about why you're going
Before you find the therapist who is going to work best for you, it's important to reflect on why you're going to therapy. On the surface, it may look like we are going for one reason, but deep down it could be something else. For example, you may be taking your child in because their grades are dropping and you want them to work on some better time management skills. But the real reason for those grades could be other issues, such as a recent loss, bullying, or identity issues. It can help to think about the bigger concern and find someone who works well with that presenting problem.
Tip 2: Browse
Psychology Today is a totally free resource available to consumers. All you need to do is type in the zip code of where you'd like to go and boom! Tons of therapists pop up. The best part is that you can narrow down your search by their gender and their specialties. Once you have a smaller pool of candidates, you can read their profiles. When reading their profiles, look for what stands out to you. Is it how they emphasize strengths? Are you looking for some parenting skills? Is it that they teach at a local college? Each person will find different things important.
Tip 3: Take advantage of the free phone consultation
Most therapists will offer a brief, free phone consultation. This is an extremely useful opportunity to get to know the therapist and not just what you see online. They will ask you some questions to get to know you and your family, but be prepared with questions as well!
Finding a therapist can be a difficult task, but by utilizing the resources available on the computer and the phone, you can probably have a pretty good idea what your therapist is like before you even step through the door.