a patient talking to her therapist

A Simple Guide to Choosing a Therapist

How to Choose a Therapist: What You Need to Know

The concept "how to choose a therapist" can be difficult to process. Not only do you have to understand the benefits of different types of therapy, but you also have to choose between lots of other options.

When to Consider Therapy

Therapy can be useful for a wide variety of people. It’s not only for people who may be experiencing acute symptoms from a diagnosed mental illness. Therapy can also be useful for people trying to deal with past or everyday struggles.

The Importance of Finding the Right Therapist

Not all therapists are the same, and not all types of therapy are the same. Just as there are different types of therapists, there are many different types of therapy to choose from; each type of therapy has different benefits and they tend to treat different things.

Some of the types of therapy include behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, etc. Each of these types of therapy can be used to treat different symptoms and conditions, and they often have different overall treatment goals as well.

Behavioral therapy is a therapy type that focuses on improving behavioral reactions that are negatively impacting your life. This type of therapy is useful for those experiencing problems with anger and rage, defiance disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and other ailments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term type of treatment, focused on addressing both negative behaviors and the thought patterns that influence them. The goal of CBT is to replace these negative behaviors or thought patterns with better ones. This can be useful for treating bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and other issues.

Another type of therapy is psychodynamic therapy. This is more of a long-term form of therapy. This is used for uncovering the connections between your unconscious mind and your actions. It uses the more traditional form of psychotherapy, which also examines how your past may play a role in this dynamic. This can be useful for treating eating disorders, anxiety, depression and other types of issues.

How to Choose a Therapist: What to Look For

When looking for a therapist, you need to look for certain things. First, to narrow your search, you’ll want to make a list of what you’d like to address in the therapy sessions. This will help you choose what type of therapy is best for you.

Whether it be a previously diagnosed mental illness, unhealthy thought patterns or unhealthy behaviors, these are all relevant when choosing the type of therapy you’d like to receive. Once you have realistic expectations of what you want from your treatment, you can start to research which type of therapy works best for you.

Once you choose what type of therapy works best for you, you can start your search for therapists that are licensed and experienced in that form of treatment. You should ensure that any therapists you consider are licensed to practice, and you should always look for ones that your insurance will accept.

Try to search for therapists and/or psychologists that have previous experience treating a patient with the same symptoms as you. This can help ensure that you’re receiving treatment from someone will relevant expertise.

Try to also look for someone that isn’t too out of the way if you can. Sometimes these added obstacles can discourage you from going to therapy on a bad day, so making it easier for yourself can also be helpful. Even online therapy is now an option (which you can learn more about here), though this is not the best avenue for everyone.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

When looking how to choose a therapist, there are certain questions that you can ask to help ensure that they’re the best fit for you. As we discussed earlier, it’s important to ensure that the therapists accept your insurance and are licensed to practice.

There are also some other questions you may want to ask a potential therapist. While we already discussed the importance of searching for therapists who have experience treating your symptoms, contacting the therapist and asking them about their experience treating your symptoms is equally important; this can help provide a clearer picture of whether they’d be a good fit for you.

You can also ask them how their form of therapy could benefit you and the symptoms you’re experiencing, or the issues you may be facing. This will give you a more detailed picture of what to expect, based on what you’re looking for.

Choosing the Best Therapist for You

Choosing a therapist can seem like a daunting task. However, when broken down into steps, it can be very feasible. Researching the different types of therapy and their benefits can help determine which type of therapy is right for you, and it can help narrow your overall search.

You can narrow it further by searching for therapists that take your insurance as well. After finding a potential therapist, asking them questions directly could help you get a better feel as to whether or not they’re the best fit for you and your needs. Remember, the best type of therapy is the type that works best for YOU.

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