Your mental health can be just as important as your physical health. In fact, the two are intertwined. If you haven’t been feeling like yourself, you aren’t alone. Many people suffer mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Luckily, about 75% who seek therapy see improvement. Learn how to find the best therapist for you to become part of that 75%.
1. Research Specialties
Before selecting a therapist, think carefully about what your concerns are. Are you depressed, lonely, having marital problems, anxious, or struggling with a child? Once you pinpoint your overarching needs, look for a therapist that specializes in that area. A therapist that is trained in a certain area may be able to give you more specific guidance.
2. Learn About Types
Therapy isn’t one size fits all. There are many types, and you can select whichever you feel is best for you. The four most common are psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive behavioral.
Psychodynamic therapy is a long-term approach. Your therapist will help you discover unconscious behavioral or thought patterns that affect your actions. Patterns are found by discussing what’s currently on your mind as well as your childhood, fantasies, and dreams.
Humanistic therapy uncovers distressing choices that come about from your worldview. Therapists will always accept you and refrain from interpreting your feelings. Instead, they guide you to grow into your true self.
Behavioral therapy uses an approach focused on actions. The theory is that learned behaviors can negatively impact your life. Your therapist will help you alter your patterns and reactions to the stimuli.
Cognitive behavioral therapy goes a step farther than behavioral therapy. It addresses negative thoughts and thought patterns that create distressing feelings about yourself. Your therapist will work with you to develop more accurate and useful beliefs to replace the negative thoughts.
3. Consider Traits
It’s crucial that you feel comfortable with your therapist. Consider what traits would make you most relaxed and open to honest conversation. Would you prefer someone with similar demographics to yourself? Don’t feel bad for being specific about age, gender, or religion.
4. Match Personalities
In addition to any demographic traits that may put you at ease, get to know your therapist’s personality. Find someone who has a personality compatible with your own. You may find you prefer someone comical, serious, blunt, or passive. If your therapist is saying all the right things but presenting it in a way that doesn’t resonate with you, there can be a problem.
5. Verify Insurance
The cost of therapy is variable. If you are on a budget, be sure to compare pricing or select a therapist that accepts your insurance. Some insurance plans will also limit how many therapy sessions they cover. Carefully research to prevent any surprise bills.
6. Read Reviews
One of the best ways to assess a service is to read reviews. Research any therapist you are considering and check what others are saying about them. You can likely find reviews on the company website, Google, or Facebook. Be wary of simply looking at a star rating. You should scan through to get the positives and negatives of therapy sessions.
7. Verify Credentials
You want to make sure you are working with someone legitimate, so it’s a good idea to verify what credentials they have. You should be able to find information about a therapist’s certifications, licensing, education, and specializations on their website. If a therapist can’t provide their background, it’s best to move on.
8. Discuss Experience
Don’t be scared to ask questions about therapists’ experiences. Instead of focusing on how many years they’ve been in the business, you can be particular. Ask if they have had cases like yours, how many clients they currently have, and what areas they excel in.
9. Switch It Up
If you start therapy and it’s not going well, don’t get discouraged. There is nothing that states that you have to keep working with the first therapist you select. You can switch it up and try a new therapist if your first isn’t a good fit.
Don’t delay caring for your mental health. You can find a great therapist and be on your way to improvement before you know it. Your body and mind will thank you.