How to Choose a Psychotherapist

How do I choose a therapist that is right for me?

At some time in our lives, each of us may feel overwhelmed and may need help dealing with our problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 30 million Americans need help dealing with feelings and problems that seem beyond their control -- problems with a marriage or relationship, a family situation, or dealing with losing a job, the death of a loved one, depression, stress, burnout, or substance abuse. Those losses and stresses of daily living can at times be significantly debilitating. Sometimes we need outside help from a trained, licensed professional in order to work through these problems. Through therapy, millions of Americans of all ages live healthier, more productive lives.
 

Consider Therapy If...

  • You feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness, and your problems do not seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
  • You are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities: for example, you are unable to concentrate on assignments at work, and your job performance is suffering as a result.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst, or are constantly on edge.
  • Your actions are harmful to yourself or to others: for instance, you are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs, or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive.

Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort between an individual and a psychotherapist. It provides a supportive environment to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings. Psychotherapists consider maintaining your confidentiality extremely important and will answer your questions regarding those rare circumstances when confidential information must be shared. Psychotherapists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people change their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Psychotherapy may be performed by practitioners with a number of different qualifications, including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists.

How do I find a qualified therapist?

Selecting a therapist is a highly personal matter. A professional who works very well with one individual may not be a good choice for another person. It is important to find a good fit between you and your therapist. There is no set list of criteria when selecting a therapist, the best choice will depend on your specific needs, personality and personal preferences. As you search the TherapyTribe directory, keep the following elements in mind:

  • Therapist Location: Are they conveniently located? Will you be able to commit to regular sessions based on their location?
  • Personal Preference: Are you comfortable with a male or female? Do you prefer someone with a specific cultural focus?
  • Professional Focus: Be sure that the therapist you select has specific expertise in the areas you need help.
  • Therapy Approach: Make sure you read about the therapists approach. Select a methodology that you are comfortable with.
  • Trial Period: Contact more than one therapist, and view your first appoint as an evaluation period.

Read Tips from Professional on "Getting the Most out of Therapy."

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