How To Find & Choose A Psychotherapist

Everyone goes through periods in their life that can make them feel overwhelmed and weary. Oftentimes these emotions come to pass and we handle them on our own. Other times, these feelings persist and require the attention of a mental health professional. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health states that more than 30 million Americans will need help managing problems they can’t handle on their own – you are not alone.

When this time does come, it’s the job of a psychotherapist to help you work through these persisting problems. A licensed professional can give you insight into your situation and help you work through the issues you previously couldn’t on your own.

The tricky part is choosing a therapist that’s right for you. Not every therapist is a good match for every patient. This begs the question – how do you find and choose the right psychotherapist for you?

When to Consider Therapy

Consider these four factors:

  1. You often find yourself feeling overwhelmed and helpless in life. You are sad, ashamed and can’t figure out how to fix the problems causing all of these emotions. Neither can your family or friends offer you support or advice.
  2. Everyday activities are a chore. You wish you could complete your to-do list, but even checking off one list item seems impossible. You can’t concentrate, you feel sluggish and you procrastinate more and more every day.
  3. Every day you sit or lie down and think nervous, anxious thoughts. These feelings persist to the point where it’s hard to eat, sleep or even function normally.
  4. You’re coping with all of the above in unhealthy ways, like drinking or risky behavior. These actions are jeopardizing your relationships because you become aggressive, violent or withdrawn.

If one or more of the above could be applied to you, seeking out a licensed mental health professional should be in your future.

A psychotherapist is there to help you work through your problems together via a supportive environment of discussions, conversations and observations. These confidential interactions are meant to help you see the problems in your life more clearly, manage them and perhaps eventually solve them.

All of a psychiatrist’s methods are scientifically sound and tested – a psychiatrist or psychotherapist using unfounded methods should not be considered.

How to Find a Therapist

You can’t just select any random therapist and get a perfect match – it’s possible, but it’s very rare. This is a personal process involving your mental health. There may be no set list of criteria that fits every person, but there are specific areas of preference that you need to take into consideration.

The following four areas should be considered when finding and acquisitioning a therapist:

  • The therapist’s location. How convenient is their location? If it isn’t convenient, are they worth the drive or trip? Can you regularly make a commitment to visit them?
  • Your own personal preference. Would you rather have a male or female therapist? Young or old? What degrees should they have?
  • Professional focus. The more specialized your condition, the more education and specialty is required from your therapist.
  • Setting up a trial period. Visit a therapist for one to three sessions. From there, see how comfortable you are with them. If you aren’t, why? If you are, do they meet your other criteria?

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