Mental Health Counseling: How to Pick a Therapist

November 19, 2021

Successful therapy requires that people being matched well on many levels

Finding the mental health help you need can sometimes be overwhelming. With so many subspecialties and different types of therapists, how do you know which one is right for you? If you have been diagnosed with a specific condition or disorder, then finding someone who specializes in helping you is critical.

But if you are just experiencing a difficult time, feeling a little anxious, or not sure if you are just down or depressed, there are literally endless therapists to choose from. For mental health therapy to be effective, communication and trust are essential.

But there are also some underlying personality and character traits that can lead to a good experience or a bad one. So if you are looking for mental health therapy near me, these are some of the best ways to find the right therapist to help.

Things to Consider to Find the Right Mental Health Professional

Before you choose a therapist, it is critical to ask yourself what exactly you want from the professional you hire. Narrow down your search by considering the following issues:

Know Your Issues so you can Find the Right Therapist to Devise a Solution

Most people receive a diagnosis during their initial counseling session. But it is possible to narrow down the feelings you are having. Try researching the symptoms you are experiencing or the issues you are struggling with. If you are wondering if you are just feeling down or if it is depression, find a therapist who specializes in depression.

Or maybe you are dealing with a major life event such as the loss of a loved one. A grief counselor can help you process your feelings and aid in your grief recovery. Since therapists typically have subspecialties, finding one that has experience with things you are going through is an excellent way to narrow your choice.

Frequency and Length of Sessions

Although most therapists operate on an hourly schedule, you might be looking for more time, or maybe less. Some clients might need more intensive therapy, requiring two to three times a week, while others might need a refresher or pick me up just once a month.

Online counseling is ideal for people who aren’t looking for the traditional course of treatment; instead, they only want to get the help they need when they need it.

Text-chatting is a much less expensive way to engage in therapy versus traditional face-to-face talk sessions. And online chat text therapy also offers after office hour times, so they might work better around your hectic schedule.

Do you Have Mental Health Coverage – And is Online Therapy Covered?

stethoscope on calculator with medical billing.

If you don’t have coverage for mental health services, which many people don’t, online counseling might be an excellent option. Many therapists will not take insurance reimbursement because the insurance will not cover the cost of a therapist’s hourly rate.

So instead of racking your brain trying to find an in-network provider or fighting to get your mental health treatment covered, consider the inexpensive nature of text-chatting and how it can transform your life.

Does Gender of Your Therapist Matter?

If you would feel more comfortable confiding in a therapist of a particular gender, then most search engines will sort by male versus female therapists.

But try not to hang too much weight on the gender of the therapist. If you assume that someone of a particular sex will be a better match for your situation, you might limit your search, and end up not finding the best fit.

Common Forms of Psychotherapy

Another way to find the right therapist is to know what treatment practices are out there and which ones you feel comfortable with. The most common types of psychotherapy are:

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is an excellent treatment course for someone who is experiencing depression. It seeks to focus on interpersonal relations and patterns of communication.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is an excellent treatment tool for anxiety and negative thinking patterns, which can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and anxiety. CBT seeks to challenge your internal thoughts and beliefs against the reality of a situation to help the patient react more appropriately to their emotional triggers.

Psychodynamic Therapy

PT is a practice that allows the patient to explore their feelings unconsciously with the therapist, merely guiding them to find a resolution to their struggles.

Are you More Comfortable With Video Chatting or Text Chatting?

Hand of woman typing text on mobile smartphone. Online live chat therapist

Although most people think that online counseling is always about using forums like Skype for face-to-face sessions, there are many other ways that you can engage in therapy. One of the most popular ways is through text chat therapy. Studies have proven that text chatting is not only highly accessible but that it is just as effective as more traditional forms.

With text chat therapy, there is no such thing as bias – the counselor never sees who is on the other end. And there is a high degree of anonymity, which might lead you to open up more freely. If you don’t fear judgment in therapy, you are more apt to say precisely what you want without feeling the need to hold back.

Finding a Therapist

One of the best ways to find a therapist is through word of mouth. Not only can you ask pertinent and specific questions about a therapist’s style and personality, you know that the person you are talking to is real.

Online reviews are an excellent tool, as well. Just make sure that you have verified that the person who is rating a therapist is really who they say they are. Online reviews can sometimes be nothing short of paid advertising.

Do an Internet Search

Search the internet using available databases like Psych Central, Good Therapy, or Psychology Today. These online networks are highly credible, and they have a vast number of therapists to sift through. Their sorting options will quickly narrow your search to those therapists who are probably the best “fit” for your particular situation.

You can also search your insurance company website to see what therapists are in-network. Or, if you are a student, check with the school’s mental health resources to see what types of assistance they might provide.

Read the Reviews and the Therapists “About me”

When you use online resources that seek to match therapists with patients, they often have a list of reviews. Those reviews can be quite useful to figure out the experience that other patients have had. Read them thoroughly instead of looking at just the stars. Sifting through the entire passage will help you to really understand why someone rated the counselor as they did.

Also, make sure to read the “About me” section of the profile. A therapist will not only state their educational accomplishments, but they will also usually give a little information about their goals, values, and how they conduct their treatment. There is no better way to get to know what someone is like than to read their own words.

Beware of Someone who is Trying to “Sell” Their Services

In general, the best therapists don’t need to sell their services to anyone. So if you feel a massive ad push, then it might be better to continue to look. And finally, make sure that the therapist you consider can prove their credentials upon request.

Make the First Session the Time to Interview and get a Feel for Their Personality Style

The first session with a therapist doesn’t have to delve right into your problems and issues. Initially, you should ask questions about their therapy style, what they hope to do for their clients, and their previous experience. It doesn’t have to be a full session, request that you meet before either through texting or chatting to make sure that you are a good fit before you commit.

The Goal is to Find Someone to Build a Relationship

Successful therapy relies heavily on the ability to effectively communicate, trust, and respect between two people. And just like a good life partner, it might take several tries to find the right one. Don’t just jump into it blindly, test the waters first.

Find someone you can relate to, someone you trust has your best interests at heart, and also ensure that they have the right credentials to provide you with the help you need to find a healthier and happier new you. 

Share This