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A Complete Guide To Finding a Therapist That's Right For You

The decision to begin therapy can be exciting and liberating. However, for many people, you might feel overwhelmed or confused by all the information out there.

Your mental health is sacred and should be treated as such. However, therapy itself can only go so far. What’s more important to your growth and healing is the relationship you have between yourself and your therapist.

Whether you’re seeking therapy to heal your inner wounds, find support after a divorce, or simply better your mental health, it’s vital to know how to find a therapist - the right therapist.

Stick around, we’re going to talk about what you should know when searching for a therapist, as well as the different types so you can gain a better understanding of just what you need.

When Should I See a Therapist?

There’s no one magic event that signifies a person should seek therapy. People enter into therapy for many different reasons. However, many people turn to therapy after experiencing a major life event or in the middle of a drastic life change.

It’s important to note a few signs it may be time to seek therapy:

  • You spend more than an hour thinking about or coping with an issue at hand

  • The issue makes you want to isolate yourself from others

  • The issue is causing your quality of life to decrease

  • The issue has negatively affected your school, work, or relationships

  • You’ve developed unhealthy habits to cope with this issue

An “issue” can be anything such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, trauma, burnout, family problems, or any other circumstance you feel is taking over your life.

Are There Different Kinds Of Therapists?

Since many people who enter into therapy as a career find helping others incredibly rewarding, they’ll often spend years refining their craft into one dedicated area of interest. This way, there are various subtypes of therapists out there to tailor to your individual needs.

Here are a few of the most common types of therapists:

  • Marriage and Family Therapist: If you’re experiencing issues in your household, a marriage and family counselor may be the key. These kinds of therapists are trained to identify and address any problem areas in the home and work to create a stronger, healthier family unit.

  • Addiction Therapist: If you struggle with a substance abuse problem, you know firsthand how judgmental and critical others can be. An addiction therapist is quite the opposite - they’re professionally trained to empathize with your situation and guide you into freedom. They’ll often work with you to uncover the root cause of your addiction, as well as assist you in finding support groups with others in recovery.

  • Behavioral Therapist: This kind of counselor works with clients to assess behavioral problems caused by mental illness. Unhealthy or harmful behaviors can greatly impact an individual's quality of life. They’ll work together with you to identify self-destructive habits and create goals directed toward positive change.

  • Divorce Therapist: Divorce can be heartbreaking, devastating, and messy. A divorce therapist can either help you in the aftermath or work with you and your spouse if you feel as though divorce is on the horizon. You’ll likely discuss topics such as abuse, infidelity, finances, and communication.

  • Child Therapist: If your child seems to be struggling with their mental health, or has recently gone through a stressful or traumatic life event they may need to see a child therapist. These kinds of therapists are trained to tailor their approach to anyone 17 years of age or younger.

  • Clinical Therapist: Similar to a behavioral therapist, a clinical therapist works with clients to address problematic areas of their life. However, unlike a behavioral therapist, a clinical therapist focuses on the root causes of many behaviors rather than just coping skills.

  • Cognitive Therapist: This type of therapist works with clients to address their negative thought processes and unhelpful thinking patterns. Oftentimes, problems in life are caused by the way we perceive them - rather than the way they truly are. A cognitive therapist is trained to identify these thoughts and train clients on how to redirect them.

  • Trauma Therapist: If left unresolved, trauma can hold extreme power over an individual's life, happiness, and mental health. Trauma therapists work to help clients process the event, and develop healthier coping methods for their painful emotions.

As you can see, there are quite a few different therapists out there - in fact, this list was brief! There are still more variations of therapy such as: dialectical behavior therapy, sex therapy, social therapy, exercise therapy, and nutritional therapy.

No matter what problems you might be facing, there’s a therapist out there for you.

What Should I Look For When Finding a Therapist?

It’s important to take the time in doing your research, educating yourself, asking questions, and searching around before you land on a therapist. The bond you’ll create with your therapist can either greatly enhance or hinder your personal growth and development.

A good therapist isn’t just there as a glorified friend. Instead of merely listening to you vent while giving impartial advice, a good therapist will guide you into self-reflection as you learn to identify problematic thinking patterns, unhealthy behaviors, and toxic relationships.

A good therapist is there to help you improve and succeed, without judgment or criticism.

Consider these factors when looking for a therapist:

  • Personality: Otherwise known as “rapport”, a healthy, positive relationship with your therapist is key. If your personalities clash you may have a hard time opening up about your problems.

  • Positive Communication: It’s important that your therapist knows how to communicate openly and in a positive manner even when talking about your decisions. They are there to support and encourage you.

  • Licensing: There are many different levels of education a therapist can obtain. Having these professional credentials ensures your therapist has gone through years of training to help others in situations just like yours.

How Do I Find a Therapist?

There are many different ways you can utilize to find a therapist. While finding a therapist may not be as easy as finding a new bottle of shampoo to try, it’s quite doable with the various outlets available.

  • Check With Your Insurance: If your insurance covers mental health services take a look at their provider directory. This ensures your therapist is in-network, eliminating the possibility of a surprise bill. It also narrows down your options so you don’t feel as overwhelmed.

  • Ask Someone You Know: Asking around your inner circle is another great way to find a therapist. It’s important to note, however, just because a therapist worked well for your sister, mom, or best friend doesn’t mean it will be a perfect match for your needs, too.

  • Search Online: Google has a handy way of narrowing down your search results based on location, so searching around for therapists near you is easier than ever. However, not every therapy clinic has a website so using a reliable database such as the American Psychological Association can be helpful.

Finding a Therapist Is Easier Than You Think:

No matter what you’re facing in life, there is a therapist out there ready to help you become the best version of yourself. In order to gain the full benefits of therapy, a healthy bond between you and your therapist is essential. Therapy can not only lead to a better life overall, it can enable you to meet your goals, and empower you to gain control over your mind. Whether you search your provider's database, ask around, or look it up online, finding a therapist is often easier than you think.


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