Finding a therapist can feel as stressful as the symptoms you are seeking them out for. This Catch-22 is an annoying part of getting to the mental health support you deserve. So how do you get from scrolling on a search bar, all the way to being in front of the person who you trust with your full self? There are a lot of ways to get to a therapist you can feel works well for you and in this article I will name a few I think are essential.
Some of the main ways to get to a “good therapist” may not even be part of the list I am about to share with you. Maybe your friend recommends a group practice, or a local coffee shop has a flyer, sometimes meeting the right therapist just comes together. But what is the “good therapist” mean to you?
I’ll provide an example (as a therapist) of what I think a “good therapist” means: someone who is non-judgmental, transparent, flexible but also consistent, collaborates with clients, has the education/credentials necessary to provide the work you hire them for, and is a human being. That might sound generalized but it should, because this next part is how you fill in the gaps of what type of therapist you are looking for.
- What are important demographics that you are looking for in a therapist? It could be finding someone who is also LGTBQ+, or Black, an outspoken ally, a woman, speaks the same first language as you, or another feature of their experience that helps you feel understood.
- Is in-person therapy important to you? With the pandemic, a lot of clinicians and law-makers have been able to change access to services to tele-health & tele-therapy. Deciding if in-person or tele-therapy is right for your needs is another filter of who you may be able to see for services.
- What are your main reasons for coming to therapy? If you are looking for someone who has specialized knowledge, filter for it. Most counselors will have general knowledge of certain symptoms or diagnosis, but there are people who have gone on to get certificates or may have higher degrees in a specialty. An example of this would be an eating disorder specialist, someone who provides EMDR for trauma, or a sex therapist to name a few. If specialty is not important to you that is okay too! In my practice, I can see a wide variety of clients because I have not specialized in one area of therapy and refer people to the proper clinicians if they need support outside my area of expertise.
- What is your monthly budget? Therapy is an investment. Considering your budget before you find a therapist is another filter for how to find someone that fits your needs. If you are utilizing your insurance then use that as a filter. If you are wanting to go with private pay try to figure out what your monthly budget for therapy could be. In Pierce County the median rate for therapy is $150 per session; if you see a therapist weekly that would be $600 a month, biweekly is $300 per month.
- Check the vibe. Finally, after all your filters and searches- see if the vibe you get works with you. Request a consultation and ask questions. Look at their website and see if it feels supportive. You can always set up an intake session and if it ends up not being a good fit you can request a referral.
YOU'VE GOT THIS!
These are just a few ways to get to a therapist that you feel works well for you! Keep in mind that everyone’s experience to therapy is different and not all therapist’s will fit your needs. Just like employing a personal trainer, there may be some that you don’t vibe with and that is okay. That is why it is up to you. Be mindful and take care of yourself through this process. Finding a “good therapist” is the first step in a long journey to support your therapeutic goals.