You’ve worn out your friends, your parents just give you unwanted advice, and you’ve decided it’s finally time to see a therapist. Good for you. Therapy will most likely help you. Significant research has been done that demonstrates that therapy helps most people.
But no one tells you how to pick a therapist.
Should they be trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Should they be a psychoanalyst? Should they be certified in EMDR? What is EMDR? Does it matter how many years they have been in practice? What about all of those different degrees that therapists have? What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychologist, a mental health counselor, a life coach… it is all too much!
We’ll get into the alphabet soup of what all those letters mean after their names, but for now, let’s look at the most important factor in finding a therapist.
It makes sense that so many people don’t know how to begin this intimidating process of opening up to a total stranger and so they don’t bother.
Another year goes by and they sink deeper into their patterns and nothing changes. Couples typically wait out 6 long years of distress before seeking help.
Don’t let this be you – therapy can help you, just read on to learn a little more about this seemingly mysterious field and how to choose someone right for you.
For starters, before taking any therapist seriously, make sure they are legit. That means they have a graduate degree (Master’s level or higher) and hold a license to practice mental health in the state in which you live. I would be wary of anyone who claims to be a shrink of any kind without these qualifications.
That being said, the single most important factor in determining the right therapist for you has nothing to do with years of training or modality of treatment.
It is something more difficult to measure and no one can really know what it is but you.
Once you’ve determined you’re working with a professional, what is this secret single most important factor in determining the right therapist for you?
The most important factor in finding a therapist is the quality of the relationship that you feel you have with them.
So really, it’s about your comfort level with the person.
That’s right. I don’t care if you are working with Sigmund Freud himself – if you feel creeped out or uncomfortable with your therapist, regardless of their expertise or training, I say ditch them.