How do I find the right therapist for me?
With so much information widely available on the internet about different therapies and therapists, choosing the right therapy and therapist for you could feel like a daunting task.
You may already have a clear idea of what sort of therapy you are seeking, but it can be useful to keep an open mind about what kind of therapy is going to be most effective for you. The first telephone contact can be an opportunity to discuss the options further if necessary. For example, is CBT likely to help your symptoms, or is psychodynamic therapy more appropriate? Will open-ended work be in your best interests, to give an opportunity to explore your situation more widely and deeply, or will it be more helpful to meet for a fixed period, for example 12 weeks, for more focused work? Should you have individual sessions, or join a psychotherapy group? There may also be practical issues that determine what kind of approach is best, such as what time you have available.
In the end, you need to feel confident enough in your therapist to decide to commit to working together. This may mean trusting your gut feeling about the therapist. However, don’t confuse a gut feeling with an assumption. You may think that you could never speak to (or only speak to) a certain type of therapist. The things we most want to avoid (or rely on) may be the very things that are most useful to confront and explore in therapy in order for lasting change to happen. It is important to feel able to discuss with your therapist any questions, concerns or reservations about therapy (and the therapist) as openly as you can in your initial sessions. How a therapist responds can be a good indicator of how helpful you feel he or she is going to be for you. If you then still feel that you cannot work with a particular therapist then it is OK to decide to leave and look for another therapist.
Remember that therapy, like life, is not always easy, and patterns that have been difficult in your past are likely to recur in therapy too. An indicator of whether this is the right therapist for you is whether, at heart, you can trust that they are on your side when therapy feels like a struggle, in order to be able to stick with this sometimes difficult process of change.