Guidelines to ensure you get the help you need.
Qualified therapists may have many different kinds of training. Aside from looking at the initials after their names, how can you choose one who will be helpful to you?
Selecting a therapist who is a good match is important, because the research demonstrates that the quality of your relationship is crucial to the success of the work. Here are some guidelines to consider before your first visit:
- The therapist should be willing to answer questions about her training and experience with your particular problem or goal.
- It’s natural to feel anxious when meeting a therapist, but she or he should have the ability to put you at ease and to feel understood.
- Look for a therapist who is willing to listen carefully and explore issues with you, rather than one who offers a quick solution.
- Know that the ethical guidelines of most professional mental health organizations state that psychotherapists should not treat clients with whom they have a personal or social relationship.
- Don’t limit your search to therapists your insurance company will reimburse. Many therapists work on a sliding fee scale and prefer to avoid third-party reimbursement in order to preserve client confidentiality and ensure the continuity of the therapeutic work.
- If you are in a managed-care plan that requires access to your diagnosis or limits the number of sessions, you and your therapist should decide from the start how to handle issues of confidentiality and continuity.
Keep in mind that there is no “world’s greatest therapist” or “best marriage counselor in NYC.” Therapists are human beings with individual personalities, training, and experience. Look for a good match, someone you can connect with and learn from. Trust your instincts about finding the right one for you.