If you're considering therapy, you may be asking yourself this question. Searching for a good therapist can feel daunting. By 'good' I mean 'a good fit' for you. After all, this is an investment - an investment in your wellbeing.
You may also find yourself asking:
Where do I find a therapist?
What's on offer and is it what I need?
How will I know that a therapist is right for me?
First, consider your choices.
Some therapies are available through the NHS, including talking therapy. Many workplaces, universities and colleges offer counselling support, and there are charitable organisations offering free and low-cost therapy.
All of these services can be helpful and they are in high demand. Limits may be set on the type of therapy, choice of therapist and the number of sessions available.
If you feel you want more choice or greater flexibility, you may prefer to see a private practitioner. But where to begin?
Many private practitioners will have an online profile on a therapists directory and/or their own website, and/or through a counselling body. Alternatively, or in addition, you can checkout therapy clinics, treatment rooms, and wellbeing centres, and ask them for recommendations. It's also worth remembering that some GP surgeries may have a therapy clinic attached.
Asking yourself the following may help the selection process:
Does their profile 'speak' to me?
Is their therapeutic approach or 'modality' what I'm looking for
Will this be effective for the difficulty I'm experiencing?
What are their working hours?
Can they be flexible?
Are they easily accessible?
What will it cost and can I afford it?
Try before you buy.
Although looking for the right therapist is not like buying a pair of shoes, there may be ways to 'try before you buy'.
After reading what's available online, in an ad or leaflet, make contact to get a feel for the therapist and find the answers to any questions you may have. Some therapists offer an initial consultation free of charge or for a reduced-fee - on the phone or face-to-face.
There is usually an understanding that you will be settling into early sessions. Let your therapist know if things are not working for you - your therapist may be able to make changes. If not, they may be able to refer you to another practitioner whose way of working may be more suited to you. Or you can continue your search. Remember, a responsible therapist will want your therapy to be effective.
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