SJ Knowlton, LPC-A
Therapy Questions, Myths, and Misconceptions
How to Pick a Therapist
This series will handle misunderstandings and common questions we as therapists encounter from our clients and people in general. Therapy can be scary, but the hope of this series is to remove some of the fear, stigma, and confusion that often accompanies the therapy journey.
Picking a therapist feels like a daunting task. This is someone who you will spend time, money, and energy with–that also requires enough trust to be able to be vulnerable. Below are some things to keep in mind while trying to pick a therapist.
Theory and Approach
There are a lot of therapeutic theories out there. As a non-therapist, considering this may be overwhelming, so keep it simple. Are you looking to address trauma? If so, make sure your therapist is trauma-informed or trained. Is diversity or LGBTQ+ friendliness important to you? Make sure it is to your therapist as well. Do you want practical tools? CBT, ACT, or DBT might be most helpful. Most therapists consider themselves to use a mix of theories or approaches, so unless you have a certain one in mind it’s likely they’ll engage in a few of them with you.
Compatibility and Personality
Therapy is first and foremost a relationship between you and your therapist and you and yourself. Finding a therapist is often part logic, part emotion, much like deciding you want to be someone’s friend. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapist and that you like them on some level. Working with someone you don’t trust or enjoy will ultimately impede your own progress as you won’t feel safe or comfortable enough to do the work with them.
Finally: Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Whether that’s about them as people, their education or approach, or how they see therapy. Asking questions and receiving answers first and foremost builds trust. Secondly, it helps you get a better idea of how your therapist will interact with you. Yes, therapists are the expert in the room, but it’s also important to feel like you know what is happening so you don’t feel left in the dark.
It’s normal to talk to a few therapists before finding someone you want to move forward with. This is ok! Hopefully it will be a fulfilling and lasting relationship, so you want to make sure you are providing yourself with the best fit possible.