If you are suffering from mental illness, searching for a therapist is an important step towards recovery and having a better life. However, finding a therapist can be a difficult and deeply personal task.
You are trying to find a person with the right skills, training, and personality to help you overcome your specific condition. This is not a process that should be rushed or done carelessly. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a therapist.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Titles
When searching for a therapist, people often spend too much time thinking about what type of license they have, whether they are a Masters or Doctorate level clinician, or even what schools they went to. While it is important to determine that the therapist is appropriately trained, the right therapist for you can come from a host of disciplines. This includes social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, or psychologists.
Each of these disciplines requires that the individual learns how to provide clinically-sound therapy and use evidence-based practices. It is more important that the individual is trained in what you are seeking treatment for rather than the type of license they have or their alma mater.
Find the Right Match for Your Symptoms
Mental health is a broad field of medicine, and the symptoms and presenting issues can vary drastically. When seeking out help, it’s important to determine what type of therapist you need. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, which are some of the most common diagnoses needing treatment, a therapist with a broader scope of practice may be a good match.
However, if you are searching for help with a more specific issue, such as an eating disorder, gambling problem, or drug or alcohol addiction, then it is critical that you seek out a therapist who specializes in that area. Just as you would go to a cardiologist for a heart issue, you need to find the right clinician for your condition.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
The most effective tool in therapy is the relationship between the client and clinician. A key component of that relationship is open communication. Every therapist is a unique individual, and you need to determine if they are the right fit for you.
During the initial consultation or session, consider treating it like an interview. Ask them questions to determine how strong of a fit there is between you two, such as:
- What is your background?
- What is your treatment philosophy?
- How will you help me?
It’s important to remember that you are not required to stay with the first therapist you speak to or meet with. Find the right clinician for you and your needs and personality.
Understand Your Role in Treatment
During this process, it is important to have the right expectations for your role in the treatment process. While the therapist will be there to guide and support you, the one who will do the majority of the work is you.
Throughout therapy and treatment, the person you will need to be most honest with is yourself. Only then will you know if you are making progress and if the sessions have impacted you in a positive way. It’s important to understand the work you will have to do, and not search for a therapist expecting they will be able to treat you without your input.
If you or a loved one are searching for help in overcoming a mental illness, we encourage you to contact us at High Focus Centers. Set up a consultation with one of our expertly-trained therapists to find out if one of our treatment programs is right for you.