If you have ever considered speaking with a therapist, then you are not alone. According to Psychiatry Today, over 59 million people sought mental health treatment around 2004. This number continues to grow as the negative stigma sometimes associated with therapy diminishes.
People often turn to experts when life events become overwhelming—therapists can help give you the skills and sounding board to help you evolve into an even better version of yourself. One of the most important things, however, is finding the right therapist.
How to Find the Right Therapist
The life coach’s opinions
Who exactly are life coaches? Some may come from the school of hard knocks, while others may be incredibly opinionated people. Exactly what empowers these people to give sound advice above anyone else with whom you are acquainted? Many therapists try not to give personal opinions about your troubles but instead attempt to provide you with tools to deal with these problems.
Do not expect the same from a life coach. Perhaps there are some individuals out there who truly want to help others, but what makes their opinions credible? It is unlikely that you will find a life coach with a graduate degree, so exercise caution.
Try to find a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist who specializes in some of the challenges you face. When these therapists review the most up-to-date case studies and research regarding a particular subject that impacts many clients, they become well-versed in the subject itself. Therefore, when you research therapists online in your area, carefully read about the therapist’s specialities.
Advanced degrees can make a difference when it comes to finding the right therapist. These individuals may cost more per hour, but your insurance may be more likely to cover the costs. If you went through a trauma, you might want to deal with that particular trauma head-on—that brave action can help you move past the event.
However, some psychiatrists and psychologists with advanced degrees may notice typical patterns that you might not have spotted. For example, many people who experience sexual abuse as children later experience rape, unwanted pregnancy, and other challenging traumas (though, of course, this is not the individual’s fault).
Therapists with advanced degrees can easily find patterns in a person’s life because their schooling requires this level of knowledge. If you wish to tackle perhaps more than one challenge in your life, then you may wish to find a therapist with an advanced degree.
The gender question
Some people may feel more comfortable speaking to a woman than a man, and vice versa. Do not deny what makes you feel safe. Even if your therapist is the most non-threatening, helpful person on the planet, this may not be enough if you have issues with people of their gender.
This has nothing to do with the credibility or education of the therapist—it has to do with creating an atmosphere where you know you will not hold back any gender-related feelings. On the other hand, learning to trust someone of the gender you struggle with can also lead to another form of healing. Weigh up these pros and cons very choosing.
When you decide to call a therapist’s office, do not hesitate to state exactly what you need in a listener. Many practices have more than one therapist, so you have a better chance of being matched with someone you may enjoy.
If you do not want someone who hands out the tough-love approach, then state that before you go. Some patients do better with compassionate people, while others do better with quiet and listen. Either way, find what works best for you and ask for it.