When looking for a mental health professional, the first task you’re faced with is learning how to determine who is right for you. Knowing how to choose a therapist is a significant part of the process. This is because your relationship with your mental health care provider is highly likely to determine your overall success. But what traits do fantastic therapists possess, and where can you find them?
The most important thing to remember is that not every therapist is for you. Though some professionals may have the credentials and experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a good fit for you. We have compiled a list of useful tips to aid you in finding the right person who can lend a hand with overcoming difficulties.
How to Choose the Right Therapist – First Steps
Before you begin dealing with whatever challenged you’re facing, you must know what therapy is and what it entails. The process can be defined through the lens of different psychological approaches, but it always boils down to a process in which humans dig deep into their experiences in an attempt to improve their quality of life or solve a problem that impedes them from fully functioning. This means that you can’t expect instant results and that you must take responsibility for your progress. Therapists can inspire and give you the necessary tools you need to attain your goals, but only you can make a difference at the end of the day.
Go Through All Your Options Before You Book An Appointment
Once you realize that therapy is what you want, you need to filter your options. This means that you get to choose what therapy mode is best for you according to your budget, schedule, and preferences. Nowadays, both online and in-person sessions are available, so it’s up to you to see which one you’d feel more comfortable with.
What Makes a Therapist Good for You?
Expertise and professionalism are a must in any therapist, but they don’t always guarantee success, as mentioned above. So, what factors can have an impact on your overall satisfaction?
- Gender – For some people the gender of their therapist is important, but you should ask yourself which gender would be easier for you to confide in,
- Age – If you believe a person your age, older, or even younger, can make a difference, give this criterion consideration too. For some people, age is just a number, while others value it highly,
- Background – If you believe you’d benefit more from working with a therapist of a particular background due to a shared culture, for example, try to filter according to this parameter,
- Field of expertise – If a practitioner has more experience working with people with similar concerns as yours (for example, depression,) they might be able to approach your specific situation better.
Can You Imagine Relating to Your Therapist?
When tackling the question ‘How do I choose a therapist?’, you should ask yourself whether you feel comfortable or can relate with the person you’re considering. To be able to open up, you need to be on the same page with your therapist so that warmth and empathy can create the space for positive change. While being on the same page can mean a lot of things, more specifically, a therapist of color might ensure your ability to relate on a deeper level. Often times, as therapists of color share same collective experience as you, which allows your ability to relate with one another to improve significantly.
Why Clicking With Your Therapist Matters?
An influential study carried out by the American Psychological Association suggested that a healthy rapport with one’s therapist is a strong predictor of the patient’s outcomes.Thus this bond, also known as the therapeutic alliance, plays a major role in the recovery process.
You Need to Understand What Is Expected of Both of You
All relationships are based on certain roles, and this one is no exception. The job of a black women therapist is to create a safe place where you can share your innermost desires and fears. Committing to personal growth is not always easy. Learning how to regulate your emotions and calm your nervous system takes practice. As long as you feel supported, seen, and heard, you can reach your desired goals.
How Can You Assess Whether Finding Therapeutic Alliance Is Possible?
We can never fully predict how our relationship will unfold, but there are some hints you can look at to see whether you and your therapist will click:
- Consultations – Most professionals offer these, and they’re a great opportunity to check whether you see eye to eye on the process, roles, and expected dynamics.
- Phone calls – Due to their brevity, they’re less reliable, but if someone makes you agitated or nervous as soon as you call, that’s a sign that they’re not a good fit for you.
- Profiles – If you’re using an Internet website platform, read the details provided. Perhaps somebody’s into the same hobbies as you, which can be a good foundation to expand on. Though the impact of social media can’t be neglected, viewing your therapist Instagram or Facebook profile may not be the best indicator of their competence.
When to Consider Changing Your Therapist?
Knowing what makes a successful relationship is impossible without knowing how to recognize failure and qualities that don’t work for you in a therapist. Regardless of personal challenges, such as family trauma or depression, you’d like for your therapist to be empathetic, resourceful, and engaging. If you have been working with a therapist, it’s helpful to understand what signals the time for change:
- Your psychotherapist doesn’t help you challenge your views,
- You feel alone in the process,
- You don’t feel comfortable sharing,
- You feel judged,
- You don’t feel like you’re making progress,
- Your state is deteriorating despite your efforts.
Naturally, you should always try talking to your psychologist about these problems. But as in real-life relationships, your body often gives you clues when something is not working.
How to Change Your Therapy Provider?
There’s no room for guilt on either side if your therapist isn’t working out. Professionals deal with this daily, and it’s your right to seek out what’s best for you. You can talk to your current therapist about your experience and see if they can recommend someone who’s a better fit or you can continue an online search for a new therapist.
How to Choose the Next One?
Don’t look at this experience as a failure, but rather try to get insight into what could help you achieve better results next time. Was it their approach to psychology and mental health that bothered you? Or was it your goals that weren’t met? Perhaps you were looking for something specific such as managing conflict at work, and you’re disappointed with the outcome. Or you still need support with family problems but weren’t given tools to use. Whatever the situation is, try explaining to your new psychologist why you want a shift and let them know what you’re looking for.
How to Choose the Perfect Therapist for You?
Whether you’re looking for therapy as an Asian women, a Black woman, Latina women or other of women of color, finding a specialist who you believe would be a good fit is essential. The first and most important step to take – getting to know yourself, your needs, and your strengths – will help you determine what kind of therapeutic approach is best for you. Trying out mental health professionals will be a valuable experience on your path towards healing. Therapy for women of color is one of the resources you can use.