How to find the right therapist for you

Woman smiling during a casual interview.

Many people choose to start therapy in January as a new year resolution, or because the natural conditions of dark and cold days can heighten mental health issues for some people.

Going to therapy can be a big step and it’s not always an easy one to take. I believe that choosing to start therapy is a brave choice that can transform your life in tremendous ways.

There are many therapists out there with different backgrounds and qualifications, and many therapy styles and options.

So how do you choose the right therapist for you?

Research tells us that the relationship between you and your therapist is one of the most important factors in creating a positive outcome. Choosing a therapist that you can trust and feel comfortable with, can help you get the best out of your therapy sessions.

Here’s a few tips I believe can help you find the right therapist:

1. Google searches and directories.

You can search on websites like Counselling directory or Psychology today, or websites of professional bodies like BACP, NCPS or UKCP.

Make sure your therapist is accredited and has qualifications like Professional Diploma or equivalent Degree that grants them the title Counsellor or Psychotherapist.

2. Look for a therapist that has experience in dealing with your specific issues.

Although therapists can deal with a range of mental health challenges, they often specialise or have an interest in specific areas. If you are looking for help with stress and anxiety, or couple’s therapy, choose a therapist that specialises in those issues.

3. In person or online?

Do you feel more comfortable talking to someone face to face, or would you be more at ease having therapy from the comfort of your own home? Everyone feels differently about this, so make sure you talk to your therapists about your options and what kind of sessions they offer.

4. What kind of therapy is best?

There are many different styles and schools of therapies: CBT, person-centered, Pluralistic, integrative… Those are just some of the most common types. It can be daunting and confusing to choose the appropriate therapy style for you. My advice is to choose a therapist you feel drawn to and comfortable with, then do your own research, and see if what they offer resonates with you. Talk to them about their style of therapy and whether it would be appropriate for you. Always feel free to ask your therapy questions.

5. Ask for an initial phone call or quick chat if you’re unsure.

Most therapists will offer you a short introduction call to assess whether they can work with you, and to see if you are a good fit. This is important to establish an initial trusting relationship and make sure you feel comfortable talking to them before booking a paid session.

6. How do you feel talking to your therapist?

Are you at ease with this therapist? Do you feel comfortable to open up about your personal life? Is it easy to talk to them? Do they listen to you without judging? DO you feel safe with them?These are all important questions to ask yourself after your first encounter. It’s extremely important that you can trust and feel comfortable with your therapist. Trust and honesty are important pillars of the relationship between you and your therapist.

7. Gut feelings are important.

Sometimes, we need to trust our gut. You will probably have an instinctual knowing of whether you feel comfortable with your therapist or not. This has nothing to do with the ability or integrity of the therapist, but rather it’s about the connection you feel to them.

Therapists don’t take it personal if you choose not to work with them. The therapy process is about you, and you should feel comfortable and empowered in your healing journey.

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Woman smiling during a casual interview.