Finding the right therapist
A guide to making a choice best suited to you and your mental health needs.
If you’ve decided to seek therapy - whether it’s to restore a relationship, recover from a trauma, adjust to a new life phase, or improve your mental health - finding the right counsellor is the first step to a new you.
Researchers have found that the bond between you and your therapist is likely to have a big impact on how successful you are in achieving your goals . With this in mind, its important to find a therapist that’s right for you. Here are some top tips for finding the right therapist or counsellor and successfully reach your therapeutic goals.
What do you want to achieve?
It may be a cliché but as with many things, you get as much out of therapy as you give. With that in mind, it's important to ask yourself what you want from therapy; You may have a targeted goal, (I want to deal with a specific trauma) or it can be more vague (I want to stop feeling anxious/depressed). Having an idea of what you want to achieve will help locate and find a therapist that is right for you.
Use your online tools
It may seem obvious, we all use the internet as a source of information and to locate the services we need and in today's world, an online presence is important to give people piece of mind. Finding a therapist doesn't need to be all that different, it's perfectly ok to search online but it's important to be discerning. Don't worry - there are a number of sites to help you find a licenced therapist and provide you with the information you need.
These sites allow you to search by area/post code and specialisms to find a counsellor who suits your requirements. Take time to read therapist's blog information to give you an idea of who they are and how they might be able to help you. Many of these sites may connect you to a therapist's website where you can find further information about them as well as access to testimonials, contact information, blogs and social media, all helpful resources to get to know more about your counsellor.
Some commonly used online search tools include:
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Do you get on?
In order to get the most out of counselling, you need to be prepared to talk about things you may have never shared before. With this in mind, it is important you feel comfortable with your therapist. First of all, see what they have to say about themselves on their website or online profile. What do they specialise in? What is their approach to counselling? Do they meet with your needs and expectations?
Before committing to paid sessions, most counsellors should offer a free consultation over the phone, online or in person. Therapists should allow you the space to lead this session, whilst creating a comfortable space and opportunity for you to get to know one another. Ideally you can also talk through the issues you would like to tackle and work towards a plan for achieving this.
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Environment - where and how?
Being comfortable with counselling, isn't just about getting on with you're therapist. It's important to think about the practicalities of your session as well as what will make you feel at ease to talk openly.
Your surroundings during the session should be taken into account. Often people prefer an environment that feels less clinical than a hospital or surgery. See where your counsellor holds their sessions - is it a friendly and comfortable environment? Location and scheduling can also play a big part. A therapist who is accessible to you, in an area local to your home or work and who has availability at appropriate times, will help save you rushing to and from sessions and perhaps allow you to feel more prepared to talk.
With that said, it may in fact be more practical and/or comfortable for you to take part in online or telephone sessions. Check with your counsellor if it is possible to use video communications software such as Zoom or Teams - this will often open up more possibilities to work with your schedule and perhaps allow you to choose a more comfortable setting you are happy to talk from.
Testimonials - What do other people have to say?
Word of mouth recommendations are often the most reliable way to find various services. Unfortunately, given the stigmas surrounding mental health, often people can be unwilling to share their personal experiences with counselling and their therapists. You may also feel uncomfortable talking to a friend about the feelings you are having before seeking professional help.
Testimonials offer up a kind of recommendation, a way for you to hear another voice talk about a counsellor's approach, environment and the achievements they have made with customers. Look out for reviews and testimonials on websites to give you an even better insight into making a decision.
See what my clients have to say about Ortus Counselling;
For more resources please feel free to contact Ortus Counselling