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Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Choose a Psychotherapist

At various times in our lives, we all need help. Trusted friends and family members can be a source of strength and support to help us cope with difficult times. But sometimes friends and family are not qualified to help us work out our problems. At those times, you might decide to see a psychotherapist.


How to Choose a Therapist?
Choosing a therapist can be a daunting task, especially if you've never been in therapy before. How do you know what to look for? How do you know if a particular therapist is right for you? There are many different types of psychotherapy. How you do know which one would be best for you?

How to Choose a Therapist

Feeling Comfortable with the Therapist
I believe that the most important factor in selecting a therapist is whether you feel a connection to the therapist, regardless of who recommended the therapist or what type of therapy they practice.

So, how do you know if you feel a rapport with a particular therapist? I recommend going for a consultation and trusting your gut instinct.

Now, it's true that you might not feel comfortable the first time that you go. After all, it's not easy talking about personal things to a stranger. So, you might need to go a couple of times before you can distinguish your initial discomfort, which is normal, from what might not be a good match between you and the prospective therapist.

Make Sure the Therapist is Licensed
Make sure that whoever you see is licensed. I cannot stress this enough. Unfortunately, there are many people who call themselves therapists or counselors, but they're not licensed and they have no professional training.

Unlicensed, untrained wanna-be "therapists" usually do more harm than good and it's best to steer clear of them. If you're not sure if they're licensed, you can contact the State Professional Licensing board or go online. If they're licensed, their names will appear with their license number and the date of their license. Of course, having a license is no guarantee that they're a good therapist, but at least it's an indication that they meet the State's profesional requirements.

Ask for a Consultation
During the consultation, feel free to ask the prospective therapist questions about training, skills and experience. If a therapist is unable or unwilling to answer these questions or s/he becomes defensive or turns the questions back on you, move on.

How to Choose a Therapist:  Ask For a Consultation

You also want to know if the therapist has experience working on the particular problem that you are experiencing. You can also ask about their particular theoretical orientation. A therapist should be able to explain this to you in a way that you can understand without using jargon. Many therapists are eclectic, which means that they work in many different ways, depending upon the needs of the client.

During the consultation, ask yourself:
  • Do I feel heard by this therapist? 
  • Does the therapist seem interested in what I'm saying? 
  • Other than normal anxiety that most people feel during an initial consultation, do I feel comfortable? 
You might need to interview a few therapists before you find the right one for you. And don't feel badly or that you'll be hurting the therapist's feelings if you decide to choose someone else. Any professional therapist understands that not all therapists are good for all clients.

If fee is a consideration, talk about the fee. Do you have out of network benefits that will provide you with a partial reimbursement?  

A Meaningful Experience in Therapy
When you find the right therapist for you, you are likely to have a meaningful experience. You'll have a chance to free yourself from old negative patterns that are keeping you from thriving in your life. Psychotherapy can be a rewarding, life changing experience. Good luck in your journey.

I am a licensed NYC Psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a psychotherapy consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send me an email: josephineolivia@aol.com