Finding a therapist can be daunting, but when you are experiencing mental health problems or struggling in some other way personally, the right therapist can make all of the difference in the world. If you have never sought therapy before, you might feel overwhelmed. Here is a simple guide to finding a local therapist who can help you.
Consider What is Important to You
Start by thinking about what specialties you would like your therapist to have and whether or not there is a gender you would prefer talking to about personal issues. Also consider logistical concerns, such as where their office is located. You might like a therapist’s personality, but if you have to travel 45 minutes to and from their office, it will be a lot harder to stick with a regular therapeutic schedule. Pick a therapist who you can connect with and who will be convenient for you.
Understand the Different Types of Therapists
There are many different types of mental health professionals from whom you can receive therapy.
- Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in psychiatric illnesses. They attended medical school and are licensed to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists are also trained in psychotherapy and psychological testing.
- Psychologist: Psychologists are professionals with doctorates in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). While psychologists cannot prescribe medication, they are trained in psychotherapy and psychological testing.
- Social Worker: Social workers provide social services, most commonly in healthcare settings, though there are a variety of environments in which they work. Social workers specialize in helping with interpersonal problems, providing empathy and counseling to help individuals thrive mentally and emotionally.
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): LPCs have a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling and 3,000 hours of post-grad experience in the field. They are licensed or certified to diagnose and treat mental health disorders.
Exploring Your Therapeutic Options
Now that you have an understanding of the different types of therapists and have determined which type is right for you, it’s time to find a list of professionals who meet your needs.
- Go through your insurance. If you plan to use your health insurance to cover part or all of the cost of therapy, it’s best to start with a list of providers who are covered under your plan. You may be able to find a comprehensive list on your insurance company’s website, or you can contact a representative to ask for it.
- Do a Psychology Today search. Psychology Today has a helpful tool on their website that is essentially Facebook for counselors. Local therapists in your area have profiles which you can read through, and you can even filter your search based on what you’re looking for specifically.
Keep in mind that it usually takes some time to develop a healing therapeutic relationship. It may take a few sessions before you feel comfortable opening up to your therapist. That being said, if you don’t feel you are the right fit, there is nothing wrong with moving on and finding a professional who better suits your needs.
About the Author
New Transitions Counseling Center provides compassionate and meaningful therapy to the residents of Palatine, IL. We specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups. We pride ourselves on being dependable and affordable therapists. Contact us for a free phone consultation to determine whether one of our therapists is right for you.