How to Choose a Therapist

15 Apr

A therapist is a person trained in the use of psychological methods for helping patients overcome psychological problems. Therapists specialize in areas such as addiction, depression, autism, eating disorders, and many others. I frequently get contacted by people who don’t require a consultant, but they do need a therapist. In those situations I’m able to connect them with local therapists. When I refer a family to a therapist, they often ask me how to choose the “right” one.  While there is no easy answer to this, there are some areas I suggest families consider when interviewing a new therapist.

  • As they say in real estate, “location, location, location.”  The majority of families I work with are extremely busy, so try to make the location convenient.  If your therapist is in a convenient location, that will not be an excuse not to go.
  • Comfort is key.  This is someone who you will be sharing sensitive information with, so you want to be sure that you are comfortable talking with them.  There are lots of factors that can go into this, some that I recommend thinking about are gender, age, and connection when you speak with them.  While your therapist is not the same as a friend it is important that you can feel relaxed and open to the process of therapy.
  • The alphabet soup of degrees. MSW, LCSW, MFT, MFTI, MFCC, LPC, PH.D., PSY.D. these are some of the degrees you see when you look to find a therapist.  In my opinion, the particular degree does not matter as much as your connection with the person.  It is far more important that the therapist has experience in the area you are seeking support.  They may even mention having a specialty in particular areas.
  • Trust your gut.  Once you make contact with a potential therapist ask as many questions as you need in order to see if they are a good fit.  One factor may be are they truly listening to you during the phone call.  Is the therapist asking questions of you as well so they can make sure they can meet your needs.  The fit must happen both ways.
  • Make sure you are clear on the fees prior to scheduling the first therapy appointment.  Some therapists may be covered by your insurance, but it is your responsibility to double-check this to be true for your specific plan.  Do your homework prior to the appointment so that there are no surprises afterwards.

It is typically a good idea to get recommendations for therapists from those you know and trust such as friends, family or other professionals that you work with.  With that being said, no one can make this type of decision for you as it is a very personal one and requires putting in the time to research and make sure that the person is a good fit for you and/or your family.

Whether you’re looking for a therapist or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit for more information.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Families, Mental Health


Tags: , , ,

One response to “How to Choose a Therapist

  1. Vista Teen Living

    April 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Shayna, you really hit on some key points. The relationship between client and therapist is key. Also, I hope everyone reading this takes your advice to ask questions and know what their goals are when starting therapy.


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