Things to Look For When Choosing a Therapist

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Mental health is a very serious issue in the United States. In 2019, about 51.5 million adults over the age of 18 had a diagnosed mental illness. Among these Americans, roughly 44.8%, about 23 million, received some kind of mental health service. With the political unrest and uncertainty of the pandemic, these numbers have only increased since then. This rise in mental health treatment has resulted in many people going to a therapist for the first time. 

Although it can be challenging at first, psychotherapy has shown to be beneficial in improving mental health without the risk that medications can sometimes pose. Finding the right therapist to open up to can be a daunting process for you and others, especially if you do not know what to look for. 

Hopefully, this article will help give you the information you need to find a therapist that is right for you. If you would like to read more about the mental health statistics referenced, you can do so here.

Methods of Finding a Therapist

The traditional way of finding therapy is to look for facilities nearby and then get their contact information. Hopefully, that facility has a website where you can see which therapists work there and maybe learn some more about them. This method is simple, although depending on your insurance it may be difficult to find the best option that will take you. 

Thankfully, due to the internet, there are now services and apps where you can find thousands of therapists. The professionals on these websites often have detailed profiles where you can learn about what they specialize in. 

You can even do telehealth therapy if you cannot find someone near you, which gives you far more options. Choosing therapy through phone calls or telehealth can be just as effective as meeting in person and you may even feel more comfortable that way.  

Look For a Therapist That Is Qualified in What You Need 

Before seeking therapy, it can be useful to think about some of the aspects of yourself you may need help with. Many therapists give details about their points of expertise on their online profiles or can communicate these over the phone. 

For example, since substance use disorder (SUD) is often accompanied by a mental health disorder, many therapists specialize in treating patients who have a SUD. Finding a specialist who is knowledgeable about what you struggle with can make a positive difference in the outcome of your therapy. 

Some other common therapy topics are childhood trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, sexuality, and anger. There is even group therapy as a possible option for you and your family if you feel like sharing with others would be beneficial. 

Another possible factor to think about is the type of therapies that are being offered. Psychotherapy is the general term for mental health treatment without the use of medications, but many forms of therapy fall within this category. Two effective forms of therapy known to especially help those recovering from SUD are mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy. There is also psychoanalysis, exposure therapy, and interpersonal therapy, among others. 

Certain forms of therapy have been proven to help with certain issues and some patients respond to specific treatment better than others. You may want to speak about these options with your future therapist if you think they may help. Many professionals also have the treatments they use listed in their profiles online.  

Find Someone You Connect With

Therapists are legally required not to share anything you tell them with others. However, sharing deeply personal thoughts and emotions can be scary.  Even if the professional you choose specializes in what you want treatment for, there needs to be some connection. You and your therapist do not have to be the best of friends, but if you feel as though you do not mesh well, or that their approach does not work for you, that is understandable and it is not your fault. After your first session with someone, ask yourself a few questions: 

#1. Do I feel like that session was valuable? 

#2. Is what I am sharing taken seriously and responded to? 

#3. Is my therapist not talking enough or too much for my comfort? 

After asking yourself these questions, it can be valuable to bring up any concerns you have with your therapist. If you end up working together and making your sessions a more comfortable and personal experience, that is perfectly fine. 

However, if things still are not working out, there are ways in which you can effectively end your relationship with a therapist here. Either way, what is important is that your mental health is being treated and empowered. If one therapist does not work out, there are many more available to try. 

Once you find a therapist you can connect with, you can begin to build a relationship of trust with them. Trust is important for the therapy process because it helps the patient feel more comfortable sharing feelings and experiences. Through building trust, your therapist can then more personally and effectively support you in your struggles. They can learn how to motivate, inspire and console you better. Keep in mind that the journey of therapy is achieving your own healing with someone you trust guiding you along the way.   

Therapy can be a vital tool in the recovery process for many physical and mental health conditions. Whether you are suffering from PTSD, substance use disorder, depression, or other issues, it is always worth a try. Finding the right therapist or treatment center can be a bump on your journey and it isn’t always easy. However, once you do find the right help it can be life-changing. Here at Everlast Recovery Centers, we understand that this step can be challenging. Even if you have never experienced therapy before, our caring staff can help you ease into it as we introduce various options. We offer cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness, among others. Our staff understands that substance use disorder is often accompanied by trauma or other mental health disorders and we aim to holistically treat our clients. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, give us a call today at (866) 338-6925.      

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