Choosing the right therapist

15 - Apr - 2024

Seeking help from a psychotherapist and counsellor is an important step towards improving your mental health and we understand how difficult this might be when you are not feeling your best. It can be daunting, overwhelming and confusing to navigate through the abundance of options available but there are key factors to consider when choosing the right therapist for you.

First and foremost, research shows that building a strong therapeutic relationship is crucial for effective treatment. 

Building a Foundation

A strong therapeutic relationship is one that is understood as being collaborative, one where you feel able to speak freely and also feel receptive and interested in hearing from your therapist. It should be possible for you both to develop a way to understand each other through a constant process of exploring and deepening understanding of how you think, feel and experience your life, therapy and therapist.

Finding Your Ideal Therapist

Your therapist will aim to listen actively, show empathy, and create a non-judgmental space for you to express yourself and it can be helpful for you to discuss together whether this appears to be the case. Pay attention to how you feel during your initial interactions with the therapist and share this with them. If they understand how you experience being with them it will enable them to think about the best way to work with you or whether they are able to offer recommendations for another therapist or type of therapy.

Qualifications and Compatibility

Consider the therapist's qualifications, experience, and specialisations. Look for a qualified, registered or accredited therapist who works with the concerns you want help with, for example anxiety, depression, trauma, or relationship issues. Again, share your thoughts about these things with the therapist.

Navigating Options

Another important consideration can be the therapeutic approach and techniques used by the therapist. There are many types of psychotherapy, however look for a therapist with whom you are able to talk about what you want from your therapy and therapeutic relationship, then together you will be able to decide whether you can work together effectively.

Personal Factors in Therapist Selection

Sometimes people want a therapist of a certain age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or other factor in the belief that they may be understood more easily. Again, share this with your therapist as this is important information about how you are in the world and enable your therapist to think with you about what you need. 

Practical Considerations

Practical considerations such as location, availability, and cost also play an important role in choosing a psychotherapist. Think about whether you prefer in-person sessions or are open to online therapy options. Check if the therapist's schedule matches yours and if their fees fit with your financial situation. Again, use an initial session to talk all these things through so that you can decide together whether you will be a good fit.

The Importance of Initial Sessions in Therapy

All the codes of ethics to which therapists commit require them to work with people where they feel confident they can provide effective therapy. There are so many factors to consider and so we always recommend at least one initial session so that both you and therapist can together decide whether to continue.