Updated: Feb 6, 2020
Sometimes I think the process of picking a therapist feels so daunting that people don’t know where to start. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and end up frozen. I get that it’s scary starting this process. It’s a step that forces you to admit that something is really wrong. Where do you even start? The good news is that finding your perfect therapist doesn’t have to be terrifying.
1. Ask friends! In my opinion, referrals from friends is the best way to find a therapist.This gives you an idea of who you are contacting. If a trusted friend or family member likes the therapist, there’s a decent chance you will too!
2. If you have insurance, check their website for a list of in network therapists. It might be a big list, but at least it gives you a starting point. And if it's a small list, it will make things that much easier for you.
3. Use Honraku Academy’s Therapist Directory. You can sort by insurance, schedule, specialty (anxiety, depression, trauma etc.)
4. Read potential therapists profile. If you’re a 20 something struggling with ADHD, the therapist that specializes in women struggling with menopause is probably not the best fit.You want to find someone who will get what you are going through. Someone who is an expert and has a ton of resources and tools to best help you.
5. Check out their website. If they have a blog, read a handful of their posts. This will help you get a feel for who they are and if you think you might be comfortable with them.
Okay, you’ve found one or possibly a few therapists that you think might be a good fit for you. Yay! You’re on your way. Now what? The very first thing is to double check that they are taking new clients. If they are, then you want to make sure you understand what this will cost you, financially.
There's an entire post dedicated to helping you understand the financial part of therapy. You can read it here.
At this point you’ve done your research, you’ve picked out the therapist you think you want to work with. You know they are accepting new clients. You know how you will pay for therapy and it’s finally ready to schedule. This is the scary part! But that’s okay. You've come this far, you can do this!
Ask if they will do a free consultation. Basically this is your opportunity to meet with the potential therapist for a short amount of time. This is your time to just talk about what is going on and what you are hoping to get out of therapy. Think of it as a job interview. Do you really feel comfortable with this person or are they not a good fit?
Some things to be aware of. We aren’t here to judge you. We aren’t here to tell you how to live your life. There is NOTHING you can say that will shock us. Trust me, we’ve heard it all and then some. And of course, the best thing-everything you tell us is confidential.
You don’t have to trust us from the very first session. In fact, I tell my clients it would be weird if you did. You don’t know me, you don’t know if I’m trustworthy yet. That’s fine, even normal. Feel free to take your time before you decide if you like/trust your therapist.
Finally, and I can’t stress this enough-if the first therapist you started to work with isn’t a good fit, move on to another therapist. It’s not even personal. Not all people click and it’s important that your therapist is someone you click with. Someone that you either feel comfortable with or that you think you can feel comfortable with in the future. It’s okay if that isn’t the first therapist you see. They won’t take it personally and if you can have that conversation with them, they might even be able to refer you to someone better suited to your needs. No worries if you can’t have that conversation, you can cancel without any explanation. (Just please don’t ghost us-that’s the worst.)
Now you know if therapy is right for you from this blog post. You know how to pick your perfect therapist. You know your part in paying for therapy from this article. You can get some tips on how to make the most out of your time in therapy here. I know it’s scary, but starting this process can be the best decision of your life. You’ve totally got this. Go forth and change your world for the better!
In addition to creating Honraku Academy, Melanie Sivley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Champaign, IL. She specializes in Anxiety, Depression and Trauma. She is a student of Zen Buddhism. She is EMDR trained and currently pursuing her EMDR certification.
Melanie Sivley, LCSW
206 N. Randolph, Suite 505B
Champaign, IL 61820