• Finding a New Therapist When Finding a Therapist is the Last Thing You Want to do.

    Finding a therapist is never really an easy task, even when we’re at our best. But then again, who is really looking for a therapist when they’re at their best? I’m a whole therapist and when I’ve had to find a therapist for myself (yep, we struggle too), it was a nightmare. I feel your pain.

    Generally by the time folks are looking for a therapist, they’ve either reached their breaking point–or come painfully close to it– and the task seems daunting and relentless. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a friend pass along the info of a therapist they’ve used in the past, it’s hard to know a good fit when you see one, and it’s easy to be turned off to therapy completely when you see a bad fit.

    So where do you start? And where do you go from there?

    It’s important when you’re starting to look for a therapist that you know what it is you’re wanting to focus on in therapy, and to do this you can ask yourself what problem or problems are in your life that you want to start to change. This could be anything from relationship/communication issues; behavioral issues/ bad habits; identity/self-esteem issues; mood-related issues like depression or anxiety; issues stemming from your past like intrusive thoughts, nightmares, irritability, hyperarousal,feeling disconnected, intense feelings of shame/guilt, difficulty relaxing, etc. Whatever it is, decide what is happening in your world that you don’t want to keep happening, or the opposite of what’s not happening that you’d like to see happen.

    From there, you can begin to do ask friends and family that you trust if they’ve ever seen anyone for these issues, or you can use search engines to assist you. There are tools specifically designed for searching out psychology professionals (i.e. mental health therapists, psychiatrists, etc.) such as Psychology Today. When you search, you can search by location and area of focus (i.e. “Trauma Therapist in Simpsonville, SC”). This search will bring up a number of profiles of professionals in your area, along with their contact information and other important information related to billing, availability, and insurance plans.

    So what happens next?

    Once you make contact with the therapist, they’ll either schedule an appointment right away or send you some new client paperwork to fill out prior to scheduling your first appointment. Some of this paperwork has really important information for you to know about the therapist, and some of it will ask for information about you, to save you time during your first appointment.

    During your first appointment (sometimes the first two or three appointments), your therapist is trying to gather information about the problem that brought you into therapy as well as your background, so that they can get a good idea about what makes you, you–because therapists like to provide very individualized care, rather than cookie-cutter style treatment. Sometimes people feel like they’re under a microscope at this point, and if you feel that way, try to just be open with your therapist about how you’re feeling so they can help to ease your nerves.

    It’s really important that you and your therapist are a good fit. I always tell each of my clients that after the first few sessions if they feel like the chemistry just isn’t right to tell me, and I’ll help them find someone who is a better fit for them. I’ve heard of so many folks who have seen a therapist, had a less than awesome experieince, and then never went back to therapy again. I never want to be the reason someone doesn’t ever work through their stuff, and there’s no way that I’m going to be every one’s cup of tea. Maybe I’m too bubbly (they must have had the caffeinated version of me if so), maybe I curse too much (I believe in authenticity), maybe they don’t like that I have tattoos (they probably won’t like other things about me either then), sometimes the chemistry just isn’t right. Whatever the reason, it definitely should not get in the way of any one’s healing. For as many types of individuals that enter our therapy offices, I promise you, there are just as many types of us therapists out there, and we probably know someone who knows someone- it’s basically a club.

    Don’t let the fear of finding help, keep you from getting the help you deserve.