How to Find a Good Therapist

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The other night, friends came to dinner and mentioned that they are looking for a good couple’s therapist in their area. Being their friend, of course I couldn’t also be their therapist (a little minor detail known as a “dual relationship,” and definitely frowned upon by the ethics of our profession). I could, however, offer guidance. My friend asked me to share my ideas online for others to benefit as well, because she had never thought to ask these questions in her search.

So how do you find a therapist? Here are a few guidelines to help you through the process.

1. There are many therapist finder sites, Including PsychologyToday.com (http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/?utm_source=PT_Psych_Today&utm_medium=House_Link&utm_campaign=PT_TopNav_Find_Therapist). Though you have the ability to search for a therapist by specialty, a therapist can actually check any specialty area they desire on their profile without any proof of competency. So it’s always best to do your homework and be ready with the right questions to ask.

2. No matter what kind of therapist you’re looking for, be sure that the therapist has specialized post-graduate training in that field. For example, my friends are looking for a couple’s therapist, so I suggested that they shouldn’t go to anyone that hasn’t taken specialized training in that area: i.e., Harville Hendrix’s Imago therapy, Sue Johnson’s EFT therapy and/or John Gottman. This additional training is indicative of the therapist’s desire to continue learning all they can about the area for which they feel a passion. If they’re not passionate about the area for which you seek a therapist, you might want to consider finding a different therapist.

3. Trust your gut. If, during your telephone interview and/or your first session, you don’t feel comfortable with the therapist, you may again want to consider continuing your search. With the right therapist, you should feel a connection that leaves you feeling heard, understood and respected.

Happy Hunting and Happy Mental Health.

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