Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Deciding to begin therapy can be a challenging and complex decision, and chances are if you are reading this you are considering therapy. Alternatively, maybe you are a health professional looking to refer someone and are wondering how this process works. Similarly, you may be a friend or family member of someone in therapy, or who you think could benefit from seeing a therapist. In any case, it can be difficult to know how to choose a therapist and this blog addresses some of the questions involved.
What is therapy? Ultimately, I consider therapy to be a relationship, and that is why feeling comfortable with your therapist is crucial. There are many different forms of therapy, and these may be for a range of ages, and also structures (e.g. individual, couples, family or group therapy). I offer several kinds of therapy services.
Therapy can be long-term or short-term, depending on the circumstances and needs. Long-term therapy usually focuses on more in-depth and long-lasting change, and may include creating insight and tackling deep-seated fears, beliefs and anxieties. In a family context, it may also be difficult to know which person can most benefit from therapy, or whether individual or family therapy may be best.
How to choose the right therapist One set of criteria when choosing a therapist is to choose someone who has appropriate qualifications, experience and interests. There are many different types of psychologists, as well as other professionals, including registered counsellors, clinical social workers and psychiatrists. Ultimately, it is important that the professional has the expertise necessary to provide the services that you require.
Of equal importance, is the 'fit' between yourself and the therapist. This may be a more difficult quality to quantify, but it involves a feeling safe and comfortable, able to connect and share with the therapist. However, it may take a few sessions to know whether therapy is right for you and whether the therapist suits your needs. Sometimes, you might even need to 'shop around' to find a space that is just right for you.
Referring someone else to therapy As a professional, you might be seeing an individual whom you feel may need psychological support, but it might be difficult to know how to handle this. In your professional capacity, it is likely that you have learnt a great deal about this person and have good insight into the issues at hand. Psychological problems may manifest in difficulties at school or work, relationship problems, changes in behaviour or eating, health concerns, mood changes or personality difficulties. If the individual is willing, feel free to pass my information on to them, consult with me or send a referral letter stating your concerns.
So what now? Ultimately, different people take different approaches, and there is no one correct way. Different people may need different types of therapy or different therapists, while some may not take to the idea of therapy at all. There is no perfect therapist, but finding a safe, secure space with someone you can share with, can help you to make the changes you need. Given the importance of this decision, I am more than happy to speak to you on the phone, or for you to try one session before making a final decision as to whether it is the right ‘fit’ for you – feel free to contact me.