Our Blog

Choosing a Therapist: 8 Things to Consider

by | Blog, Therapy

Choosing a Therapist can be really difficult, time consuming, and can lead to you throwing in the towel and settling. Here is a list of 8 Things to Consider while you’re exploring your options.

1. Are they Available when you are Available? When choosing a therapist, its important to know that therapists have specific availability and it’s important to make sure that you find someone who can fit within your schedule. No matter how good a therapist is or how strongly they come recommended, if it’s not going to work with your schedule, you probably won’t stay consistent.

A suggestion we have is to jot down 2-3 super convenient times for you. Additionally, jot down 1-2 ‘OK’ times for yourself. This gives you some leeway to finding a therapists schedule that will set the stage to be the best fit for you.

2. Location:  It doesn’t matter how good someone is, if driving to them may get old or too stressful or you find you can never make it on time- It may not be the best place for you. 

A suggestion would be to google their address along with any commuting paths to see what it would really take to get there. Then ask yourself: is it feasible?

  3.  Know What and Why you’re seeking Counseling at this time:  Even if you are having a hard time articulating what exactly you are struggling with, just take down some notes of what got you to this point. Remember a therapist’s job is to help you figure the next steps out.   This will help set the stage for finding a therapist who can work with what you bring to the table. 

4.  Research, Research, Research!  Not all Therapists are alike. Many are not trained in the same way or have the additional training it may take to work with everyone’s problem areas. 

A suggestion we have is to ask around, talk to others, ask the school, check in on social media. It can be surprising who recommends who and why. 

5.  Piggy Backing on #3- Every therapist has a unique style!  It’s so important to have a general idea of what works for you and what does not when choosing a therapist. Are you a sensitive person? Maybe not as social as others? Or maybe you really love to talk? Knowing this can really help you narrow down what you may like in a therapist. 

A suggestion we have is to jot down things about someone that you wouldn’t like, then make a couple notes about yourself. When you’re doing the research from #3 ask about those things, i.e. Is that therapist passive? Do you feel heard?

6.  Consultation  Many practices will offer an opportunity to have an in-person or over the phone consultation. It may not always be marketed on their website but you can always ask to speak to the potential therapist for a couple minutes. For some this is just enough time to really feel like you could connect with this person on a deeper level. 

 7.  Using Insurance:  Know your Mental Health Benefits. It’s not uncommon for insurances to have limitations or different financial stipulations for mental health benefits. And some don’t have them at all (Crazy…I know!). Stay tuned for more information about insurances in a later post. 

Double check that not only the practice but the specific therapist you want to see is in network with your insurance. Many times therapists have worked other places or are working at two places so they may see clients with your insurance in one place but not the other. 

Certain times of the year people change jobs or jobs change insurances. You may be thinking well I’ll just get started with this therapist and if it changes we will cross that bridge then. In theory, it’s great that you stay focused on the present BUT so many times this can be very damaging in your work. Know if the therapist takes other insurances and if not, do they take Out of Network and what is their out of pocket rate. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Check out how we describe fees and insurance here.

 8.  Finances and Frequency:    I added this because many times we aren’t prepared for the out of pocket costs that come with receiving therapy. Deductibles, Co-payments, Co-insurances add up. And if you’re Self Pay, meaning you pay out of pocket for all expenses, ouch! Know if the practice and/or therapist has an unspoken requirement to being seen (we won’t get into ethics here but this occurs a lot in practices). Here at Turning Stone Counseling we believe that assessing your needs at each session is best practice, therefore if need more (say risk issues or severe depression) then we will have that conversation with you; maybe you need less and that’s OK too. 

A suggestion would be to ask about required frequency prior to committing.

So when choosing a therapist remember use the eight tips mentioned above and know that it may take some time to find the right fit for you.