It is normal to have anxiety over choosing a therapist. Searching through hundreds or even thousands of doctors, wellness, and mental health professionals can be daunting. Whether you’re looking for a counselor to help you balance your work/life schedule, be more mindful, overcome past trauma or figure out what’s causing a skin condition, connecting with an expert that can help you can be a smooth and rewarding process.
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We’ve gathered tips from people that have gone through the process and have succeeded in finding a satisfying therapy match - we hope that the list below helps you find the best online therapist for you, too!
1. Reflect on what you want to get out of therapy
Before launching into any therapy or counseling, it is best if you first have some idea of what you want to work on, and only later you start looking to find the right therapist for you. For example, you may have something specific you want to work on with the therapist – such as improving your relationship with your parents or finding your passion in life – or you may want to talk to someone to help you figure out and delve into personal feelings of unease. Take a moment to pause and reflect on what you want, as then it will be easier to figure out who you want to work with to achieve your goals.
2. Narrow your search
There are practitioners from over 100 specialties on the RingMD platform (see them here), so using the search bar at the top of the practitioner listing can save you a lot of time in identifying a palatable list of professionals that can suit your needs. Simply type your symptom or ailment in the search bar, or browse by a specific specialty, such as "stress relief", "counseling" or "weight loss." If you do not have specific goals for therapy, then you can down-select therapists by their years of experience, educational history, specialties or style of communication.
Note that the platform includes therapists from over 30 countries that speak a wide array of languages, so keep in mind that you can also narrow down your search by specific languages spoken by the counselor. Think through the potential time difference of a counselor if you choose to pair with a therapist abroad or simply from a different time zone!
3. Schedule a free and obligation-free introductory session
Most non-medical providers offer a free introductory session. During this session, you can get to know your practitioner, ask them relevant questions related to your issue, and understand their approach to therapy. Feeling comfortable with your therapist, being open and receptive to their style of communication, and knowing what to expect from the first formal session can ensure that you are on track to meet your wellness goals.
Since the therapist’s pricing, educational history, and bio is available on their profile, you can spend the time during the session getting to know them, instead of spending precious time figuring out the logistical mechanics.
4. Send a direct message
If you want additional information before scheduling a phone conversation with the therapist, are feeling uneasy or simply can’t find the time for a 15-20 minute discussion right now, you can send a direct message to the therapist and/or counselor to get your priority questions answered.
5. Jump in - when you're ready!
Diving into therapy can yield results through a single, short and pleasant interaction. Therapy can also be a long process and at times be uncomfortable when being confronted with your past decisions and diving into getting to know yourself better. Above all, you should be committed to entering the therapy journey and be open to, and trust the process.
“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”
– Sigmund Freud
Whichever therapist you decide to work with, please keep in mind that your personal commitment to helping yourself, and not placing too much pressure on yourself or having rigid expectations, can set you up for maximum success.
Still not sure if therapy is right for you? This article may help you figure it out.
If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but still don't know where to start, just click the button below to access the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU! Once you find your match, make sure to make the most of your first session!