Struggling to find a good match with a therapist? It's critical to your progress that you find someone who makes you feel comfortable and pushes you to grow. This article will give you the tools and framework necessary to find a therapist who is a good match for you.
It is normal for people to have anxiety about choosing a therapist (see this for general anxiety tips). Common uncertainties include:
- “Is this going to be a waste of my time and money?”
- “Will other people know about my issues?”
- “How do I know if they can help me more than what I am trying now?”
Many people find it difficult to ask these questions without feeling like they are being judged. The simple solution to that is to ask a therapist anonymously. On RingMD, anyone can inquire about a therapist’s practice with nothing but an email address and a name. This blog will help equip you with good questions to ask, and the ability to judge if a therapist is right for you.
Starting off on the right note
First of all, we have to understand that the point of having therapy is for us to better recognize our mental and emotional tendencies, in order to develop actionable steps that will help us progress towards our objectives in life. To be able to do this, we need a therapist whom we can connect with, and whom we perceive as capable enough to help us navigate through our psychology.
Begin your inquiry by giving the therapist a background to work with. There is no need to tell them everything about your issue, just tell them what it is related to.
For example: “Hi, I want to find a therapist who can help me with issues relating to work/ life’s purpose/ relationships/ addiction/ depression/ finding motivation etc. I would like to learn more about your practice and how you might be able to help me. Can I book a free initial consultation with you?”
We recommend that you book a free initial consultation with a provider. This is not an actual session, but an avenue for you to inquire about the therapist’s services. Chatting with the provider via a video call will give you a better idea of whether the therapist is a good fit for you. If the provider does not offer an inquiry chat, messaging them is a good alternative.
Questions for you to ask:
About the therapist:
- “Can you tell me what therapy with you is like?”
- “Do you have experience working with the type of issues I am facing?”
- “How are the various techniques that you offer different? And how do I know which one is suitable for me?”
- “Tell me more about X therapy that you mentioned. What is the core concept behind it and how will it help me with my issues?”
- “I wish to understand more about X therapy. According to its concepts, why do people have issues?”Understanding the style of therapy will help you learn which approach is suitable for you. For example, if you do not have the patience to explore how your subconscious thoughts affect your behavior, and want more actionable therapies, then you will not want to take up a therapy such as psychoanalysis. Instead you should try something like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT).
- “Will anyone know about me having therapy or my issues?”
- “What forms do I have to fill in before starting therapy with you?”
- “If I decide to start therapy with you, is there anything I should prepare in advance? What should I expect in the first session?”
- “Where do the therapy sessions take place? Is it possible to do it over video/ phone?” (this is made easy with RingMD)
Questions to expect from the therapist
Any good therapist will ask you some questions during your initial conversation with them. This is so that they can get a better understanding of your situation, and see if they are really able to help you. If they are unable to help you, they might be able to recommend another therapist who can.
Most therapists are not pushy. They are genuinely interested in helping individuals who reach out to them, and will not push someone to start therapy.
Many therapists believe that there needs to be a certain level of readiness on the client’s part before starting therapy. Although they can help people ease into therapy, there at least has to be a willingness to take the first step from the client.
That being said, expect these questions from a therapist during your inquiry call with them:
About your situation/ issue:
- “What is your issue relating to? Can you tell me a bit more about what happened?”As much as you can, try to keep the explanation of your issue simple. Remember that the purpose of this conversation is for the both of you to see if you can work with each other. Going too deep into your issues before you establish that this therapist can help you might be counter productive.
- “What prompted you to seek out therapy? Why did you choose this time to explore therapy?”
- “What are your objectives for taking up therapy? What end state do you picture yourself achieving? Answer these questions as truthfully as you can, because it helps you to better understand what you are striving towards, and it allows the therapist to assess if they are the right person to help you achieve that objective.
How to determine if this particular therapist is right for you
The initial conversation typically lasts between 15 - 30 minutes. At the end of the call, there are a few considerations you should evaluate about the therapist.
- Is the therapist empathetic towards your situation? You want to work with a therapist who can relate to and understand your issues. They should make you feel comfortable sharing with them.
- Is the therapist able to explain the concept of their therapy in a way that was easy to understand?
- Was I able to understand how their specific therapeutic methods will help me?You want a therapist who can explain concepts to you simply, because throughout your course of therapy, especially at the beginning, they will have to explain why your mind acts in certain ways when faced with different circumstances.
- Did I agree with the core concept of their therapy? Do I think that concept could explain why people have issues?Psychotherapy is not magic. It helps us resolve our issues by providing us with a different understanding about how to approach our issues. Therefore, in order for therapy to work, you must first agree with the principles behind the therapy.For example, the core concept of CBT is that our emotions and behaviors are the result of our thoughts about any given situation. Hence, by adjusting and controlling our thoughts, we can learn to control our emotions and behaviors. If you do not agree with this concept, you should not take up this form of therapy.
Making the final judgment
Finally, if a therapist can fulfil the three conditions highlighted above– understanding your situation, explaining things to you simply, and you agree with the philosophy behind their approach– it’s time for the final evaluation criterion. This has to do with your gut feeling.
If the therapist made you feel understood, and you are willing to allow them to guide you through a process of learning about your own psychology, then you have found a good therapist for you.
If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but dont know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory with a click of the button below. We have a directory of providers ready to help and you can message all of them easily on one platform. Some of our providers offer a free initial inquiry/ introductory session, and you can connect with them via RingMD’s video call at no charge. Browse our providers here and be on your way towards a better life! We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!