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How To Find the Right Therapist

When you need help, finding the right mental health provider makes all the difference. Whether it’s suffering from anxiety or depression, facing a painful break-up or divorce, struggling with kids who are failing in school, or realizing the impact of past trauma on present-day life, there’s typically something very wrong in our lives when we make the decision to start therapy.

Any of these types of struggles are important to get help with, as they may be robbing you of current happiness, health, or overall wellbeing. Yet many people end up selecting the wrong counselor solely because they don’t know how to choose one.

When you’re already in a state of crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the process of finding a therapist. You might even settle for the first person who answers your call for help.

The Importance of Finding the Right Therapist

If you were having a heart attack, you certainly wouldn’t go to a chiropractor to save your life, right? In such a life-or-death situation, you’d want only the best cardiologist to treat you, regardless of distance or cost.

The same principle can be applied in therapy. So often, people select a counselor based on proximity to their home or workplace, prioritizing convenience over suitability. Alternatively, those seeking therapy may only look for providers in-network with their insurance companies, ruling out any other options and thus limiting themselves.

In Western society especially, we have a tendency to downplay mental and emotional health issues. While something like a broken bone, a cancerous tumor, or a severe heart condition takes our full attention, we frequently neglect to focus on solving inner pain or relational issues until we’re at a breaking point. When seeking a therapist, it’s important to take your mental and emotional struggles just as seriously as any physical ailment.

What Makes a Good Therapist?

There are a couple of factors to consider when selecting a therapist. One of the most crucial is the way you feel around this person. Maybe you visit a therapist who is fully qualified, well-educated, and provides a beautiful office setting. But during your session, they seem distracted or unable to reflect back what you’ve said with any accuracy. Because of this, you don’t feel seen or heard, even though you like the therapist as a person and the office is comfortable.

Therapy requires an immense amount of self exploration and discovery, and the therapist’s role is to walk alongside you in your process. Feeling seen and heard by your counselor is of the utmost importance as you’ll only be able to go so far emotionally unless you feel comfortable and fully supported.

A therapist should also be ethical. This means they are transparent about their practice and answer your questions truthfully and comprehensively. You shouldn’t be surprised by hidden fees, shortchanged on your allotted appointment time, or consistently cancelled on or rescheduled.

Furthermore, HIPAA law requires any therapist to adhere to confidentiality about your specific case. You should feel confident that your counselor protects your privacy, keeping everything you’ve said in session confidential. And if there’s a public waiting room right outside the therapist’s door, there should be some kind of white noise machine so you can feel comfortable speaking openly in your therapy sessions.

What Makes a Therapist the Right One for You?

In addition to ethical concerns, qualifications, and feeling heard, you might consider the counselor’s style or approach. Are you looking for someone who can be a great listener, or someone who’s more actively involved in the conversation? Are you hoping for a safe space to vent frustrations and fears to a receptive audience, or do you want someone who will teach you new skills and ways of coping?

Everyone is looking for different things when they come to therapy. Many of us don’t have someone who will actively listen and take interest in what we’re going through, so that’s why we come to therapy. Others of us really want to be educated or try different techniques of healing.

If you’re in couples’ counseling, are you looking for someone who facilitates the conversation so you and your partner can speak openly? Are you hoping for “homework” that you can try in your relationship between sessions? Assess what you want out of therapy and the type of personality you’re looking for.

Having this knowledge can inform whether or not a therapist is a good match. You want to feel comfortable being completely honest in therapy and you may need to “try on” several different counselors before finding the right fit. Don’t be discouraged if this is the case! It’s much better to take your time and discover who you can work best with than to rush into a relationship with the wrong therapist and hinder your ability to heal and grow.

Finding a Therapist

Connecting with the right counselor can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right counselor has never been easier. Thrivelution is challenging the out-dated system of directory style searching and creating personalized matches between clients and counselors. Our mission is to improve access to mental health care for the public, and make sure you get the right therapist, not just any therapist.

Take the first step today at

Colleen Hilton CO-FOUNDER &
Colleen Hilton is the founder & CEO of Acuity Counseling, and a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with over 14 years of... Read More
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