Easy Guidelines for Choosing Your Therapist

This might be one of the most life-changing relationships you ever have. It’s important to choose the right person. But how do you know which therapist is right for you?

What is psychotherapy? It’s different from counseling. A counselor probably gives advice and guides you through an issue in your life.

A psychotherapist works on your psyche, the Greek word for “soul,” or “butterfly.” That is, you will be going deeper, into your unconscious mind.

Get the facts. Ask questions. What training does the psychotherapist have? The most common types are listed below.

–  a psychiatrist is a medical doctor. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and hospitalize their patients. They are not necessarily trained in psychotherapy. In Canada they are covered by medicare which means that good ones have long waiting lists.

–  a registered psychologist has a PhD. in psychology from a university. Psychologists may specialize in various areas such as couple work, children, families, trauma, etc. Find out if the psychologist has training and experience in the area you are bringing to therapy. If you have private insurance, it will probably cover the cost of some therapy with a psychologist. Check this with your policy.

–  a social worker has a masters degree in social work. Many have private practices. Social workers are seldom covered by insurance. They vary widely in their areas of interest and expertise. Check whether the social worker you are considering has training and experience with the issue with which you are presenting.

The last thing on your checklist is essential.

Check your gut feeling: It’s okay to interview a few in person or on the phone. This is an important decision you’re making.

1)  Does this therapist feel like someone you could trust with your personal disclosures?

2)  Do you feel that the therapist “gets you?”

3)  Do you feel respected by the therapist?

Please share your experiences in finding the right or the wrong therapist in the “comment” space below.

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