How to find a therapist that’s the right fit for you
Q: I tried going to therapy but was disappointed in my therapist.
Actually, this is my second therapist. My first almost fell asleep and the second only wanted me to learn to chant.
I find this so frustrating. How do I find a decent therapist?
A: Sorry for your unhelpful experiences. Perhaps the following information will be helpful for choosing the next one.
Therapist is a term that denotes a helper with personal or interpersonal emotional or behavioural issues. The term “therapist,” though, says nothing about that person’s training or approach to helping. Indeed, the methods of training to become a therapist, along with approaches to providing that therapy, are remarkably varied. As well, some approaches have more scientifically proven validity than others.
Recommendations from friends can be useful. Searching on the Internet can also prove fruitful. You can also ask your physician for a referral — he or she is likely aware of the outcomes of patients who have been previously referred.
The other thing to consider is that as in medicine, there are subspecialties. You want to make sure the training and approach of the therapist matches the issues you are seeking to address. Just as you wouldn’t see a cardiologist for a broken leg, you have to differentiate between therapists who provide individual, marital or group therapies as well as the age group(s) at which their services are directed.
Practising therapy is somewhat like playing baseball. Home runs may be far and few between, although a reasonable therapist will at least have a decent batting average. In the same way, it is important for people attending therapy to have a reasonable expectation of outcomes.
So, before setting an appointment, ask questions to determine the service provider’s approach, experience and training and if they are suited to the issues you seek to address. You can also ask about costs and average duration of therapy.