How to choose a Therapist.

Alexis Main

Taking the first steps into therapy can be daunting. It can seem overwhelming to know where to start. Though seemingly expensive it is one of the best investments you can make, yet because it is costly and because you are opening yourself to a very personal experience it is important to get it right.

To begin

There are a wide range of therapies to chose from, counselling, CBT cognitive behaviour therapy, EMDR eye movement desensitization and reprogramming, NLP neuro linguistic programming, hypnotherapy, to name but a few. It would be helpful to familiarise yourself with a google search to understand what each of these therapies offer. A basic understanding will help when making your decision on which approach you would prefer.

All good therapists are registered with an accrediting organisation, for example British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and it is best to look on these organisation’s website for qualified members within your local area. Make sure you are looking at a Members Website for qualified members rather than a directory which is essentially just an advertising tool.

Once you have selected the therapy you would like and have selected some therapists within your area make a shortlist of the ones you prefer and call each asking for details of how much they charge, where they work from, if it’s private, has easy parking and what time of day they are available. It is important that the environment where you go will be comfortable and relaxing. Avoid busy roads with little parking availability or visiting someone in their front room (yes it happens). Make sure you have discussed the cost of your session and how long to expect to be there in advance of you arriving.

Ask about their approach and what you can expect from a session. It is impossible to know how many sessions you will need until you have started therapy yet a therapist should be able to give you an idea within the first couple of sessions. They should also give you an outline of their working methods.

Don’t be influenced by ‘success rates’ or promises of ‘quick fixes’. Things don’t become complicated in our lives overnight and neither is it possible to sort them quickly. It takes time and steady application, generally with space between sessions so you can put into practise the insights you are gaining.

Finally

The best reassurance you can have of a good quality therapist is a recommendation from someone who has worked with them. Perhaps mention that you are considering therapy and ask friends and family if they know of anyone. It can be surprising how many people have actually attended therapy at some point in their lives. It is much more common than people realise.

As I said at the beginning, it can seem daunting yet with the right approach it is possible to find someone who can really help you to help yourself. Working on ourselves and maximising our potential helps not only us yet also everyone around us.   

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