Choosing the right therapist is an important step in taking control of you or your child’s mental health. No matter if you’re having issues at home, at work, at school or just personally, these issues put a strain on our day to day lives and, most importantly, our mental health.
While not every situation calls for a therapy session, it can be healing and helpful when you’re able to get the right kind of professional help for you or your child when you are in need.
From behavior management to cognitive behavioral therapy—and everything in between—finding the right therapist and type of therapy can be overwhelming. Below are three tips to help you find the right kind of therapist for your child or yourself.
Get a Referral
Take the time to speak with people you trust to see if they have a recommendation for the type of therapists that you’re looking for. This person could be a physician, a school counselor or trusted friend. Getting a personal referral from someone you already trust will help you weed out a lot of therapists who might not be the best fit for you.
Do some research on mental health professionals and create a short-list.
If you don’t have anyone who could refer you, don’t just pick the first name you find online. Just like one size won’t fit most, neither do therapists. Ask yourself some questions: Would you or your child prefer a male or female? Does the therapist specialize in your area of concern? Are they experienced working with children? Would you prefer a doctor or licensed mental health professional? What is their therapeutic approach and training?
Take this information and your understanding of yourself or your child and use it to determine who will be a good fit.
Look for the right “fit
Once you have your referrals or short list, it’s time to start interviewing potential therapist. It’s important to have an initial discussion or intake before starting therapy so you can ensure that you’re confident in their approach to your therapy sessions. Now is the time to ask them questions so come prepared.
When you or your child are already going through a hard time, the time and energy required to find the right kind of professional help can feel overwhelming, but the payoff of better mental health for your child, your family, and yourself is worth it.
Poor mental health is stressful and chronic stress at any age is bad for our bodies and can make it harder to take charge of our well-being. For example, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies of adults found a strong correlation between harmful experiences as a child and greatly increased risks of severe health and emotional problems even decades later.
Getting professional help as soon as possible can help young people as well as adults to heal from trauma; improve communication; better manage emotional, physical, intellectual, and situational challenges; reduce stress; and develop positive relationships that will enrich our lives.