Use these 5 simple questions at your first consultation to see if a clinical therapist…
Choosing the right therapist can have a significant impact on your sessions and the outcome of your treatment. If you’ve never been to a therapist in Charlotte before, it may be difficult to know what to look for and what questions you should ask to ensure you are getting the best treatment possible.
Here are some tips to help you make the right choice as well as some things to look for to make sure you’ve made the right decision.
How to Choose the Right Therapist
It’s important to know that the right therapist for a friend or family member may not be the best fit for you. Everyone has different criteria or qualities they look for that will make them comfortable with sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings.
But, here are 3 general questions to ask yourself to determine if a therapist is right for you.
1. Who will I feel most comfortable talking with?
Some people only feel comfortable talking to therapists of the same sex, while it doesn’t matter for others. Ask yourself these questions to determine who will work best for you. For example, do you prefer to speak with someone who provides gender-affirming care? Take all of this into consideration. Think about who you’ll feel most comfortable talking with before making an appointment.
2. Is the therapist licensed and experienced?
Always check to see what type of license a therapist has and how long they’ve been practicing. Some people like to find out more about their potential therapist by searching them online. This will often let you know their educational background, employment history, specializations, and any reviews of their practice.
3. What types of treatment modalities do you use?
Some people like to know what types of treatments a therapist offers before deciding to make an appointment. It is important for these treatments to be evidence-based. Feel free to ask what is offered and explore these options yourself so that you have an idea of what to expect. Remember, you don’t have to make a decision today. You also have the right to explore other options, if you find the person you went to is not a great fit for you.
As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll want to search for a therapist that fits your criteria by looking through your insurance provider directory or using a reliable online database. Asking people you trust is also a good idea as well as consulting your general practitioner for referrals.
Things to Pay Attention to During Your First Session
After you’ve chosen a therapist and have booked your first appointment, there are several things to keep an eye on to determine if you’ve made the right decision.
If you don’t feel safe and free to share your thoughts, your sessions will be meaningless. If your therapist doesn’t make you feel safe for some reason, you may need to find someone else. It is important to feel open and safe when expressing yourself fully. Safety also includes having a safe and calm environment to identify your thoughts and feelings.
Many people can feel a connection with their therapist right away while it may take some time for others. If you don’t have that instant connection, don’t panic. Give it another try. But, if you’ve had a few sessions and still don’t feel that spark, that may be a good indicator that it’s time to explore other options.
Your Gut Instinct
You’ve always heard that it’s best to trust your gut. When you’re choosing a therapist, it’s especially important to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right for some reason and it makes you uncomfortable, perhaps this isn’t the right therapist for you. However, remember that therapy may feel uncomfortable at times when working through your history of concerns.
How to Know You’ve Found the Right Therapist
There are some key things to look for that will let you know that you’ve found the right therapist.
- You feel like you can open up. This is most important because, without this element, your therapist won’t be able to truly help you.
- Your therapist truly listens. We can all tell when someone is truly listening to us or just watching us talk. When your therapist is paying attention to every word you’re saying, you know you’ve got a keeper. You’ll be able to determine this if they can recall information and reflect back on previous experiences.
- You feel better. The goal of therapy is to make you feel better. If after a few sessions you begin to feel better about yourself or the situation that brought you to your therapist, that’s a good sign that your therapist is right for you. Sometimes this takes longer for some patients than others, so don’t get discouraged if this more than a session or two. There is not a specific timeframe for therapy. However, the goal is for you to learn skills and develop a solid foundation to transition out of therapy at some point.
- Your therapist offers you several solutions. Some solutions work for some patients and not for others. If your therapist has several ideas of how to help you, this allows you to discuss which one is best for you. Remember one size does not fit all.
- Your therapist doesn’t judge you. During your sessions, your therapist shouldn’t judge you. If you feel judged, you won’t feel like you can open up the way you should. Remember, there is a difference between being judged and challenged.
If you feel like your therapist checks all or at least most of these boxes, then you’ve likely found the right therapist for you.
The Importance of Finding the Right Therapist
It’s extremely important to find the right therapist because if you don’t, you won’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts. If you can’t make a connection, you’ll be reluctant to truly open up. Without this element, you won’t get the most out of your sessions. You want to find someone who works alongside you through your healing process. Remember, it takes both parties engaging in the treatment to be effective.