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A Guide To Choosing The Best Therapist For Yourself!

Human life exhibits a plethora of crests and troughs throughout its entire journey. While

certain phases of life bring forth cheerful exuberance and sunshine, we also deal with

absolute lows that feel overwhelming many times and might entail professional help and

therapy. Whether you are dealing with relationship/marriage issues, substance abuse,

family problems, death of a loved one, recovering from a trauma, dealing with job loss or

career stress, health disorders, depression, anxiety, domestic violence and you name it-

taking shelter in therapy is always advisable if you aren’t able to deal with the issues on your

own. But here comes the challenging part- finding the ideal therapist for yourself. In today’s

digital prowess age, finding a therapist is not difficult.

A simple Google search would flood your screens with hundreds of therapists as suitable options. However, narrowing down your search results to select what would be best for you by merely reading through their bio and scanning their personal profiles would be quite troublesome if you don’t know what parameters to keep in mind while choosing your therapist. This article will assist you in converging your search results to one particular therapist that would best suit your needs.

Why is it important for us to be choosy to find a therapist?

The very purpose of therapy is to equip you with a comfortable ambience/place where you

can complacently open up in front of a stranger (therapist) about your issues and struggles

and he/she helps you deal with them, analyze them, and understand them, thereby assisting you in coming out of your issues and make you feel good, empathetic and confident about

yourselves through scientifically validated procedures. Many times, you might have to

open up about uneasy topics in front of your therapist that you hadn’t confided in with

anyone else earlier.

Research has proven that the quality of the bond shared between the client and the therapist plays a very pivotal role in the client’s recovery and growth curve. Hence, its

very important that you see a therapist who gives you a safe, non-judgmental space to

speak and helps you throughout your struggles with great support, patience and empathy

and possesses excellent subject matter knowledge and experience to help you become

better in insightful, empowering ways. Finding the right therapist essentially feels like laying

hands-on a top quality, warm, comfortable, soft fur, knitted cardigan that shields you from

the bleak, harsh winters and keeps you balmy for a long, long time till the cold dwindles

away over several weeks and months.

The disorders/issues in our mind too take a long time to heal and hence, it's paramount to walk through life’s grim winters with a therapist who is proficient enough to keep us warm and help us pass the frost for such a prolonged time. It’s impossible to find one universally good therapist. A therapist who was a good choice for your friend/acquaintance might not be a good fit for you since different people might have different expectations, approaches and ways of dealing with such sensitive issues with their therapists. The following questions will help you pick the right therapist suiting your needs and take up therapy accordingly.

Questions to ask yourself while making the choice:

1. Why am I looking for therapy? What are the conditions I am experiencing right now

that need improvement through therapy?

Getting a clear idea of what issues you are facing right now will help you in

communicating the same in a better way with your therapist and helping him/her

understand your needs better. Evaluating which area of your life needs

improvisation will further help you in choosing a therapist of that exact


For example- If you are going for therapy due to a relationship/marriage

issues, a therapist specializing in the same field will be a better fit for you than a

therapist specializing in substance abuse and violence issues.

Types of therapy to consider while deciding which therapist to surmise and therapy

we need to include:

2. How do I want my therapist to communicate with me? What are my expectations

from therapy?

Sometimes, we just long for a space to vent out our bottled-up emotions and want

someone to be a patient listener. Sometimes, we wish to get out of our problems

and build a better life through effective recovery and wellness procedures.

Sometimes we want our therapists to be gentle, kind and compassionate towards us

in all aspects and yet sometimes, we want them to push us harder for our goals.

Hence, deciding on what we want and how we want to communicate are imperative

questions we need to ask ourselves while looking for a therapist

3. How do I want to avail therapy- offline or online?

Although offline counselling in the presence of your therapist in person is always

preferred by the majority, online counselling has a fast picked-up pace too. This is a very

important question we need to ask ourselves because it would play a major factor in

our final decision of narrowing down a therapist. You need to keep in mind several

parameters while considering both options. For example- If you go for offline

therapy, we have to keep in mind how feasible it would be to visit your therapist

multiple times in a month. If you go for online counselling, you have to think about how

effectively you can communicate with someone through screens and how disciplined

you will be through every therapy session.

4. What will be my budget for therapy sessions?

Therapy can range from affordable fee ranges to expensive ones. Thus, it's essential

for you to fix a budget and do your research for therapists with fee ranges within your


5. Will I be more comfortable with a therapist speaking my native language or

belonging to my race/ gender/ ethnicity/ sexual orientation/age?

Many times, people tend to be more comfortable around people belonging to their

own community, gender, race etc. and open up unhesitatingly or more easily to

them. In such cases, you need to question yourself regarding the same and

understand your needs and comfort zone to decide on a therapist accordingly. You

also need to research which age groups are preferred by which therapists as some

therapists primarily specialize in counselling young adults and children while some

deal with senior citizens and adults.

6. What are my goals and priorities from these therapy sessions?

The very reason that you are considering taking up therapy is that you feel the

need to alter something about yourself and proceed for a better version of yourself

than you currently are. This essentially means that you have some goals,

expectations and priorities that you want to pursue with the help of this therapy.

Consider what they are, consider what your expectations are and analyze which

therapist will help you fulfil them productively and smoothly.

Questions to ask your therapist/ research about your therapist while making the choice (direct questioning or gathering information without direct questioning)

The following questions should be kept in mind while choosing an ideal therapist for

yourself. This will help in greater filtration of your choices by considering all possible

aspects, thereby making it easier for you to arrive at a final conclusion that best suits you.

  1. What technique/ approach does the therapist use and what is his/her general doctrine/ideology in dealing with clients?

  2. How many years of experience does your therapist carry in the domain into which your problems/ issues fall?

  3. Does your therapist specialize in counselling children/ young adults or do they specialize in providing therapy to adults/senior citizens?

  4. What are the educational qualifications of the therapist? Do they possess a valid graduation/ post-graduation degree?

  5. Is the therapist capable enough to give you a well-defined Plan of Action regarding how the therapy process will go about and how will the POA solve your issues?

  6. Will the therapist help you with regular follow ups and feedback after each therapy session?

  7. How convincing and practically feasible do the therapist’s guarantees and promises sound?

  8. Does the therapist maintain client confidentiality and other ethical values with regard to the client’s boundaries and comfort zone?

  9. Does the therapist possess a certified valid license to practice counselling and therapy?

  10. Does the therapist allow flexibility in scheduling/re-scheduling therapy sessions if the need arises?

  11. Inquiring about the cost of therapy

  12. What is the therapist’s theoretical orientation - Does he/she straightway focus on the solutions after knowing the problem or does he/she take more of an insight-oriented approach to understand and delve into the grassroots causes of the issues/concerns?

  13. Does the therapist provide telehealth services if need arises at any moment?

  14. Inquiring how many days/weeks will it take for the therapy sessions to start showing results.

  15. What solutions/ options will be provided in case the therapy plan isn’t working for us?

  16. Questioning the therapist if he/she is qualified to prescribe medicines if required during the course of therapy and in case the answer is negative, can he/she connect us to/ recommend anyone who does?

-----------Pragya Gogoi

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