Congratulations on making the important decision to begin therapy. As you begin your mental health journey, we strive to help you navigate health benefits and create an affirming, responsive “getting started” process – including connecting you with an IntraSpectrum Counseling therapist who will be a good match for you, as efficiently as possible.
Each of our therapists is educated and trained, and has experience working with LGBTQ+ clients, but we recognize it’s also important to find someone who is a good match, personally. Feeling comfortable and being able to connect with your therapist on a personal level can increase the likelihood that you’ll reach your goals for therapy together. Now is the perfect time to consider your needs and priorities, do a little research, ask questions and pay attention to the responses (and to your own). Below we offer some tried & true strategies to consider, for finding a therapist who is right for you.
Think About Your Needs & Goals: Spend a little time framing what’s important to you, so you can make objective decisions and share effectively with your new therapist:
- What are the issues you would like to address in therapy?
- What are your expectations about the duration / length of the therapy process? What are you willing to commit to?
- Think about your communication preferences & tolerances. For example, how do you like to receive feedback? What are acceptable forms of pushback vs. those that might feel anxiety-provoking or triggering?
- Are in-person or online sessions more appealing to you? Depending on your health insurance & where you reside, online appointments may be covered.
- If you’ve been in therapy before, what was helpful last time?
Do a Little Research: There are so many different therapists and psychotherapy practices, it can feel difficult to know how to compare. Here are some suggestions:
- Visit the therapist’s / practice’s website for details about their philosophy on therapy, the types of therapy they offer, etc.
- The website should also offer info about each therapist including clients they work with, their philosophy on therapy, what new clients can expect in a session, etc. Click here to browse and compare details about each of the members of our clinical team.
- Consider the therapist’s areas of focus / specialties, and how well they align with what you’re interested in working on. We share this info on our therapist’s bio pages.
- Consider the therapy models / types of therapy that they use, and how that might impact the ways you work together. You can view this info on our therapist’s bio pages, too.
- Consider the logistics: do they accept your health insurance; are they conveniently located; are their hours of operation compatible with your schedule?
Once You’ve Been Matched with a New Therapist: During your initial therapy sessions, you and your new therapist will get to know each other a bit, share information about your issues and goals for therapy. Your initial therapy sessions are also the perfect time for you to ask questions of your new therapist.
- Be proactive! Ask for what you need, and don’t be shy in asking about their background, expertise, approach to therapy, etc.
- If you have questions about an area of focus / specialty or a type of therapy (see section above), this is a great thing to ask about during your initial appointments.
- It may feel easier to discuss sensitive issues with a therapist who is part of your community or who has shared experiences. Answers to questions such as those below can help you understand more about the therapist’s expertise, approach, priorities and communication style:
- “Have you worked with _____ people before?”
- “How do you treat _____?”
- “What’s your opinion on _____ (insert your fears, values, concerns, etc.)?”
- “We don’t share the same cultural background, how do you educate yourself to be a culturally responsive therapist?”
- During initial sessions, your therapist will also spend time asking you about your situation and goals. Your discussions will help them create an individualized plan for working together, which you will review together and have the opportunity to ask questions about.
- A note about note-taking: don’t be taken aback by a therapist taking notes during a session. They are not judging you, but rather are making sure they remember important things you have said so they can better understand your needs. Taking notes shouldn’t detract from their ability to establish rapport and make you feel comfortable. Even with note-taking, a good therapist should be able to validate your feelings, listen carefully, not interrupt, and help you feel seen, heard, and respected. If you would ever like a copy of the notes your therapist takes, all you would need to do is ask them!
- Read Finding An LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapist, a blog article on our website that shares insight from a therapist’s perspective
Once You’re Working With a New Therapist, it’s important to give the relationship and the process a little time to develop. Will therapy occasionally be uncomfortable? Probably. After all, therapy involves discussing very personal issues. But having a strong connection with your therapist can help you feel safe even when you might feel uncomfortable, and can improve the likelihood that you will reach your therapeutic goals together. We strongly encourage you to express your needs directly to your therapist, and let them know if there’s something you would like them to do differently. And if you find that you are struggling to “click” with your therapist, please let us know! We are invested in ensuring you have a quality experience at ISC.
To get started with therapy at IntraSpectrum Counseling, please submit an online Inquiry Form. We encourage you to share information on the form regarding your preferences, priorities and goals for therapy – and for what you are looking for in a therapist. You are also welcome to request a specific therapist on the form. All of the info you share will help us match you with a member of our clinical team who will best meet your needs. If you have questions, please email us at email@example.com or leave a message for a callback on our office line: 312-379-9476. We look forward to connecting with you soon and helping you in your mental health journey.