So, it’s National Wellness Month and you’ve decided to engage in therapy and question how to navigate this process. Do you choose the therapist your best friend raves about or accept the referral from your neighbor or your gym buddy? How do you begin to choose one of the sea of therapists you googled?
What therapist and why you choose them will be a deeply personal experience. When seeking a therapist, consider the following prior to contacting a practice:
- Do your research – Read biographies and reviews.
- Are there identities that are important to you reflected in the clinician, whether this is gender identity, age, ethnic or cultural connection, or religious values?
- Is the level of education, licensure or certification important to you?
- Are you needing a clinician who specializes in a particular modality, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or with particular issues such as trauma or career transitions?
What are the next steps?
After you’ve identified a clinician you may want to work with, it’s time to schedule your appointment. Pro-tip: come prepared for your appointment! Your initial intake is just as much as an interview of you as it is your interview with your therapist. It is an interview that continues throughout the therapeutic process as you are not only processing what your therapist says but what they do and how they make you feel.
Some information you may want to know about your therapist or their work.
- What is their approach to therapy, and specifically what is their approach to the concerns you may have or areas of growth you want to explore?
- What are their passions, areas of interest and expertise?
- How long have they been practicing and what settings have they practiced in?
- Do you have any questions about their biography that you do not understand?
- Are they engaged in therapy or do they have their own space for mental health support? (You want your therapist to take care of themselves as they are taking care of you, right?)
- What are their fees? Is there a sliding scale rate, or a fellow or intern who may charge lower rates?
- What is their availability and cancellation policy?
Take your time developing your working relationship with your therapist; pay attention to your experiences when engaging with your therapist. Do you feel seen, understood and supported? Is your therapist attentive to your needs and curious about your experiences and perspective? Do you feel your therapist has appropriate boundaries? You have a right to choose with whom you share such vulnerable information about your life, insecurities, fears, pain, and happiness. You have a right to change this decision and choose another therapist at any time. Most importantly, trust the journey.
IntraSpectrum Counseling is Chicago’s leading psychotherapy practice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, and we strive to provide the highest quality mental health care for multicultural, kink, polyamorous, and intersectional issues. For anyone needing affirming and validating support in their healing, please click here or email us at email@example.com.