Finding a therapist can be difficult. And finding the right therapist is like ‘half the battle won’. The right therapist will help you sail through your problem comfortably and positively. Here are a few tips that will help you in finding the right therapist.
Checklist for Finding a Therapist
Counsellors, psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists – several people offer help in a professional capacity. But results depend upon choosing the right approach and the best mental health therapist. Interestingly, the best mental health therapist might not be the one who is much celebrated and acclaimed but is definitely the one who gels well with your requirements, ensuring that you feel comfortable all along. Here are a few key points to ease your task of finding a therapist.
1. Choosing the Type of Therapy
The first step to finding a therapist is to select the type of mental health therapy you wish to try. This will require an understanding of what different types of therapies offer. From behaviour therapy and counselling sessions to psychoanalysis, different types of therapies help different needs. Choose the one that aligns with your requirements and purpose. These include:
- Counselling: It is a type of talk therapy that helps deal with emotional issues. A certified counsellor is the best person to handle such cases. Besides one-on-one and face-to-face counselling, one can also opt for online therapy or in a group setting.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): The therapy primarily focuses on resolving behavioural issues. In addition to providing talk therapy, it involves the use of several tools that help correct behavioural issues. Certified counsellors and psychologists and licensed and trained mental health social workers can provide CBT. It can be a one-on-one therapy session or carried out in small groups, offline, or online.
- Psychotherapy: It is a form of therapy that helps address issues related to inner conflicts related to life. It is also known as existential therapy and is provided by a trained psychotherapist. By integrating humanistic approaches with medical techniques, the therapist will help the client confront psychological distress about life.
- Family Therapy: Unlike other therapies that focus on individuals, family therapy will help resolve issues between family members. A family therapist will help members understand complex thoughts and relationships. It also addresses behavioural issues and aims to strengthen relationships.
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): This type of therapy helps people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Finding a therapist who is a trained EMDR therapist is important.
- Hypnotherapy: It is an effective technique for pain management. A certified hypnotist or hypnotherapist is the best person to perform this therapy. However, this therapy is not recommended for people who have psychosis or personality disorder.
2. Ask for Recommendations
Once you identify the type of therapy required to address your specific concern, it’s best to tap into your network, seeking recommendations for therapists around you. Suggestions from friends, family, colleagues, or your doctor; all inputs are valuable. Going by referrals is the best way of finding a therapist.
3. Go Through Credentials
After getting recommendations for the best mental health therapist near you, go through their credentials. Make sure that the therapist is a certified professional offering the type of therapy you are interested in receiving. Cross-check if they hold the licence to practise in the state or area.
4. Evaluate Offline vs. Online Therapy
At present, both offline and online therapy sessions are available. While offline or face-to-face sessions provide intensive support and are considered more effective, online therapy provides the advantage of cost, convenience and easy access. Choose the mode you are most comfortable in.
5. Check Cost & Timing
Depending upon the mode of counselling – online or offline, check the time slots and cost per session. A regular therapy session lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour with costs ranging between Rs. 700 and Rs. 5,000, depending upon the city you live in and the type of therapy you wish to avail. If you have insurance, check if these costs are covered.
6. Check the Personal Profile
After checking professional credentials, go through the personal profile of the therapist. Age, gender, culture, ethnicity, native language, etc. all hold valuable points when finding a therapist. For instance, while a good way to gauge is through years of experience, a very aged therapist may not be well aware of the problems of the newer generations. So analyse what combination would work best for you.
7. Take an Introductory Session
After you have narrowed down the therapists as per your requirements, call up to seek an appointment. Take an introductory session. Ask them questions about their areas of expertise. Talk to them about your condition and what kind of therapy they would practise. Make sure you are convinced and comfortable with their responses.
8. Feel Free to Change
Remember, a therapy session will show results only if you feel positive and comfortable. Bonding well with your therapist is first and foremost. Unless you feel the emotional connection, inner healing will not happen. So, it’s ok to change if you feel the emotional disconnect.
Things to be Careful of During Your Session
A good mental health therapist will not make false or huge claims. Listed below are the things you need to be careful about when talking to your therapist.
1. No ‘Cure All’ Promise
A therapist, through his knowledge and skill, will help you find the missing links within. So, there is no ‘sure shot or quick remedy’. Therapists who promise to ‘cure all’ are overpromising and therefore must be best avoided.
2. Inappropriate Boundaries
While it is important to bond well with your mental health therapist, the sessions must be comforting and within professional bounds. Meeting outside office hours or at informal places is not recommended.
3. Judgemental and Critical
A good therapist will be a good listener. They’ll not talk too much or too little. They are non-judgemental and do not bring personal opinions into the talking therapy. While they will challenge you to confront truths, comprehend difficult emotions and go within for clear comprehension, their talks and sessions will always feel comforting and supportive.
4. Lacks Confidence
A licensed and certified therapist has substantial knowledge and training. Therefore, there is no reason for him to feel nervous or shy. Also, he should not lack confidence in his approach because unless he guides with conviction, the therapy will not show results.
5. Self Praise
Self-praise is the last thing that a therapist should do. Being pompous about oneself and trying to convince others about their credentials and work methodology is not the right thing to do. This could mean that they are not fully qualified.
Finding a therapist is like half a job done. A good mental health therapist will help you move inwards, seeking answers to your emotions and behaviour. But with so many types of therapies available, understanding your needs remains paramount. A relationship with a therapist must be professional – this means they should be certified and licensed. Furthermore, the relationship must be therapeutic i.e. if you are not getting healed, consider a different person or type of therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Finding a Therapist
Q. What are the benefits of mental health therapy?
Mental health therapy benefits in many ways. It improves self-acceptance and self-esteem, helps overcome traumatic episodes, is an effective pain management tool, and provides relief from depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Q. How much does mental health therapy cost in India?
In India, a good therapist charges around Rs. 700 to Rs. 5,000 per session. This will depend upon your location, the credentials of the therapist, the type of therapy, and the type of set-up that the therapist offers. The frequency of therapy appointments will depend on the client's goals and the severity of the condition.