The idea of starting therapy can be a daunting one. Therapy is a very personal process and after a client's readiness for change, your therapeutic relationship can be one of the most important factors on whether or not psychotherapy/counseling is successful for you. Choosing a therapist is not like choosing a primary care doctor. It is someone that you will plan on seeing weekly for months and possibly years. So what should you look for when choosing a therapist? Here are some important things to look for when choosing the therapist that is right for you.
1. Initial Interaction- From the initial phone call how does this person make you feel? Do they return your message when they say they will? How do they act on the phone? In person? Is this someone that you can see yourself opening up to? Is this someone you want to spend time with? When you are in their office are they giving you their full attention? Are they engaged?
2. Experience-Has the therapist worked with the issue that you are seeking help for? Have they been successful at helping clients? How can they help you?
3. Cost/Investment- Have you thought about how you will pay for your sessions? Do you need/want to use insurance? Do you know what your mental health benefits are?Do you know what your deductible is? If you are not using insurance have you thought about what therapy might cost? Are you prepared to make an investment in your self?
4. Therapy style- This may be their style of therapy ( e.g., theories they draw upon) but I think that even more important than this, is approach. Are they direct? Are they collaborative? Are the sessions going to be therapist led or client led? What theory or style of approach will work for you and make you most comfortable. Can they provide you with what you need? You may want a therapist that is gentle and client led sessions..but is that what you need?
5. Availability-Is this someone with a full practice and a line outside the door? Will this person be able or willing to respond to you if you are in crisis or have a need to contact your therapist outside the session. Does that matter to you?
Each therapist is very different as is each client and in Madison, WI you have plenty to choose from. I encourage you to contact a few therapists before making a choice on who you want to see on a regular basis. Over and over I have heard clients say that yes they have been to therapy before usually years ago but that their therapist wasn't a match. Please take the time to find someone that is a good fit for you.
For more information on finding the right therapist or for therapy resources in Madison, WI please contact Kull Counseling, LLC.