Empowerment is the ability to feel confident and in control of your life. It’s a quality that can help you tackle challenges, including finding the right therapist.
A few critical steps to finding a therapist who is a good fit for you include:
Find a Therapist You Can Trust
Choosing the best therapist in Miami is an essential first step toward improved mental health, regardless of whether you’re looking for support with relationship problems, trauma recovery, or addressing an underlying issue. When searching for a counselor, it’s important to consider practical matters like licensure, insurance coverage, and location. It’s also helpful to choose a therapist that provides the type of treatment you are most interested in, although many therapists can offer more than one style of therapy.
If you have health insurance, you can use an online therapist directory to find credentialed professionals in your area. You can refine your search by specialty, gender, insurance carrier, etc. You can also ask friends and family for referrals or check with your physician’s office. Many community agencies and professional associations offer counseling services, and they may have directories of therapists by area and specialty.
After you’ve compiled a list of possible therapists, make time for a quick (and frequently free) consultation to meet with them and determine if you click. You can ask questions and choose if you feel comfortable discussing personal issues with them. Many therapists will let you know if they aren’t the right fit and can help you find another professional who might be. If you decide not to continue therapy with a particular therapist, politely canceling future sessions is a good idea.
Ask for Referrals
If you have friends or acquaintances who have experienced mental health challenges, they may be able to refer you to a therapist they trust. They can also offer advice on how to make a good choice, including practical matters such as licensure, insurance coverage, and location.
You can ask for referrals in person or via email. Giving your friend or acquaintance enough time to consider your request is essential. Rushing them can make them feel like you don’t value their input and lower the odds they will recommend.
Another way to find a therapist is to ask for recommendations from family and friends or use online resources that include filters such as insurance coverage, gender, location, and specialization. The important thing is to find a therapist who has the qualifications and expertise to treat your specific mental health challenges.
Remember that just because a therapist made a great impression on a friend does not mean they will be a good fit for you. Your therapist needs to be someone with whom you can build a therapeutic connection. Some therapists offer initial (and often free) consultation sessions to help you get a feel for them and their practice. During these sessions, pay close attention to how you are treated and whether you feel comfortable sharing your challenges with the therapist.
Look for Specialization
As you narrow your list of potential therapists, ask them about their specialization. “This will help you find someone with experience treating your specific issue,” Gottlieb says. “For example, if you have anxiety disorder, look for therapists who specialize in anxiety disorders.”
Nguyen also suggests determining each therapist’s theoretical orientation to see how they would approach your problem. A therapist’s theoretical orientation is their general treatment approach; you can learn about it on their website or call them for a consultation.
Another way to learn more about a therapist is to ask a friend. “If you know someone already in therapy, ask them if they can recommend you,” she says. “Not only will they give you their therapist’s name, but they will tell you what kind of treatment they receive and how it is helping them.”
If your friends can’t help, Nguyen recommends using a search tool to filter by specialty. Using these websites, you can focus on therapists specializing in your problem, narrowing down your alternatives. They will also give you the therapist’s phone number so you can contact them to schedule your first session. Some therapists offer initial (and sometimes free) consultations, a great way to get a feel for them and determine if they’re right for you.
Schedule a Consultation
During the initial mental health consultation, you will meet with the therapist and discuss why you are seeking treatment. Most therapists will offer a free (or reduced rate) consultation before you schedule your first entire therapy session. These sessions allow you to get a feel for the therapist and ensure that they can meet your therapeutic needs. If they cannot do so, they have an ethical duty to refer you to another therapist who may be better suited to your needs.
Having questions prepared will help you to get the most out of your consultation. It is expected to feel nervous or anxious during this call, especially if you are discussing your most sensitive personal information with someone you have never met in person.
You must provide a free phone consultation to your clients if you work as a therapist. This can eliminate the stress of playing phone tag or leaving a message and allows your client to book their first appointment without waiting for your availability. It also lets you educate potential clients about your practice and helps them decide if you are a good fit. Most therapists will have their contact information on their website, but they may be in session or unable to answer the phone during certain hours. If this is the case, many private practices will have customer service or care coordinators available during business hours who can schedule appointments for new clients.