Don't Settle - Here's How To Find A Therapist That Will Actually Fit Your Needs

Therapy is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Even those who don't suffer from trauma or mental illness can benefit from therapy because having someone who's not a part of your daily life, and can see things from a different perspective, is extremely beneficial.


"We have no hidden agenda or biased desires; we just want the best for you," child and adolescent fellow in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry Dr. Chase T. M. Anderson tells Self. "We often do not give advice or explain what to do; rather, we help to summarize, repeat, or string together some of the things you are sharing with us."

As great as it is to want to better manage your mental health, it can be tricky finding a therapist that meets your needs. There are many forms of therapies, from cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic to dialectical behavior, and researching them thoroughly is paramount for finding the right fit for you (via PsychCentral).

Know it's going to be trial and error

Once you've decided on the type of therapy you want to try, it's time to find a therapist. Although there are lots of online directories, sometimes the best place to start your search is by asking for a reference from your medical doctor or someone you know who's already in therapy (via American Psychological Association).


After you find someone you'd like to meet with, schedule a consultation. When you arrive for that initial intake, don't show up empty-handed. You want to have questions prepared so you can get a better idea of how they handle sessions, as well as their personality. According to The Well, a few helpful questions are: How long have you been in this field? What approach do you think will be most beneficial for me? How soon should I start feeling better and seeing things clearer? How would you recommend I prepare for each session and how often should we meet?

During the consultation, you really want to pay attention to how you and the therapist get along. If they're not a match, for whatever reason, thank them for their time and make a consultation with someone else. Definitely don't expect your search for a therapist to be quick. While you may get lucky on the first try, it is typically a trial-and-error process.


Look for chemistry with your therapist

Whether it's a friend, a coworker, a date, or even a family member you only see once a year during holidays, chemistry is always important. So, naturally, the same can be said for the chemistry between therapist and patient, according to The New York Times. If you don't feel at ease or feel like you can't be 100% honest, it may be time to move on and continue your search. When it comes to finding a therapist, you can't settle. Putting in the work to find the right person for you will allow you to get the most out of each session.


If you're fortunate enough to hit it off with more than one therapist, some ways to narrow your options down are to consider which one has the most accommodating schedule and, depending on your financial situation, which one will be the most affordable. Choosing the right therapist may end up being a longer-than-you'd-like search, but the right therapist for you is out there (via Choosing Therapy). When you find them, you'll be so grateful you made the effort and took the time to find that ideal match. Once you have your first session, things can only go up from there.