How to find a therapist
How to find a therapist
After I wrote my last post on relationships I was confronted more than once that week on the frustrations of finding a therapist (one more thing I can totally relate to!). When I was going through my schooling to become a therapist one of the recommendations you heard over and over again was, “Find your own therapist and work through any issues you may have.” Really?!?! Step into vulnerability myself? Ugh!!
I started my journey of therapist hunting by searching the Internet…”how to find a therapist”. I began to read through the various articles and most of them had the common theme…
- Get a reference from your physician, family member, or friend.
- Consider the qualifications of the therapist.
- Do they accept insurance and what are their fees?
- What theoretical foundation do they practice from?
- How much experience do they have?
How does any of THAT make me want to hand over my heart?
All of those are credible questions to find answers for, but none of them are going to provide peace and comfort to being vulnerable. It is the relationship you have with the therapist that will take you the farthest in achieving your goals. I began my search for the one who would make me feel safe, who I would have a connection with, and who would enter into my world.
It was one of the most frustrating times for me. I had attempted therapy one other time in my adult life when my marriage was struggling and I gave up after one visit. FAILURE resonated with me again as I tried to navigate the opposing end of the therapy world. I continued to push myself outside of my comfort zone and meet with therapist after therapist. Annoyed, exhausted, and just over the whole experience, I was offered an opportunity in a therapy practice for my practicum experience. It was there I would find an amazing therapist who I could let into my most vulnerable places.
What was the difference in this one, you ask? The only logical reasoning I have is the relationship. I connected with her almost immediately. She had this ora about her that exuded empathy and compassion. She entered into my world every time I saw her and not just in the therapy room. I genuinely felt as though she had my best interests at heart and that she was fighting for me.
While all of those suggestions above are a great place to start when looking for a therapist, for me, every single one of those took a back seat. Once I found “the one” it didn’t matter if she accepted insurance or what her fee was. Theoretical foundation? Let’s be honest, who even knows what that means unless you are familiar with the therapy world. Experience? What mattered most to me was her experience with life, not how many therapy sessions she had in her back pocket. After all, it is LIFE experience that enables us to connect to one another.
So, how does any of this help YOU find a therapist? My hope is that it opens your heart to put all the logistics aside that can seem overwhelming and exhausting. Look for someone who you feel will sit with you in your chaos. Ask them why they became a therapist. Are they in it for you or for themselves? I became a therapist because I have been in the depths of despair and loneliness and came out on the other side. I genuinely want to help others experience the joy and hope I have gained through this process called therapy.