by Jennifer Mudarrie, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
With the rise of need during the lockdown, a large wave of new resources and telehealth counselor provided fewer boundaries for those seeking help. Coming to therapy is now a common conversation topic and has become much more normalized in our culture. However, normalizing mental health does not take away from the challenge of finding the right “fit” for you. Once you get past insurance and schedules it can still be hard to know if you found the best counselor for you. You may wonder, is this person equipped with the ability to help me? How will I know if I am picking the right person?
Below are some tips to consider as you start the process of finding the right therapist for you. Our feelings and mental health are delicate enough, so I aim to help you feel more comfortable working through this very individual process.
What makes a good fit?
First, remind yourself that connection is important! This relationship is the most important part of therapy.
Second, your therapist WANTS to help you; therapy is a two-way street. You have hired this person to help you but you must be there doing the work to benefit.
Third, the therapist must have your interest and your needs in mind. They should ask thoughtful questions and focus on you. If they are absent, seem distracted, or disinterested, they’re not the right person for you, and it’s okay to say so.
Questions to ask a prospective counselor
Asking questions is a good way to ease into a relationship while learning more about your counselor and setting expectations. In your first appointment, your therapist will ask you questions but will also allow time for your questions, comments, or concerns. They want you to know exactly what the process entails.
Not sure what to ask? Here are a few to help you get started:
- What is your style of therapy?
- What does your treatment process look like and how long?
- What kinds of skills or tools do you like to use?
- Do you have experience in a particular area?
- Can you work on the issues I have brought up?
Coming to therapy is a rewarding experience you can give yourself to reach higher goals, feel more supported, and get some answers or treatment for challenges you have been struggling with. It’s important that you feel you can be open with your provider and most of all know you are not alone. Every therapist has been through their own clinical training and personally lived experience making them all just as unique as you are. So you decide who feels best to you.
About Jennifer Mudarrie, LICSW: Jennifer is a psychotherapist with nearly two decades of experience in the mental health field. She provides individual and family counseling, movement-based healing, and clinical supervision and facilitates various workshops in the community with other multi-disciplinary professional providers.