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How to Choose a Psychotherapist

Sometimes, living our lives becomes unbearable that we actually need somebody’s expertise to help us. These are probably times when only a psychotherapist will do. But how do we know we’ve found the right one?

First and foremost, a psychotherapist should be a person whom you feel totally at ease with. Therapy is not easy, and your psychotherapist is not there for you as a friend. Still, you should look for someone who respects you for everything you are. You have to trust your psychotherapist 100%, and you should never have to consider lying to them at any stage. Otherwise, they’re not helping you.

Very importantly, you should feel that the therapist is actually helping you. If you don’t, then you obviously need to find a new one.

Second, choose a psychotherapist who has been practicing the profession for a considerable time – maybe a minimum of ten years to be safe. And they should have the appropriate state or territory licensing.

For instance, before a psychologist can call and advertise himself as such, he needs to secure a valid license. For clinical social workers, they will often have an “L” before their degree (eg. L.C.S.W.). There are states where clinical social workers are not required to be licensed, or to present licensure in this format.

When in doubt, do some research and try to learn more about the therapist you’re interested in. Professionals will not take offense when asked about their qualifications. If the therapist has a degree, it will be indicated after their name, either by choice or by law.

In any case, pick someone who has a long history of psychotherapy training and experience, and stay away from those who don’t. In certain states, for instance, becoming a Certified Addictions Counselor requires no more than a high school diploma. This sounds pretty impressive, but the training needed to get this title is limited compared to the others.

Psychotherapy is never easy, so if you think it is, that’s a sign that you either need to put more effort into it, or you need to look for a new psychotherapist. Be brave enough to stand up for yourself and keep searching for the right therapist to help you.

As always, referrals are still the best way to find a good professional. Nothing’s better than hearing it straight from those who’ve worked with the psychotherapist you’re considering. If you can’t get personal recommendations, check out online reviews but stick to popular consumer websites for more credible info (marketing websites are usually full of fake and misleading reviews).

Finally, spend time comparing different psychotherapists, instead of considering one at a time. Without comparisons, you can never tell who’s really the best for you.