Meet therapist, coach and founder of Fundamental Health Lindsey Paoli, MFT-Intern.
Last week we discussed what therapy looks like and how it can be helpful to go sooner rather than later. Now, if I’ve convinced you to at least consider looking into your options (yay!) I’m going to help you navigate the overwhelm and help you identify what to look for in your ideal therapist, and how to find them in the sea of google searches.
What is a therapeutic alliance?
Types of therapists and the theories they practice vary as much as the buffet options on the Strip. You can very easily get lost in trying to research the best method or technique or even licensure that you feel might be best for you; but since you aren’t a professional and it’s really not your job to have to do that type of investigation, I think it’s more important to know that regardless of the counselor’s background, education (as long as they are properly licensed) and preferred approach, research has shown over and over that nothing indicates higher rates of therapy’s effectiveness more than the therapeutic alliance.
What does therapeutic alliance mean?
The more you like and trust your therapist as just a human being, the more effective your treatment will be.
How do you find a therapist that you can mesh with?
1. First, if any of your friends have a therapist they love, I always suggest asking who they are seeing. Just like when looking for any other service, word of mouth usually is more valuable in the therapy world than high price advertising.
Chances are, if your friend gets along with a therapist, that therapist’s personality could be a good fit for you. Opening up about beginning your own search could be helpful to you, and your friend may have more great tips for what to expect in your first few sessions to ease your nerves! #Deepconnections, win win!
2. If you don’t know anyone who is already seeing someone, and you’re looking to use your insurance, reach out to your Insurance Provider and request a list of covered therapists in your area. From here you can narrow down the list to offices that are closest to you. And then, because personality overrides all other qualifying factors, you’re going to want to speak with the ones you’ve chosen and decide who you vibe the best with.
Tip: Be sure that even if there is a booking option online that you first call to ask a few questions about the therapist’s practice so you can feel them out. You can tell within the first few minutes of speaking with someone if you think they are a good fit for you.
3. Whether you decide to use insurance or not, want to look up your friend’s recommendation, or just check out therapists in your area, my most highly recommended resource to find the right fit is www.psychologytoday.com Under the Find a Therapist option you can search individual providers by city or zip code.
Each therapist’s listing offers a picture, a brief bio, listings of their specialties, and various other ways to learn more about them. If you DO need to filter your results by a specific type of therapy (hypnotherapy, play therapy, or trauma focused therapies for example) you can do so here. I still recommend calling the therapists you feel will be your best fit to make sure that the connection really is there.
I hope this helps remove some of the obstacles and overwhelm of making the big decision to see a therapist for the first time. Remember, that therapy can be preventative and incredibly helpful to navigate daily stressors and bigger ones. It does not mean that you are broken or weak, it means that you are a go-getter who takes charge of challenges as soon as they arise! Have a great week and take care of one another!
Read: Considering Therapy? Here’s Reasons Why It’s Worth Seeking Counsel