How To Find The
By Cody Mitts, Therapist in Denver, Colorado
Important Things To Know About Therapy and Counseling
If you’re considering finding a therapist to help with some difficulty in your life, let me start by saying congratulations! It’s a big step to acknowledge that you need some help, and there’s a lot of caring and helpful therapists out there who can help you.
As a therapist in Denver I often talk with with people about how to find the right therapist.
It can feel like an overwhelming task to start looking for a counselor, and it’s common to feel some anxiety about getting started. Here’s some important and practical things to know about finding the right therapist for you.
Shop Around For a Therapist
The first piece of advice I give to people looking for a therapist is to shop around. If you’re in a smaller town your options might be more limited, but if you live in a city it’s likely there are hundreds if not thousands of therapists in your area.
Every therapist is going to be unique. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to therapy. It’s helpful to learn about your therapist to see if it’s going to be a good fit.
Don’t be afraid to make some calls and ask potential counselors some questions. Some helpful questions to ask include:
- Do you specialize in any type of counseling?
- What type of training or experience do you have?
- Do you provide individual counseling, couples counseling, adolescent counseling, etc.?
- Where is your office located?
- How much do you charge? Do you accept insurance?
Learn What Your Counselor Is Good At
Counselor’s are human so they’re not going to be good at everything. Get to know what type of counseling your therapist provides.
You can ask if they specialize in any type of therapy such as couples counseling, adolescent counseling, or EMDR therapy, etc.
It’s important to know if they can help you with your particular concern. To get a good idea you can ask about any training or experience they have with your particular problem.
A good therapist will be honest with you about their specialties and strengths as a counselor. When you’re first getting started follow your gut instincts about who you like.
Meet Your Therapist Before Starting Counseling
Effective therapy will depend on the quality of your relationship with your therapist. Once you’ve found some people you’re interested in talking with ask if they provide any type of consultation or initial meeting.
Many counselors will offer a free 15 – 20 minute phone interview. At my Denver counseling practice I offer a free 30 minute appointment to meet with new clients.
I believe the most important factor in good therapy is having a good relationship with your counselor.
Take advantage of any opportunity to meet your therapist and ask them your initial questions.
Most counselors are looking for their ideal clients as well. If there’s a good working relationship it’s much more likely you’ll be successful and that your therapist can give you the help you want.
Practical Considerations When Choosing A Therapist
Don’t forget about the practical things that will affect your success in therapy. When considering the practical parts of counseling you’ll need to decide what’s most important to you and where you’re willing to compromise.
You’ll probably want to know where your therapist’s office is located. If their office is located across town try to be realistic about traveling. If you hate traffic and will have a long commute you may not show up for your appointments consistently.
Consider what you can afford for therapy. When people are paying for counseling out of their own pocket I always encourage them to consider what they can comfortably afford to pay each month. When you’re doing your shopping find out how much a therapist charges.
If you like your therapist you may be willing to travel a longer distance or pay a higher fee.
Ask People For A Referral
The best way to find a good counselor is asking people who they recommend.
Ask trusted family or friends if they know any good counselors. You might be surprised by the number of people in your life who have worked with a therapist.
You can also ask your doctor, primary care physician, chiropractor, and anyone else that provides wellness services. Often times they know someone and are happy to refer you to people they trust.
Find A Therapist You Feel Comfortable With
Even though I’ve already said it, it’s worth restating that the most important part of good therapy is having a good relationship with your therapist.
You’re going to be talking with this person on a regular basis so it’s important that you feel comfortable with them.
Every therapist will have a different personality and approach to counseling. Make sure you feel like you can trust your therapist and feel comfortable sitting in a room with them.