Mental Health Mondays: Finding the Right Therapist for You

By Minerva Martinez, Therapist, LCSW

Life can bring challenges that are often too difficult to face alone. In many cases, therapy or counseling may help. But how do you go about finding the best therapist for you? One of the most important things to remember when looking for the right mental health professional for you is that you feel comfortable with that person.

You need to find someone that you can trust, as well as make a connection with, since you may be disclosing very personal information as you work on some challenging issues.  Here are a few tips to help you in your decision.

Determine what kind of help you need

For starters, think about what kind of mental health professional you need. Determine if you are looking for a therapist with any specialized license or therapeutic approach, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on challenging or changing unhelpful attitudes, thoughts and behaviors. Target your search to your needs.

Ask around

It is a good idea to get recommendations. Those can come from various sources like your primary care physician. They usually know other medical and mental health professionals. Or look at Legacy Community Health’s website for our list of providers. Also, check with your insurance provider to find a list of therapists in your network.  And, don’t forget to tap into your circle of friends as a resource.  They may be able to give more in-depth personal recommendations based on their own experiences.

Be prepared to keep looking

Once you have booked that first visit, keep in mind that while you are seeking advice you are still “shopping around.” Sometimes the first person you visit may not be the right fit for your mental health needs. It’s okay to move on.

Keeping cost in mind

This list would not be complete without bringing up the issue of cost. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see what if any type of mental health coverage they provide. If you don’t have insurance, look into nonprofits organizations who provide mental health services at more affordable rates. Check first to see what kind of income information you will need to provide.

With a little work, you should be able to find someone who is the right fit. And in the long run, you may discover achieving a greater sense of well-being will be well worth the effort.