Deciding to seek help is often the hardest part of actually beginning therapy. In my last post, I addressed the mistaken stigma of seeking the help of a therapist, and doubts Catholics in particular might have about seeking therapy. Overcoming our own doubts, hesitations and preconceptions is hard enough. After that, finding a therapist should be easy – just open the phone book, call someone and go. Unfortunately, it is rarely that simple. One aspect that often makes choosing a therapist more complicated is the intimacy of the work. Going in, you know you are trusting someone to understand you, even the parts of yourself that you don’t usually share with others. That can involve plenty of doubt and uncertainty. Will the therapist really understand me? Really get what is going on with me? Really be able to help me? For these reasons, those seeking help are often evaluating more than just credentials – they want to know if the therapist as a person is a good fit with them.
Because of my background, I am often asked to suggest a therapist or help in the process of finding one. As often as not, the person who asks me is not the person going to therapy, but is someone who wants information to smooth the process for a friend or relative. Regardless of who is asking, what I describe below is how I would approach the process. There is no “right way” to choose a therapist, so my intent is to provide some information to help you ponder rather than laying out a perfect series of steps. Continue reading »