WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN
CHOOSING A THERAPIST
The following are suggestions to help you find the right therapy
support for your individual needs. Please feel free to call MIYFS clinical
supervisor, Gayle Erickson, at 206-275-7611 for any further questions.
- Distance. Will you find yourself becoming
discouraged in keeping regular appointments if the therapist’s location
requires too much effort to reach?
- Comfort level. Will you be more comfortable with a
male or female therapist? Do you want someone who has a similar
background to your own? Feeling comfortable with your therapist is
critical to the success of your work together. It’s okay to keep looking
if you do not feel comfortable with your therapist in the first
- Training/experience. Your therapist will present
you with a disclosure statement at your first visit outlining his or her
training and experience. Discuss what issues you are seeking support in
and ask if your therapist feels competent in working with these concerns.
- Treatment styles/methods. Ask what to expect in
your sessions together. Discuss what length or number of sessions your
therapist might suggest for treatment.
- Cost. It is appropriate to discuss fees, insurance
coverage, and co-pays at your first session. Ask if there are reduced
fees or a sliding scale.
- Medication. Do you want a therapist who works with
a psychiatrist for medication evaluation and support needs?
TO FIND A THERAPIST WHO MEETS YOUR NEEDS
- Ask a trusted family member or friend for a referral.
- Talk with your doctor and clergy about the issues you are
experiencing and ask for a referral.
- Talk with your child’s school counselor to find a referral
if dealing with parenting or family issues.
- Check with your insurance company for a directory of
therapists authorized for coverage in your area.
- If your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP),
contact their office to learn of coverage offered in your area.
- Talk with your local family services office or community
mental health center.
- Check the phonebook for local listings of therapists
(often listed under “counselors”).
- Search on the internet for listings of local therapists
with “Washington” or the name of your city “therapist directory” or
“therapist associations” or “therapist organizations.”
- Select two or more therapists to contact by phone. You
will most likely reach a confidential voice mail. Leave good times for
them to call you back.
- Questions you might ask in your first session could
- Have you worked with other clients with issues similar to
mine? What treatment did you use?
- How long will it take before I see things in my life
changing for the better?
- What are your skills, your training and your experience?
- After the initial session, consider how you felt interacting
with the therapist and if you want to see them again.
- Don’t give up! Finding the support you need may seem
challenging at first, but you are worth it!