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How to Find a Good Psychotherapist

Aastha Dogra Apr 21, 2019
What questions to ask a psychotherapist to ensure that he is the right one for your treatment? What makes a good psychotherapist? Read on to find the answers...
A psychotherapist is one person with whom you will be sharing your most intimate thoughts during a session. So, choosing a professional you are comfortable with, is of utmost importance. If you are someone who is searching for a good psychotherapist, the given tips on how to go about the whole process, will further help you in making the right choice.

Take Reference from Someone Trustful

Ask amongst your friends, family and colleagues whether someone was seeing a psychotherapist. If you find someone, ask them how their experience was. If they were satisfied with the results of the therapy and the professional really helped them in resolving their issues, you can call him up, talk and see how you find him.
Do not, however, blindly go by any person's reference. See whether you know the person and trust them enough to believe in their recommendations. Also, speak to the psychotherapist yourself and try to form your own opinion of them, before going ahead with the treatment.

Make a Phone Call

Take phone numbers of around four-five psychotherapists and call them up. If there's an answering machine on the other end, leave a message. Ideally, your call should be returned within a day. But if it's not, it is an indication that the said person is not professional enough. So, steer clear of such a person and try calling up and interviewing the rest.

Interview the Psychotherapist

The next step entails taking his small interview over the phone. When you are speaking to a psychotherapist, the first thing that he will ask is the issue that you are facing. Here, simply gauge how interested does the therapist sound. Whether he seems genuinely interested and listens patiently to you or is simply in a hurry to make an appointment.
Sometimes, a psychotherapist might not be qualified to handle the issues that you face, if this is the case, you can always ask him to refer you to someone else. Here are some of the things that you should certainly ask the psychotherapist before making your first appointment with him.
  • Whether the psychotherapist is accepting new clients or not? How much you will have to wait for the first appointment? If it's more than a week, see whether you can afford to wait that much or you need immediate treatment.
  • The academic qualifications, license and degree of the therapist. What kind of cases has he handled in the past, his number of years of experience in the field. This should give you an idea as to whether he will be able to handle your case or no.
  • The length and duration of the sessions. How often the sessions will be scheduled. What will be the psychotherapist salary range and fees for a session. Will your insurance be accepted by him, etc.
  • Understanding about the psychotherapist's opinions and views on life. This will give you an idea on the kind of person he is.
So, ask questions about his marital status, religion, cross question why he is not married or why he follows a particular religion. If you get some genuine and honest replies, it shows that the psychotherapist will answer your doubts with the same clarity during the therapy sessions too. If he acts defensive, rethink whether to opt for his services or no.

Go for the First Session

Your first session is like a trial, so go with an open mind. See whether the psychotherapist gives you due attention and whether he listens to you with empathy. A good rapport with the psychotherapist is a must if the therapy has to succeed. So, do you feel that you could share your thoughts and feelings comfortably with the psychotherapist? 
Did you at any point felt uncomfortable with the therapist? When you conveyed your discomfort, did he change his style for you? Did the therapist become defensive or criticized you at any point? Answer all these questions. Give them a deep thought and only if you are truly convinced, go ahead with him, otherwise, change the psychotherapist right away.
A good psychotherapist is the one who has the required experience and education to treat your problem. Besides this, he should be professional, reliable and treat you with respect, dignity and empathy. It would be unrealistic on your part to think that a therapist can help you overcome your issues within a couple of sessions.
It might take you months, before you can see positive results. By being on time for the sessions, by being honest about your feelings and perceptions with the therapist, by working on your "issues" as suggested by the therapist and through self-reflection, besides by having a good psychotherapist by your side, will help you resolve your issues effectively.