Perhaps you’re wondering whether therapy is for you and, if so, what kind of psychological therapist you should see?
The problem so many people encounter once they decide to have some kind of private psychological therapy is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of organisations and individuals offering sessions.
If you’re feeling unwell, make an appointment with your GP to discuss your symptoms. It may be the case that your symptoms have an underlying medical or psychiatric cause, in which case you’ll want to discuss treatment options with your doctor. They may recommend a referral within the NHS. They may be happy to help you to find a private counsellor or psychologist if it is appropriate.
Finding a therapist that works for you
In an ideal world, you would have the option to shop around a little. After all, most therapy is essentially two human beings, both complex and unique, sat in a room talking to one another. The chances are, you would work perfectly well with the majority of qualified professionals. But don’t underestimate the value of finding a therapist who works well with you. The quality of work you do together has the potential to be significantly better if you are well matched.
If you leave your first session and feel like it wasn’t what you expected or wasn’t particularly useful, it may simply mean that you haven’t found the right therapist. If that’s how you feel, try someone else! And don’t worry about offending them; they’re trained to deal with these things.
While it might be tempting to choose someone based on things like proximity or cost, the most important factor by far is how comfortable you feel working with them.
If you don’t have a good connection with your therapist, you’re less likely to do good work together.
Finding the right therapist needn’t be daunting
Understandably, deciding on the right therapist can be a daunting process but it needn’t be. Try these three quick tips to help you focus your search and ensure a better chance of finding someone that works well for you.
- Make a shortlist of 3 – 5 therapists that appeal to you. Pick people you feel like you may be able to trust.
- Check the professional registration of each of your shortlist
- Think about what qualities might help you to feel comfortable enough to open up to someone. For example, you might feel more comfortable with someone who is a similar age to you or perhaps has a good understanding of your field.
Be proactive and stick to your plan
When it comes down to it, sometimes the secret is to take the plunge and be proactive. And that doesn’t just apply to choosing the right therapist. Its all too easy to get caught up in the thinking and forget about the doing.
Making changes isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you’re feeling low or stressed but asking for a helping hand could make things a little easier. By creating a shortlist, you’ll know exactly who to try next and won’t feel like you’re starting from the beginning.
If you’re looking for a summary of the various types of therapy commonly available in the UK, this article probably isn’t what you need.
There are already a number of great resources available, summarising the various approaches to psychological therapy. The NHS has good summaries and links to other information too:
It is always a good idea to check your therapist’s professional registration; if in doubt, ask them.