What Kind of Therapist – and Which Type of Therapy – Is Right for You?

Searching for a therapist? You’re not alone. Millions of people see at least one every year, experts say, and countless studies show that therapy – which teaches patients strategies and tools to manage and resolve unhealthy behaviors and thoughts – is effective for treating all kind of problems one person might have (depression, anxiety and other psychological issues).

Therapy can be administered by a range of mental health professionals: psychologists, who are specially trained in the study of mind and human behaviors; counselors, who provide talk therapy but don’t diagnose conditions or provide medication; and psychiatrists, who are physicians that prescribe medication like antidepressants but are also be qualified to give counsel.

However, finding the right therapist is difficult – and perhaps an even bigger challenge is trying to decide which type of therapy you should receive. There are countless therapists, not to mention myriad schools of thought in psychology. All too often, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options.

 

Finding a Therapist

Before deciding which type of therapy you want or which therapist you want to see, it’s important to know why you want to go to one in the first place.

What do you want to have changed, or what do you want to come to accept about your life?

Once you’ve identified the underlying reason you’re seeking treatment, it’s time to get specific about which type of therapy will work best for you.  Once you’ve pinpointed your motivations and needs, it’s time to start searching for a therapist.

After you’ve narrowed your choices to a professionals scope out several before making a final decision. You should “feel” them out via phone or an initial consultation to see whether their personality and skills match with your needs. It’s also important to ensure that the therapist is licensed. Age, gender and availability might also be factors, as well as special sensitivity toward issues such as sexuality and lifestyle orientation. Bottom line? If the professional isn’t quite the right fit for you, don’t settle.

Choosing a Therapy Type 

Individuals must decide not only which therapist they want to see, but also which kind of therapy they wish to receive. Many patients, however, often have no idea what to expect from their first therapy session. People tend to think of Sigmund Freud, a leather couch and a long session of psychoanalysis when they first conjure up images of therapy. But modern therapy doesn’t resemble its early roots.

Therapy sessions can be delivered in more than one way. While therapy is often one-on-one, therapists can meet with couples, groups and families. Group therapy, for instance, makes sense if you want to be surrounded by like-minded, empathetic individuals experiencing similar struggles. It can also help clients to understand how others view their actions or behaviors. And couples and family therapy can help facilitate communication between family systems that are dealing with disruptive problems, relationship issues or emotional barriers. Treatment can last for a few therapy sessions, or for a six months to a year, or longer.

You should choose a therapist based first and foremost on how good he or she is – no matter which types of therapy they’re trained in. Therapy is essentially a particular kind of relationship between two people. One of them has certain knowledge and skills, but it boils down to how well the two people click and how good the therapist is in applying whatever techniques he or she has.

So, call us, and find out if we can “click”.

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