How To FInd The Best Fit Therapist

How To Find A Therapist That’s Right For You

Research has consistently shown that people who have a good connection with their mental health therapist get the most out of therapy. Unsurprisingly a strong, trusting relationship typically leads to better outcomes. If you’re new to therapy, the number of mental health professionals can be overwhelming and confusing. How does one choose the “best” therapist for them? If you are starting the search for support for yourself or a loved one, use these tips to make the search successful.

1.  Understand what you are looking for & what you need. 

Some people have a strong preference for in-person appointments. Others see a benefit to virtual sessions, where they can be in the comfort of their own home or car during a break at work. (Elevate Counseling offers both, by the way!). You may also be interested in a specific type of therapy, based on a recommendation from a doctor or friend. If you’ve heard that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy have been effective for others with your struggles, you can look for a therapist with certifications or specialized training in those treatment approaches. Many of these therapies have components that overlap. Therapists often use a blend, depending on their client’s needs, preferences, and underlying issues (ie: anxiety, depression, trauma, grief). Pro Tip: most therapists will include areas of expertise and therapeutic intervention styles on their websites or bio pages.


2. Think about your goals ahead of time. 

When you meet with a therapist, they will ask you what you hope to gain from therapy. Therapists call this our “Treatment Plan.” It’s like the roadmap for the therapeutic journey. Goals often include things like “better coping skills for managing stress,” “feeling less depressed or anxious,” or “understanding the impact of past events on how I’m functioning today.” Before meeting with your therapist, spend time thinking about what you want to accomplish and what you need help with. Share this with your therapist and ensure that you are both following the same “map.”

3.  Check out the newsletter and bio page.

If a counselor or practice has a weekly newsletter or blog, get added to it or read it!  You may find useful information regarding some coping strategies that you can begin putting into practice.  Elevate Counseling often publishes articles with tips and tricks to help people manage anxiety, relationships, teen issues, and parenting. This also provides a better understanding of the counselor’s specialties, and what they believe and value as it pertains to a person’s mental health. 

4.  Refer to local resources or an online database. 

If you’re part of a specific community, they may be aware of resources. College students often have access to a university counseling center. Many companies offer a workplace wellness or employee assistance program. Faith-based treatment through a church, synagogue, mosque, or other worship center may be accessible. For school-aged children, teachers, and guidance counselors often have a list of mental health therapists that they are familiar with.

If you feel overwhelmed or are having difficulty identifying a therapist through local referrals, searching online can help you find resources for a specific mental health issue. Psychology Today has a robust database of therapists which can be filtered by location, specialty, and even insurance providers.

5. FInal Note: Access emergency support if you need it.

If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis that cannot wait, please seek immediate medical attention. Arizona has a robust behavioral health crisis services network available to any Arizona resident regardless of health insurance coverage.  Crisis text and phone lines are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by trained crisis specialists. In the metro Phoenix area, you can reach out to EMPACT, an agency that provides on-location crisis screenings (EMPACT CRISIS LINE 480-784-1500), or dial 988 for the National Crisis Hotline.

My hope for you is that by using these tips, you will find a well-matched therapist who helps to make your therapeutic experience healing and enlightening (and possibly in moments dare I say, enjoyable).

Jamie Dana

Jamie Dana

Jamie Dana, MC, LPC, helps teens and adults overcome mental roadblocks and achieve their goals to live an elevated life. Specialties include research-based interventions to address stress and anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, eating issues and struggles of the gifted and high-achieving population. For more information about her techniques, services and additional resources to help you succeed, check her out at www.elevatecounselingaz.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. You can also Contact her to schedule an initial appointment today