“How are you doing?” Two years ago, that was an easy question. Most of us could honestly answer with a quick positive answer and then reciprocate. Today? That’s a loaded question. Today it’s a trigger. Some days, sure we are ok. Some days, we’re holding it together. But other days are not so great.
The past couple of years has seen a steady increase in searches for self-care, investments in one’s mental health, and more and more people actively seeking therapy than ever before. Collectively, whether willingly or not, we’ve all become more self-aware and more cognizant of how we feel about deep, meaningful topics. Simply put, the past two years have been heavy.
3 Most Common Types of People Seeking Therapy
With the constant rise in the demand for mental health treatment and with so many people seeking therapy for the first time, we thought it would be good to talk about a few of the best ways to choose a therapist. There are typically three different kinds of people seeking therapy:
- Those who have done their research and know exactly what they want, what treatment modality, what kind of therapist, etc.
- The first-time patient who has never been to therapy before and isn’t sure about details
- Someone who has had a bad experience in therapy, but is willing to try again
Therapy At Claibourne Counseling
Each example above will seek different aspects in the right therapist. Here at Claibourne Counseling, we’ve worked hard to build a team of well-rounded therapists with different backgrounds, experiences, credentials, and personalities so that whichever of the three categories you fall into, we can match you with the right fit. We’re also optimistic that even if you don’t fall into any of those three examples, finding the right therapist is still possible.
You’ll never be locked into a particular counselor. Before any appointment is scheduled, we make sure that the therapist that you’re tentatively matched with holds a consultation call with you just to see if you mesh well together. This relationship-building exercise is so important for the success of your treatment. Something else that sets Claibourne apart is that, because we are a practice with multiple therapists, if it turns out that you don’t click well with the first therapist you try, we have a team of others waiting to help you.
What to Look for in a Therapist
No matter the practice you choose, there are a few things to consider when choosing a therapist:
- Gender preference
- BIPOC preference
- LGBTQIA+ preference
- Religious preference
- Cultural background
- Parenting skills
- Sense of humor
- In-person or telehealth availability
- Experience/Certifications (certain modalities require certifications to practice)
- Modality preference (some therapists are more experienced with a certain modality than others – like EMDR, CBT, or trauma-focused)
- Insurance vs. private practice (we’ll talk about this more in a bit)
- Your own intuition (enough cannot be said for your own intuition!)
Is There a Connection Between You and the Therapist?
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There will always be personal preferences that each person has that can’t be found on a list. Perhaps the most important being the least definable, do you like them? Do you click well with the particular therapist? Do you feel that connection? This is something that only you will be able to determine. But it will be key to your success in your mental health journey and therapy treatment. If your therapist is not a good match, the likelihood of you feeling comfortable and opening up are slim.
At the beginning of the relationship, your therapist will discuss your goals with you. Once your goals are established, you’ll determine how to achieve them together. This is very much a team effort. As with any other group project, enjoying the company of your partner makes for a much more successful outcome. This is commonly referred to as the therapeutic alliance. It’s not just a good idea that you get along, it’s backed by years of study and research that it is essential for your treatment.
What to Do If Your Therapist is Not a Good Fit
Whether you’re here at Claibourne or not, your therapist’s job is to help you. The reason they got into this field is to help people. When we seek help for our mental health, it can be easy to get wrapped up in our own emotions and trauma. That’s ok. It is why you’re here, after all. Just remember, your counselor is a person too and no one is perfect. People sometimes just aren’t a good fit. It does not mean anything is wrong with you or with them. If you feel comfortable, talk to them about it. Even if it feels awkward for you, this is a conversation that most therapists have often. They will be more than happy to help you find a new therapist. If you’re not comfortable talking to them about it, talk to the admin or receptionist in the office. Here at Claibourne, our Director of Operations, Chas, is this person. He’s a great matchmaker for clients and therapists. No one will ever judge you or question why you would prefer to find a different therapist. Your comfort and healing is the top priority.
Practical Considerations for Choosing a Therapist
Outside of your mental health and other personal preferences for a therapist, some of the more practical things to consider when looking for a therapist are location, availability, and insurance. Most therapists today offer telehealth appointments. This is definitely a nice service to offer in our post-COVID world. With so many still stuck at home because they’re high risk, having the option of someone to talk to can be a lifesaver. That said, many people feel a better sense of connection when meeting in-person, so that can definitely be a factor as not all therapists are currently offering in-office appointments. As far as availability goes, because the demand for counseling has increased so much over the past 2 years, many counselors have extended hours into the evening or weekends to accommodate. It’s also never a bad idea to ask to be added to the cancellation list. Then, there’s insurance. Let’s talk about that.
Therapy – Insurance vs. Private Pay
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions any therapy practice will get, “do you take insurance?” Employers are often praised when they offer benefits packages that include mental health. Here’s the thing, insurance has guidelines and regulations that they must follow when it comes to mental health. This can be restrictive. It’s not to say insurance for mental health is a bad thing. It’s not. No mental health care vs. mental health care is obviously a no-brainer. But, if you have the option, private pay offers far more freedom in care. Private pay will give you more options for treatment and access to other types of treatment, whereas insurance often only allows for one modality.
Whether this is your first time seeking therapy, you’ve been before and had a bad experience or, you know exactly what you want, therapy can help. Hopefully, you feel a bit more equipped with knowing what to look for in a therapist. If you still have questions, please reach out. We are happy to answer any questions you have. If we can’t help you, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can. When it comes to helping people with their mental health, there is no judgment or competition. It’s only collaboration. The mental health community, especially here in Scottsdale, is a family. We’ve built a network of professionals in several fields who can help, no matter what your experience or need is.
Sending you light and love,
Claire & The Claibourne Team
~ You are worthy. You are capable. You are enough! ~