Choosing a therapist for an outpatient program can be stressful, especially if you’re going through a difficult time in your life. While many factors can go into this decision, the most important thing to keep in mind is that ultimately, you should feel comfortable and confident that your therapist is going to be able to help you.
1. Qualifications and Licensing
The different types of licenses that a therapist might have can be a bit overwhelming, but in general, therapists are considered Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and will have a master’s degree in psychology. Psychologists are licensed to practice in a clinical setting, as well as provide individual therapy. Psychiatrists, however, may not always be trained in therapy practices, but have the ability to prescribe medication.
2. How Your Therapist Makes You Feel
Once you’ve decided which type of counselor may be right for you, it can be best to begin your search online. Then, create a shortlist of a few who seemed to stand out to you, for whatever reason. Call them and pay attention to how they make you feel. Are you comfortable? Do they make you feel optimistic about your recovery?
3. Know Your Personal Preferences
If you know that you’re personally more comfortable speaking with women rather than men, narrowing your search by gender could be a useful tool. Again, the entire process needs to feel safe and secure for success, so understanding your own preferences and expectations can be a good place to start.
4. Great Communication and Motivational Skills
It’s important that your therapist is able to clearly communicate goals with you, as well as effectively listen to your symptoms and then communicate them back to you. You’ll also want to take note of how well they motivate you to continue through the process.