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How to Choose a Therapist

Originally Posted Monday, September 6, 2010

You can find the name of many mental health counselors by using the internet, phone book, or through referrals from pastors, friends or family members. Although the precise definition of a counselor and a therapist differs, the terms are often used interchangeably in the mental health field. You may want to first think about and decide if you would be more comfortable counseling with a man or a woman.

Begin the process with a phone call. You need to be comfortable with the person with whom you will be counseling, so feel free to ask any questions that will help you with this. Some questions you may want to ask are:

• What is your approach or theoretical stance for therapy?
• What does the process look like?
• How long is each session?
• How often will I need to see you?
• If applicable: If I come in by myself, can I later include my spouse or family?
• How much do you charge for a session?
• Do you accept insurance? What type of payment do you accept?
• What is your availability?
• If my spiritual faith is important to me, will I be able to make this part of our discussion?

If you interview more than one therapist, choose the one with whom you feel the most comfortable based on their answers and how you were treated on the phone. You are entitled to respect from your therapist.

After the first session, ask yourself questions like “Did I feel heard and understood?”; “Did the therapist seem competent?” and “Am I comfortable with the goals and plan for treatment that were discussed? Sometimes the answers to these questions will be unclear until you meet with the counselor two or three times. Your counseling is for you, and you should feel safe and comfortable for the process to work well. If it does not feel like a good match for you, be honest with yourself and the therapist. You can ask the therapist for a referral.

We would be happy to answer any of your questions about this process or about the counseling services we provide. We have both male and female therapists, and we offer a variety of specialties and “types” of counseling (i.e. groups, marriage, individual, family, pre-marital, etc). Please call (317) 846-2444. We are here to help.

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