Reaching out to find a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist can be one of the most important, and maybe even the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make.
We recognise how challenging it can be to find the right mental health professional. It can, in some ways, be even more intimidating than going on a date with someone you met online.
Just like in dating, some people you “click” with, and some you just don’t. This is normal. But a relationship with a therapist is not like a relationship with a partner or a friend. It’s a very unique relationship that depends upon the reason you came to therapy in the first place, and what you want out of it. You will be sharing parts of yourself you might not even share with your partner or friend. During an interaction so meaningful and vulnerable, you’d only expect to have some kind of connection to build upon.
Did you know: Research shows that a strong relationship between a client and psychologist is one of the most important factors in determining the success of therapy.
This is actually why Radiant was created. We wanted to solve this very problem because we know how challenging and intimidating it can be to find the right person. Our platform offers a filtering criteria to help you find your match.
How do I find the right therapist?
You can start by clicking ‘Find the right help now’. From there, enter in your location or select ‘online only’ if prefer to only see those with availability online. You can then being to select certain criteria that is important to you. For example whether this is for individual counselling, family or couples therapy, the preferred age and/or gender of the professional, the type (counsellor, psychologists, psychotherapist, social worker), available facilities, rebate options, the preferred religion and language options. After you choose what’s relevant to you, you will find a list of people to contact directly on the phone or through email.
What should I look for?
Just like any strong relationships, it’s important to feel comfortable around them. In order to build a foundation of trust and vulnerability, you need to first feel comfortable enough to be honest with them.
The age or gender of your therapist may not be a huge deal for some, but others may consider this to be an important factor in choosing a therapist.
As mentioned before, the best kind of therapy is built upon strong relationships. That, to some, might mean they can only feel comfortable around people of a certain age or gender. Perhaps some people welcome the fresh perspective of a younger therapist, while others prefer older therapists who have more life experience. Some might prefer to see someone who is the same gender as them, or has an understanding of any LGBTQI related issues.
While most therapists are trained in culturally diverse approaches, it might be important for you to be with someone who truly understands your cultural background in a more personal non-textbook way.
This can increase your feelings of trust towards your therapist and ultimately increase the chance of finding value and making genuine life-enhancing changes throughout therapy.
Religious and/or spiritual orientation
This is quite a big factor to many people. Particularly because religious and spiritual issues can be the very issues that prompted you to find treatment.
Perhaps this could be a conflict over religious values, crises of faith, feelings of alienation from one’s religion, or distortion of religious beliefs and practices. Each one of us have an opinion and/or belief around religious and spiritual matters. Finding a therapist who matches with you on this topic can be an immense source of strength or support to the session.
There are so many different types of schools of thought in therapy. If you are new to therapy you might not know what to look for. You also do not have to have an understanding of all the different approaches before commencing therapy.
It can however, be helpful to understand the different types.
Generally speaking, your therapist will draw from five broad categories:
- Psychodynamic therapies
This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering unconscious meanings and motivations.
- Behavioral therapies
This approach focuses on learning’s role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors. It can be particularly useful in dealing with phobias and irrational fears.
- Cognitive therapies
Cognitive therapists believe that dysfunctional thinking leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors. By changing their thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do.
- Humanistic therapies
This approach emphasises people’s capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
- Integrative/Holistic therapies
These therapists don’t tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client’s needs.
Remember: you don’t owe anyone anything
If you aren’t comfortable with the mental health professional you’ve chosen, don’t feel bad about changing. It does take time to find ‘the one’.
The important thing is to keep looking until you feel you find someone that matches with you. This might take a few sessions, but it is so worth it.
It takes a lot of courage to go to therapy so make sure you devote enough time and energy in finding the right one for you. You’ll be so much happier you did.
We’re here to help you on this journey.