• Picking a therapist

    Picking the right therapist for you is an important task. It is the relationship with your therapist that will be the most important ingredient to a successful therapy. But knowing how to find a good fit is not always easy. Here are some tips on how to choose the right therapist for you.

    A common question is ‘does my therapist need to match me on particular demographics?’ (ie. faith, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation). If you are a Black woman and it is important to you to find a therapist who also identifies as a Black woman, then you should search for a therapist that matches those demographics However, it is important to know that it is not essential in order to make therapy effective, or does it guarantee that a particular therapist will be a good match for you. Sometimes the most growth can happen if you meet with a therapist of a different background.

    That being said, even if the therapist does not fit into a particular demographic category, it is important to find someone who will be accepting of your particular faith, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. It is perfectly appropriate to ask your therapist about this in advance to feel them out. For example, if you are part of the kink community, it would be important to ask the therapist if they are familiar with this community or comfortable working with those in this community. A therapist doesn’t need to be an expert, but they do need to be accepting and open minded. You will not be able to open up and trust the therapist if you are feeling judged for who you are or your lifestyle.

    Most therapists these days have websites, blogs or social media accounts. Check out your therapist on these platforms. That will give you a sense of who they are, what their office looks like and if they might be a good fit. Keep in mind that it is unethical for therapists to address any type of reviews posted on the internet, as that would be a violation of privacy. Therefore, therapists cannot address any negative reviews, and so if you come across some of those, keep in mind the therapist has no opportunity to address any inaccuracies.

    Another important piece to discuss in that initial phone call is the cost of therapy, including the frequency you will be expected to attend, and how much time a session will take. Therapy is an investment of time and money and it will be important to know what type of commitment you are making. If you want to use your insurance, make sure to ask the therapist if they accept it. Be aware that the insurance company will need to know some basic information about you in order to cover services, and this includes your mental health diagnosis. If the therapist does not take your insurance, they may be able to provide you with a receipt (called a superbill) that you can submit to your insurance for partial reimbursement if they cover Out of Network providers.

    Other important considerations are when do you need an appointment. Do you need an evening or weekend appointment? Make sure to find someone you can see that will work with your schedule. If you use public transportation, ask if the therapy office is located near a bus or trolley route. If you have mobility or other issues, make sure to ask if the office is on the first floor and if it is accessible to the disabled. Getting a chance to ask the therapist your questions will also give you an opportunity to get a very basic impression of them in how they handle the phone call.

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