How to choose the best therapist for YOU

By Rebecca Bauer, MBACP Prenatal and Fertility Counsellor at Seasgair Counselling

Have you considered how to choose the right therapist for you? Maybe you thought the only choice was between NHS mental health services or local private therapists. Well, you have a lot more choice than you think!

Here are my top 10 tips for choosing the best therapist for YOU!

1 – Check their qualifications!

What qualifications do they have? I’m not just talking about formal qualifications from college or university. What EXTRA training have they completed? All therapists should be carrying out CPD (continuous professional development) regularly, it’s a requirement of most governing bodies and keeps our knowledge up to date. This is especially important if you are exploring working with someone around a specific issue like infertility.

2 – Do they have a niche? And does it fit your presenting issue?

Are you wanting to work with a therapist who specialises in perinatal or fertility mental health issues? Or are you happy to work with someone who practices more generally? If you want to work with a therapist who does specialise in infertility – seek them out, they are out there!

3 – Do they offer an initial appointment?

Initial appointments are SO important! They are the first meeting between a client and therapist, and it is your time to basically interview them! As are the time to tell a therapist what you are needing help with, what you want from them, and to ask how they work. It is the perfect space to start figuring out if you like the therapist, whether you want to work with them, and how they could help you!

4 – Do they work online or in-person?

How do you want to see your therapist? Are you looking for someone you can see in-person or is online what you want? One thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that online working has become more accessible. Most therapists now offer online slots, so you really do have a much wider pool of potential therapists to work with if you are happy to have your sessions via Zoom or similar.

5 – What modality of therapy do they offer? And does it matter?

Whether you’ve accessed therapy before or not, you’ll probably have heard of CBT or Person-Centred Therapy – but did you know there are many more modalities i.e., ‘types’ of therapy? Some prefer one over the other so it’s good to figure out what you like best.

6 – Can you financially afford them?

There is no point in considering a therapist if you can’t afford their rates. Unfortunately, private practice therapists need to charge, this is our livelihood, and we have business expenses, personal bills to pay, and a life to live just like everyone else. If you find a therapist who you would really like to work with, check if they offer a concession rate, some of us DO but this isn’t always guaranteed and are usually on a first come, first served basis. So, when looking for a therapist, have a solid number or range in mind of what you can realistically afford.

7 – Do they work with any insurance providers?

Are you seeking therapy through private health insurance instead of paying out of pocket? If so, does the therapist you are considering have a working relationship with your insurance provider? Not all therapists are able to accept health insurance clients so it’s important to check this out.

8 – Are they registered with a governing body such as BACP, NCS, UKCP, BPS, or HCPC?

Most therapists will be registered with a registration/governing body. These are the organisations whose codes of ethics we adhere too and who any clients who experience unethical and/or unlawful practices can complain too. Some are voluntary, some are compulsory- this all depends on the profession.

9 – Does the therapist receive regular formal supervision?

Does the therapist receive regular supervision for both their professional and personal growth? This is incredibly important point, no mental health support should take place if the person giving it does not receive regular professional supervision, not even formal peer support. Supervision allows therapists to explore any difficulties they are having in sessions, or any professional (and personal) worries. Supervision is integral to making sure that a therapist practices ethically and SAFELY!

10 – Does the therapist meet any other important factors you have identified?

What would help you feel more comfortable with a therapist?

Are you looking for someone who is black? Someone who shares the same culture as you? Religion? A woman? A man? A member of the LGBTQ+ community? What personal qualities are important to YOU?!

This list is not exhaustive, but these are some good starting points to consider.

If you would like to talk to Rebecca, click here. You can also follow Rebecca on instagram – @seasgaircounselling

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