The path to self-understanding begins with finding the right therapist. This can seem quite daunting, especially to those who have never before tried therapy. So how do you go about finding the right therapist for you? The good news is it’s not as complicated as it may seem.
*Scroll down to the last paragraph if you want to cut to the chase and read about the most important part of finding the right therapist…*
If you’re in a situation where you are self-referring (finding a therapist on your own without a referral from a doctor or other health care professional), chances are you’ll do a search on the internet. There are on-line directories specifically for people seeking therapists, such as Psychology Today and Theravive. No matter how you find potential therapists, you’ll be looking for several important things:
Location– It’s best to find a therapist in a location that is easily accessible to you. This can be a location near your office or home. Seeing a therapist that is too far out of the way can feel like too much of a hassle, which can lead you to dropping-out of the process- especially when the going gets tough.
Issues– Are you seeking a therapist for depression? Anxiety? Is their religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or age important to you? You can choose advanced search options to narrow down your choices.
Cost– It’s unfortunate but for many, cost is a big factor. Keep in mind that therapy is an investment in your health, relationships and the quality of your life- and you are worth it. Many therapists offer a sliding scale or offer other arrangements if cost is a concern. At The Arterie, we try to make therapy accessible to as many people as possible. Ask about costs during your consultation and let us know if you have any concerns so we can try and help.
Credentials- Mental health practitioners require the appropriate credentials to provide treatment to the public. In Ontario, the College of Registered Psychotherapists (CRPO) protects the public by regulating the practice of psychotherapy. It is very important that your therapist has the proper training and that they belong (or be in the process of belonging) to a professional, regulatory body. All of our therapists are fully registered (RP) or are in the process of becoming registered with the CRPO (RP- qualifying).
Treatment Orientation– This can be the most confusing part. You’ll see lots of terms like psychodynamic,
humanistic, CBT, for example. Many therapists have training in multiple forms of therapy, much like us at The Arterie. Research has shown that a therapist’s specific treatment approach is NOT the most important factor in having a good outcome.
So, what is important when looking for a therapist?
**The most important thing is the relationship you have with your therapist. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the #1 factor for achieving positive results in therapy. What does that mean exactly? Well, the main thing you’re looking for is someone with whom you feel comfortable and safe. You’ll be seeing this person often and sharing intimate details of your life so it’s important that you feel your therapist is someone you’re comfortable opening up to. The only way to find that out is to meet with them in person. Some therapists will offer consultations either by phone or in-person free of charge, while others may charge a fee. If after meeting your therapist you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, you can let them know. You have every right to seek out someone else if you don’t feel you’re therapist is a good match for you.
You can contact us here to request a consultation in the city nearest you. Our therapists work in Toronto, Burlington, Mississauga, and online.