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How to Find a Therapist

Whether you are struggling with feelings of hopelessness, outbursts of anger, or substance use issues, seeking help is one of the first steps towards recovery. 

This guide will help you figure out whether it’s time to seek support for yourself or a loved one and how to overcome the challenge of finding the right therapist. 

Let’s begin!

Close up of a therapist’s clipboard while talking to a patient

Tips on How to Find a Therapist Best Suited for Your Needs

One of the first obstacles that some people face is not knowing how to find the right therapist. Follow the steps here to easily find a professional for specific needs. 

1. Know Your Options 

Though there are various kinds of therapists, the first main fork in the road is choosing whether to look for a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. Both of these professionals can help resolve mental illnesses using different methods.

A psychiatrist who has made a diagnosis can prescribe medications like antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedatives, etc. 

Meanwhile, psychologists make use of psychological treatments and psychotherapy to help individuals safely cope with their mental health conditions. Unlike psychiatrists, they do not prescribe medications. 

Psychotherapy further branches out into five main categories of approach, such as: 

  • Psychodynamic therapy – determines the psychological root of emotional suffering, with an emphasis on self-reflection and self-examination. 
  • Behaviour therapy – determines and treats unhealthy or self-destructive behaviours. 
  • Cognitive therapy – determines and helps change chronic negative thoughts that worsen or aggravate mental health issues. 
  • Humanistic therapy – helps patients become more self-aware and accepting towards themselves with an emphasis on conscious thoughts. 
  • Holistic therapy – focuses on determining and healing the relationship between a person’s body, mind, and spirit.    

When it comes to the different types of therapy available, there is an overwhelming array of choices. Please keep in mind that this step is merely for figuring out preferences and not making solidified decisions. It is absolutely fine to explore various options, as you’ll see in the following steps.  

2. Ask Around or Search Online 

It’s time to begin creating a list of therapists to consider. You can get recommendations from someone you know and trust or you can do some online research. When searching online, try to look for websites that have reviews so that you can get an idea of what the therapist is like. 

3. Organize Key Information 

Finding a good therapist can take time. To ensure that you have a stress-free experience in doing so, remember to organize your information. You can make use of a sheet of paper or an excel sheet. Create a table and arrange information such as the following: 

  • Name of the therapist
  • Area of specialization
  • Years of experience
  • Contact number
  • Address of the clinic
  • Schedule of the clinic
  • Online ratings (if any)
  • Other notes

4. Interview Promising Options

You may get a majority of the above-mentioned information online, or you may need to call up the therapist to get more necessary details. By calling the therapist, you also get a general impression of their personality. You or your loved one may resonate more with certain therapists.

5. Set Expectations 

After you’ve narrowed it down to a chosen therapist, it’s best to set expectations before the first session. 

Some may click immediately with the therapist that they first visit, while others may not. Unpleasant experiences with incompatible therapists may occur. If this happens, don’t give up the search for the right professional who can support you.

6. Assessing Results 

For Yourself:

Keep a journal and jot down your thoughts after therapy. What were your key learnings? How do you feel? Would you look forward to another therapy session? Furthermore, you can observe your own development in the coming weeks after therapy and include this in your journal as well. 

For a Loved One:

After the first therapy session, sit with your loved one and ask them about it. If you see a troubled or discouraged demeanour after each therapy session, that’s typically not a good start. Though healing does sometimes come with a few painful realizations, the goal of therapy is to empower, and not to discourage.

In addition, observe your loved one’s actions. You can also encourage them to keep a journal that will help them monitor their own progress and realizations.  

A tired person suffering from substance use disorder

Effective Individual Counselling & Sobriety Support 

And that wraps up our guide on how to find a therapist that can truly support your needs. Here at Freedom From Addiction, we specialize in providing treatments that help people overcome addiction, maintain sobriety, and change their lives. We are a world-class drug and rehab center situated in Aurora, Ontario that caters to the Greater Toronto Area. 

Throughout our years in the rehabilitation and treatment industry, we have seen first-hand how people with substance issues often struggle to find psychotherapy that is compatible with their needs. This is why we offer specialized individual counselling and various other modalities of support through our mental health and recovery programs. 

If you would like to learn more about what we can do for you or for your loved one, contact us today!

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