7 Important Things to Look for in a Therapist ...


If for whatever reason you find yourself in need of therapy, please keep in mind some important things to look for in a therapist. First, it’s okay if you need therapy! Many of us can reach a point and time where talking to our moms is just not helping us progress into adulthood and handle our issues. Plus, sometimes, it’s good to have someone to talk to who isn’t your family, or even your friend. Why? Well, it is good to get perspective from someone from the outside like a therapist. They give you unprecedented, unbiased opinions that can help you, because they don’t know you enough to make judgments, influence you based on your relationship with them, or upset you the way friends and family can. They keep things impersonal, which is a good thing! So, if you find yourself needing someone to talk to, or just need someone to help you sort through some things, keep in mind these important things to look for in a therapist.

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One of the first things to look for in a therapist is their credentials. Don’t ever go see someone, confide all your business to them, and especially pay them money, if you don’t know where they went to school, where they got their license to practice, and have checked with the Better Business Bureau to investigate them. It is also never a bad idea to verify with what school they say they got their license from, just to be sure you’re not exposing yourself to fraud.Also, make sure they have updated their yearly licenses and that they have a good reputation.



While all therapists aren’t cheap, some are better than others. Be sure you find one that means you won’t have to rely on ramen noodles to eat every night just so you can pay our therapy bill. Be realistic and find a therapist that fits your budget, even if it’s not the one all your more flush friends are talking about.



Be sure to find a therapist that’s convenient for you to see. The more convenient their location to you, the more likely you’ll be able to see them on a regular basis and get good results.



You should be as compatible as possible with your therapist. You’re going to be confiding in them a lot, and depending on them. Be sure you like them, can easily talk with them, and that you have a good feeling about them, even if it’s hard to open up at first.


Complete Stranger

It is always best to see a therapist that doesn’t know someone you know. Why? It can cause personal issues when someone you know also knows them. Therapists are human, and though it is their job to separate you from everyone else as if they don’t know you, it is humanly impossible for anyone to fully do that.Or, even if they are pretty good about doing so, knowing that they know someone that you do may prevent you from opening up enough to the point you need to in order to get the right help. It is best to pick a complete stranger. They will be able to do their job more accurately with you than someone who knows you or knows someone you know.


Challenges You

A good therapist will challenge you. They may make you mad at first, or you may be hesitant to do what they ask you to, but a good therapist who can really help you, will challenge you. They won’t just pat you on the back and tell you to come back in a week. They’ll give you tips and challenges for what to change in your life to better you and your situation. Don’t take the easy way out and get someone who’s just going to tell you what you want to hear. That’s not helping you in the long run, and it’s a waste of money when you can watch “feel good” teachers on TV do the same thing.



Within a month of seeing a therapist, one of the first things to look for is to see if you’re making any progress. Even if you like your therapist, are you progressing with them? I loved one of my counselors during my eating disorder recovery, but I wasn’t progressing with her. Something just wasn’t working. It was the hardest thing I ever did to choose to quit going and go a different route, but it was only then I was able to progress and heal. Sometimes, no matter how much you like a therapist, they may not helping you get to the point where you want or need to be, and that’s okay. Look for one that can, and don’t stop until you do.

Therapists aren’t necessary to the everyday person for their entire life, but for some people, myself included, there can come a time, when we need some third-party help to give us a hand in clearing some issues up in our lives. If you’ve ever seen a counselor or a therapist, what do you look for?

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Hi Heather, I love your writing and the topics you choose, so please don\'t stop! Just FYI, degrees come from schools and therapists\' licenses are obtained through state boards, like the BBS (Board of Behavioral Sciences) for LMFTs, LPCCs and LCSWs. I just graduated from an MFT program and I\'m not yet a therapist, but I appreciate that you\'re helping to lessen the stigma against therapy. Your openness is admirable and your posts are both educational and inspirational. Thanks for all of the free therapy. :) - Crystal

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