Our therapists at Vertava Health are sensitive to individual needs. They are trained to provide compassionate, evidence-based care that gives you the best chance at improving your mental health.
The therapist you choose can make all the difference in your mental health. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Many factors determine whether a therapist is a good fit for you.
Most therapists offer a free phone consultation or even a short in-person meeting before you commit to seeing them for treatment. You can tell a lot from this first impression, especially if you know what to look for.
Does The Therapist Have Experience With Your Situation?
Some therapists don’t specialize but offer to treat a variety of mental health issues. This means they don’t always have experience with your situation.
If you’re struggling with something specific, such as bipolar disorder or addiction, choose a therapist who has experience in these areas. They’ll be able to offer more insight and understand your needs better.
What Type Of Education And Certification Does The Therapist Have?
A therapist’s education, certification, and licensure can tell you how qualified they are in their field. A reputable therapist will have a master’s degree, at least.
A common certification for therapists is the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
This generally indicates that a therapist has completed 3,000 hours of practice and 100 hours of supervised counseling outside of their schooling. They must also pass an exam in mental health counseling or their area of specialization.
Licensure, such as Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), is issued by the state in which a therapist practices. Like certification, it indicates a high level of education, experience, and a time of supervision.
A therapist should be licensed to practice in their state even if they are nationally certified.
Does The Therapist Use Evidence-Based Treatment Methods?
Evidence-based treatment methods are ways of treating mental health issues that have been proven effective by research. Reputable therapists use these methods to give you the best chance of recovery.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and exposure therapy are evidence-based practices commonly used in mental healthcare.
A therapist that offers several types of therapy may be able to help you more than someone who only uses one or two. They’re more likely to provide the type of care you need to heal, and they can personalize your treatment by combining different therapies.
Does The Therapist Have Good Interpersonal Skills?
When a therapist has good interpersonal skills, you’ll be able to communicate better and feel that they understand you. Rather than a cold, clinical approach, a good therapist should express empathy and treat you like an individual.
Listening skills are vital in a therapist. It’s not only important that your therapist is a good listener; it also matters that they listen the way you need them to.
Some people prefer a lot of feedback from a therapist and find it unhelpful if the therapist listens silently. Others would rather be listened to so they can work through things on their own without interruption.
Consider which method works best for you and take that into account when choosing a therapist.
Boundaries are also something to look for in a therapist, though you may have to meet with them a few times first. Do they respect you and treat you ethically? Or are they overly personal, inviting you to spend time with them outside of therapy or showing sexual interest in you?
While a personal connection is important, it’s a conflict of interest if your therapist is also a best friend or lover.
Do You Feel A Personal Connection With The Therapist?
You’ll be sharing intimate details of your life with your therapist. If you don’t have a personal connection with them, you’re less likely to open up enough for them to help you.
The consultation may be enough for you to tell if you’re comfortable with a therapist or not. Some people need to warm up to each other, so you may want to give it a few sessions before you decide.
Personalized care has been proven to be more effective than standardized care. A personal connection will make it easier for you and the therapist to work together on your treatment plan.
A good therapist should pay attention to your treatment progress and adjust therapy as needed. They should also have a positive outlook on your chance of recovery.
Is The Therapist Culturally Sensitive?
Cultural sensitivity is a crucial aspect of mental health treatment that is often overlooked. If a therapist doesn’t support your beliefs or take them into account when offering advice, they may not be helpful at all.
Many people have experienced discrimination in therapy because of a lack of cultural sensitivity. Minority groups, such as African Americans and LGBTQ individuals, have a higher risk of discrimination and lack of access to quality mental healthcare.
Mental health affects every area of a person’s life, so their cultural values should be respected in an effective treatment program.
Does The Therapist Offer Payment Options That Work For You?
Mental health care is covered to some degree under most insurance plans. Checking with your insurance company is the best way to determine which services are covered.
When it comes to choosing a specific therapist, those who are considered in-network are covered more extensively by insurance than those who are out-of-network. An in-network therapist may be less expensive, but not necessarily—it depends on how high their fees are.
If you don’t have insurance or your out-of-pocket responsibility isn’t affordable, find out if the therapist you’re considering offers payment options. This may include a sliding fee scale (based on income) or a payment plan that gives you more time to pay your bill.
The type of therapist you choose can also affect how much they charge. A psychiatrist is often more expensive than a counselor, who may be just as helpful. If you’re seeking someone to talk to and hope to avoid medication, it may make more sense for you to see a counselor.
Finding The Right Therapist For Your Needs
You can find answers to some of these questions by visiting a therapist’s website. Others you can get a feel for during your consultation.
If you choose a therapist and feel uncomfortable after a few sessions, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere. Staying with someone who isn’t a good fit can be damaging to your mental health.
For information about our therapists at Vertava Health and our personalized treatment programs, speak with a mental health specialist today.