There are all kinds of people in the helping profession. When shopping around we might see a lot of letters after a person's name. what do all these letters mean? Are they important? These include social workers, PHD psychologists or counselors with a master's degree. All of them are focused in different ways in order to help and many specialize in helping people with particular issues. It can be hard to know what some of the differences are between them and whether one specialty is better than another one.
You can spend a lot of time looking at profiles on psychology today and feel overwhelmed by trying to understand what the differences are. Whichever type of person that you choose you may have to call a few people in order to get a sense of who is going to be a good fit for you. Sometimes it is good to get a recommendation from someone that you know in order to help find someone. It is a good idea to meet with a couple of people on your list in order to have some options and many therapists offer consultations at reduced rates where you can spend some time together to see if it would be a good fit.
Whoever you decide on what seems to be the most important is someone to help you is that they understand what your specific issues are and that they have the skills to walk you through them to the other side. When you first meet with somebody try to decide weather you feel that this person understands your issue and that you feel like you can trust them. This is as equally important as what type of training they received, or what kind of model of therapy that they use. it has been shown that most models of therapy do not have much of a difference statistically in their ability to help you. Whether somebody is a CBT therapist, uses the psychodynamic approach or focuses on emotions is important that they use the tools that work for you and not just one that you heard about on the news.
When you meet with them try to get a feel of their personality and see if you feel that it will mesh with you. People have a wide range of personalities. For example some people are more analytical and other are more artistic and intuitive. Do you like someone who is funny at times and can get to the heart of the matter? Or, maybe you prefer someone that challenges you more. The personal qualities of the the therapist can make a difference in your growth.
Connecting with them is important as you want someone you can trust with your deepest issues and that relationship could last from several weeks to years depending on the situation. You should definitely tune in and see how you feel when you talk with them. It should feel easy for you to open up to them and they seem to have a good sense of boundaries that will be helpful to you.
A good therapist should have personal qualities such as being able to be objective as well as empathetic. You should feel that they have some strength in themselves to call you out in a skillful way when they see that you are hesitating to see how awesome that you are. We all have times when we don’t feel like moving forward in our lives and the person that you choose should be able to recognize this and have the skill to move you forward. Sometime people need space to express their issues and other times they may need some cheerleading or a firm push in the right direction. Sometimes you need to learn skills that help you relax. If they are not going to be strong enough to move you forward then what would be the point of therapy?
The person that you choose should also be professional at all times. The should have the skills to help you and be well versed in them. They should be trained well in the type of therapies that they use with you and be able to explain to you how it works. In my own practice I try to take a holistic approaches incorporate different strategies such as mindfulness based, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Trauma Informed Care, as well as different somatic approaches in order to work with your whole being in order to help you to grow. I work hard to study and search out tools that I feel will be the most helpful for my clients.
A therapist should see your level of willingness to change as well and encourage you. Your level of wanting to make lasting changes in your life is the best determinant if you will or not. You should feel like they see the entirety of your life and not just the parts that you are struggling with. We are all complex and have many different aspects any one that you choose should be willing to understand your strengths in order to help you.