Finding the right psychologist
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
A beginner's guide to finding the right therapist
Okay, so you've worked up the courage to face life's issues. Check. Now it's time to find a psychologist.
But surely any psychologist will work, right?
Actually, finding the right psychologist for you is important. You want to have a psychologist who you can connect with, someone you feel truly understands you, and most importantly, someone you can trust with your innermost thoughts and feelings. It can basically be compared to dating; for some they might find it easy and connect straight away, whereas others might struggle to find someone they trust.
Research shows that the #1 determining factor in whether or not a client gets better from therapy is based on how strong their relationship is with their therapist. So, here's some tips to keep in mind when you are trying to find the right psychologist for you.
Start with your GP
Your GP knows you and your history. They will also have knowledge about the different local psychologists, and have their own recommendations for you based on your needs. GP's liaise with psychologists closely throughout treatment, through regular progress letters. This gives your GP unique insight into a psychologists skills and treatment outcomes.
Do your own research
Some GP's recommend multiple psychologists, and point you in multiple directions. If this is the case, it's time for some online research. Firstly, you want to make sure you're seeing a psychologist who has some experience in what you are going through. You would not go see an ophthalmologist when you need an oncologist, so why treat therapy differently? I recommend sending an enquiry or giving them a phone call and asking them about whether they think you would be a good fit, or if not, perhaps they have their own recommendations for who you should contact.
Consider the gender of the therapist. If you think you would be more comfortable with a female or a male, let your GP know. At the end of the day, you need to be completely at ease in discussing sensitive areas of your life.
Ditch an insensitive therapist
This might seem obvious, but if you feel that your therapist is being insensitive to your beliefs, cultural practices, or who just challenges you without recognizing and building on your strengths, then it's time for a change.
Go with your gut, it's not personal
Ok, so you've had a session or two, and you are just "not feeling it". Like any relationship between two people, sometimes it simply is not a good fit. No one psychologist will be good for everyone. Everyone is different, everyone has different needs, and ways they like to be supported. Some therapy styles will not work for you, and that is completely okay. Try not to get discouraged, because this is normal.
In the end, it is important you find a psychologist you can connect with, so do not hesitate to raising this with your therapist and asking if they could refer you to someone they think will fit better with you. Never feel bad about changing therapists; trust me, we are looking out for you too, and want to make sure you are in the best position for your needs (even if that means sending you to someone else). Again, it is not personal, and your psychologist should never take it that way.