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What to Look for in a Therapist

People learning how to choose a therapist

Many people facing mental health concerns, substance abuse, or everyday stress wonder how to choose a therapist. Finding the right provider is an important decision, and knowing where to start is not always easy. Finding the right fit in a provider can be crucial to success if you or a loved one is coping with mental health concerns, such as a substance use disorder. Rest assured that great resources are available to help you in this process.

If you’d like help finding a psychotherapy program that can meet your needs, call NuLife Behavioral Health at 888.568.2057 today. We’re standing by to talk to you on the phone or via online message and would love to help you take the first steps toward better health.

How to Find a Therapist

There are several possible entry points to the process of finding a therapist. Any one of the following can be a great way to get your search started:

  • Call your insurance provider and ask what therapists are in your network – Remember to ask about any specific needs you may have, such as treatment for a particular concern like depression or substance abuse. If you don’t have health insurance, look into your state’s Medicaid or Medicare programs. You can also search for therapists who offer sliding-scale pricing.
  • Do some preliminary research online – There are several accessible databases you can find through a simple search, some broad-range and some location specific. Use tools like these to narrow your search by parameters, including therapeutic method, ZIP code, and accepted insurance.
  • Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or another professional you trust – People on your care team can be fantastic resources for connecting you to additional support.

Once you’ve pared down your list of potential therapists to three to five, reach out to each one. Most therapists will happily perform a brief consult with you by phone or video call to answer your questions and tell you whether the two of you are a good fit.

How to Choose a Psychotherapist After Narrowing Your Options

Finding a therapist with whom you have a good rapport is an easily overlooked but important factor. When you have a consult, consider asking about how the therapist would address one of your main concerns. This will give you a good idea of their treatment methodology and more personal factors like communication style and empathetic response.

Look for a therapist who is qualified to meet your specific needs. For example, if you’re part of an underrepresented community, finding a therapist who either shares your background or specializes in working with that community may be helpful. Similarly, if you’re bringing a particular mental health concern to the table, such as trauma, working with a therapist specifically trained in that area can be beneficial.

Common Therapeutic Approaches

There are many effective treatment styles in psychotherapy, and your therapist will likely draw on a combination of approaches. That said, here are a few well-known and evidence-based schools of thought you may encounter:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This prevalent approach highlights the impact thoughts have on behavior and emotions. In CBT, therapists work with clients to identify and shift their self-defeating thought patterns. This gives the client greater agency, self-worth, and the ability to act in their best interests. CBT is significant in most addiction recovery programs and many mental health treatments.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

An offshoot of CBT, this model also teaches that clients can change their lives by changing their cognitions. It adds to this an emphasis on mindfulness. The practice entails returning to the present moment when the mind wanders to the past or future. DBT can be a highly effective treatment for anxiety and depression, as well as addiction.

Experiential Therapy

This modality allows clients to engage in expressive activities like art, role-playing, and guided imagery to re-experience challenging past situations. Revisiting such scenarios in the contained context of therapy provides a second chance at identifying and processing content that may have been overwhelming at the time.

Somatic Therapy

Somatic disciplines teach that the body and mind are intimately connected. Particularly effective in working with trauma, somatic therapy employs movement and physical self-awareness techniques to help clients process and express difficult experiences and move toward healing and personal power.

Learn More About Finding a Qualified Therapist in Massachusetts at NuLife Behavioral Health

The qualified NuLife Behavioral Health team is ready to help you search for effective and accessible mental health services. Contact NuLife Behavioral Health today at 888.568.2057 or reach out online to start the conversation with one of our caring team members about finding a therapist to meet your specific needs.