In order to get the full benefits of therapy, you have to put your mental health in the right person’s hands. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy and the professional that works well for someone else might not work as well for you. There are important considerations to keep in mind through every step of the therapy process.
Before the Consultation
If you’re new to the world of psychotherapy, you’ll probably start by asking friends for referrals, discuss a referral with your physician, or search online. When researching possible candidates, you want to make sure they have the tools to solve your issues. At the very minimum, a therapist’s website should include information about their education, certifications, and specializations. There are different kinds of mental health accreditations, and a counselor’s certifications will be different than, say, a psychiatrist who prescribes medication. The specific credentials you should look for include: a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who has a master’s degree in counseling, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), or a licensed clinical psychologist who has a PhD or PsyD in psychology. Therapists typically specialize in specific areas, like substance abuse, trauma, family therapy, couples counseling, or even career issues. These areas should be listed on the therapist’s website.