Finding the right therapist for you or for your relationship partner or child can be complicated. There are a lot of variables to consider, including the therapist’s training, experience and focus areas, office location, fees, and availability. Once you get through those considerations, you also need to check out the level of “fit” or comfort you feel with him or her.
Choosing a Therapist
Take some time to research your therapy provider options. You will be investing time and money in the relationship, as well as sharing some of your deepest feelings, beliefs, concerns and hopes with him or her. Sensing that you can develop a high level of trust in this person is essential to success in therapy.
Your therapist’s level of skill definitely affects how successful the work you do together will be. Be sure that you find the most competent therapist available to you; one who works in a therapy modality that speaks to you. I have described the various therapeutic approaches that I have certification in here. See if they speak to you. Having a college level or master’s level degree is not enough, in my opinion. You deserve to work with someone who is passionate about his or her professional learning and development, and is constantly leveraging the latest research in neurobiology and brain science, to help you achieve your goals.
In my practice, I screen not only for trauma-related issues but also for physical and medical causes of the mental and emotional symptoms that are commonly classified as “psychological”. Through research, we are learning that chronic infections such as Lyme disease, Epstein Barr and many other infections or brain injuries can create symptoms of mental imbalance. Sometimes therapy simply isn’t the right approach or is only one piece of the solution. When appropriate, I am committed to referring people to medical providers who can address their issues more directly.
Where to Find a Therapist
There are a variety of ways to obtain therapist referrals. While you might prefer the privacy of online therapist directories and web searches, the reality is that the Four Corners area doesn’t have a well-developed online review system yet. It’s probably more effective to get referrals from friends or a physician. Many of my clients come to me through friends, family members, physicians, or my ad in Psychology Today. Don’t be afraid to ask people you trust for referrals. They probably know you pretty well and can make educated suggestions.
Exploring the Level of “Fit”
Almost everyone feels anxious about seeking out and meeting a therapist for the first time. It’s a bit like be “under the microscope” and it’s normal to feel self-conscious. Your therapist should be skilled in helping to ease your discomfort by communicating a high level of acceptance and understanding. Despite the awkwardness inherent in the situation, your initial connection with him or her should feel reasonably comfortable and easy. You should feel that, over time, as more trust develops, you could feel safe enough to share and explore more vulnerable feelings and parts of yourself. In addition, your questions and concerns should be respectfully answered. The therapist should spend a lot of time listening to you in a non-judgmental and highly attentive manner. They should assure you of the full confidentiality of all the content that you share with them.
The best way to choose a therapist is by meeting or talking over the phone with them to determine if the therapist’s style of working feels like a good fit for you. Remember, what’s a good fit for someone else may be very different than what’s good for you. Respect your preferences. Don’t hesitate to talk to several therapists in your search for a good fit. (It is may be less confusing if you contact one therapist at a time and evaluate how working with that therapist feels to you.) If the fit doesn’t feel right or you aren’t sure, try another therapist.
When to Seek Therapy
It’s much easier to address issues while they are in their early or middle stages than when a crisis has developed. This increases your chances of finding the right therapist. Waiting a week to see a busy therapist or evaluating multiple therapists may not feel like great options when you are in the midst of a lot of stress and challenge. That said, you should still pursue therapy if you are in the middle of a crisis!
Signs and symptoms that suggest therapy could be helpful include:
- A sense of feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your life
- The loss of a job, relationship or diminishing physical health
- Loss of motivation and enjoyment of life
Location, Meeting Time & Fees
In general, I serve clients in the Four Corners area including Durango, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and Farmington. Some of my clients continue to work with me over Skype if they re-locate to other parts of the country. My office is conveniently located at 1911 North Main, Suite 256 in Durango. Given that it can be difficult predict how long you might want to stay in therapy, find a therapist in a location that is as convenient as possible, who can offer you meeting times and a fee that you can manage in an ongoing way.
Getting Started with a Free Phone Consultation
Please call me for a free initial phone consultation so we can assess your situation and determine whether it makes sense for us to meet for an introductory session. There are no forms or paperwork to fill out and confidentiality is always upheld.