First things first.
It’s important to feel comfortable with the therapist you are working with. I suggest asking yourself a few questions as you consider a therapist:
Do you want to work with someone younger, older, or in a similar life stage?
Do you want a male or female therapist?
Do you prefer to work with a Christian or other faith-background therapist?
Do you prefer to meet virtually or in-person? If in-person, is there a specific part of town?
Does the counselor specialize or work with topics you are interested in discussing?
How do I find a good therapist?
This is such a common question! I typically recommend asking your network to start with; you might be surprised to find that your community knows of counselors in your area. Another great option if you are looking for someone with a similar faith background is to ask your church, mosque, temple, etc. for their recommendations.
If none of these provide options or you prefer to look yourself, I suggest googling a few keywords of what you are looking for and what type of counselor. Often you will find yourself led to Psychology Today, which is a platform that therapists can join to showcase their biographies. Another great search platform is The Right Counselor.
With any of these options, I suggest reviewing the biographies and websites of a few therapists you find to see if you initially feel a connection. Then, reach out via email or phone to find out more. If a therapist you are interested in working with is not accepting new clients, it is typically really common for them to provide you with a few additional names of people they recommend.
It may take a few sessions to feel comfortable; but, no matter what, the goal is to feel comfortable sharing and connecting with the therapist.
What to expect in the first session?
The first counseling session - often called an intake - can feel like an interview. The counselor typically reviews paperwork, asks you general life questions, and spends more time understanding the reasons you are seeking therapy. If you meet with someone for a few sessions and realize they might not be the best fit, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for recommendations. Most counselors would be happy to assist you in providing recommendations of a counselor that would be a better fit.
It’s okay to feel nervous, excited, or any number of emotions when you meet with a therapist! Let’s be real - it can feel awkward to meet a total stranger and open up about yourself or your life. Typically, you have thought long and hard before deciding to reach out to a counselor.
You are brave and loving yourself well when you reach out to a counselor.
Our therapists at Steady Hope believe that you know yourself best and that you have ideas of what could be beneficial in your therapeutic experience. It is not uncommon for our team to ask you what you are looking for, what you hope to discuss, and if you are open to trying different methods of therapy.