Have You Found The “Right” Therapist Yet?


finding the right therapist


You are under stress. You are struggling. Is it anxiety or depression?

Find a therapist.

This is a wise idea. It takes strength to know you have a problem. It takes courage to seek help.

It’s just that finding The Right Therapist is not a quick or easy mission.


Finding Good Therapy

(Please note: This post is not about urgent cases. If you are suicidal, or not coping, contact The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (Canada) to find a list of its local crisis centres. In the U.S., call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Or, call 911 – immediately.

For those of you looking for a therapist for less urgent reasons, please note: good therapy can transform your life. However there is no sugarcoating when it comes to finding it:

  • Access to therapy, and the type of therapy available, may be dependent upon where you live, where you work, and the type of health coverage available to you.
  • Waiting times for certain types of counselling (or, to see therapists with particularly excellent reputations) can be very long, no matter the urgency.
  • Choosing a therapist. Depending on services where you live, you might be assigned a therapist, not one of your own choosing.

And finding the ‘right” therapist? Can be the trickiest part of all.


What Is The “Right” Therapist?

Having stumbled through the jungle of good (and very bad) therapy options for quite some time, I have developed my own criteria, and it is basic. But it is hard to find:

The Right Therapist:

  • Is someone with whom you have a comfortable, relaxed rapport.


  • Understands and has knowledge about your issues.


  • Is willing to go the extra mile to find answers for you.


  • Is flexible, and not obsessed with his/her own therapy agenda.


  • Doesn’t undermine you.


  • Listens well. Looks you in the eye when you speak (and isn’t eyeing the clock every 3 minutes.)


  • Understands (and works with) your shortcomings and strengths.


  • Remembers details of your previous sessions so that you don’t have to repeat yourself.


  • Has a sense of humour.


  • Has an office with a friendly, calm ambiance, and comfy furniture for people of all sizes and shapes. (This is important.)


Finding Mr., Ms., Or Mrs. Right

There are diverse personalities you will encounter in the therapy world. And, diverse approaches to therapy. There are therapists who are hostile and antagonistic. Who talk too much about themselves. Who push therapy-related products or services you haven’t asked for. Who offer ludicrous advice. Who are bored, impatient. Rude. Or who push therapy methods not at all in keeping with your issues.

And then there are “wonderful” therapists. Yes, there are.

It takes two people – client and therapist – with chemistry, clicking just so, working with integrity and honesty, to make therapy work.


Maximizing Chances For Therapy Success

Therapists are not ‘one size fits all.’

Therapists are not mind readers.

So, before you book a single appointment:

Ask Questions – about the therapist’s background, services, specialty areas. (If the therapist is irritated by these questions, that’s a red flag. You are have a right to know what are paying for.)


Know What You Need From A Therapist. A good listener? Tough Love? Advice on a specific area that you are struggling with? A specific type of therapy?


Determine Rapport. Ask if a (free) ‘meet and greet’ can be arranged at his/her office so that compatibility can be determined ahead of time.


Payment Plans. Ask about sliding (flexible) scales for payment (which can make visits much more affordable) as in: ask if rates are negotiable.


Cancellation and Other Policies. Know the therapist’s rules. Will you be billed automatically (for example) should you develop stomach flu the morning of a scheduled appointment? Are you expected to maintain a set schedule of appointments and not miss any, for any reason? (I was once scolded by a particularly hostile therapist for having to cancel future appointments. Why? I needed unexpected surgery.) Some therapists are surprisingly unreasonable. Others are compassionate and flexible.



Therapy Is A Big Deal

Therapy is a bonding experience that you share with another human being. It’s a relationship where you will be sharing the most intimate, personal aspects of your life.

It can be a big deal finding a therapist.

It is a big deal finding the right therapist.

It is possible to find the right therapist.

I finally found Mr. Right, recently. You will too.




This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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