The first time I decided to invest in my healing journey, I was quick to choose a therapist based on how kind they sounded and their availability. As a therapist in the field, this experience was crucial in helping me understand the challenges many of my clients experience when choosing a therapist. As it can be imagined, this therapist was not a good match at all. I needed a guide book, one that does not exist, to learn how to find a good therapist.
It is so important to find a therapist you connect and feel comfortable with. Therapy is about exploring uncomfortable subjects and sharing a private part of yourself. Therefore, it is critical to work with someone you are able to open up to.
So this brings us to the question - what are some things to consider when choosing the right therapist for you? The first step towards securing a healthy dynamic is to find a therapist that fosters a healthy connecting with their client. The second step is to understand that there are many therapists with different professional titles such as LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist). Titles tell you what the therapist is licensed to practice, has a master's or doctoral degree, and areas of focus. Therapists are also expected to continue their education annually to keep apprised of new changes in research and therapeutic interventions.
It can get confusing to understand which therapist to trust with your feelings and thoughts. It is encouraged to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with the prospective therapist to ask about their background, learn about their theoretical approach, and get a sense of the connection. Each therapist holds a strong belief in their approach as this lays the groundwork for their foundational practice. The single and most important factor in therapy, is the genuine connection you have with your therapist. These are seven questions to ask yourself throughout the consultation:
Do I feel comfortable and safe in conversation with the therapist?
Is this someone I think I can talk to?
Do I trust them, or can I see myself trusting them in the future?
Does this therapist try to understand me?
What potential biases are rising up for me?
Ask: How does multiculturalism inform your practice? (*This is especially important for people of color to feel understood, heard, and accepted)
Ask: What does therapy look like in the room with you? (*This will give you an idea of the therapist's theoretical approach)
Ultimately, it is important to listen to your gut,that voice deep inside that guides you to the path best suited. Feeling a good connection with a therapist is an important factor that has repeatedly been cited in research as the key to achieving effective and lasting improvements. Schedule your complimentary consultation today to learn more about my therapeutic approach and how I can help you cultivate change today!
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.