How to Choose a Therapist

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re looking for a new therapist (education, credentials, location, and schedule, for starters).  The most important factor in choosing a therapist doesn't show up well on paper (or a computer screen), though - it is simply your gut instinct. It can be tricky sometimes to distinguish our instincts from our anxiety or fears, but it's worth it as your instincts are such a powerful guide. They will let you know when you aren't safe or when your therapist isn't a good fit. They will let you know when the therapist is pushing her own point of view rather than truly listening to your experience, or when he is viewing you with judgment rather than compassion.

As you learn to distinguish your instincts from your worries, you might find that sometimes you fear judgment, shaming, anger, etc from the therapist but then find that these feelings are coming from within. Other times, you may realize that your instincts are sounding a warning bell that you are not working with the right person.


This process can seem even more daunting if you’ve had a negative experience in therapy before.  Whenever I hear from people about these sorts of negative experiences in previous therapy, I'm sorry for this roadblock along their way to finding the right help. Depending on your experience, you might want assistance in processing something that was quite painful or left lasting scars.

For many people, these experiences can also be turned around to be a great source of wisdom, teaching you about what you don't want from a therapist, what doesn't help, and how to stand up for yourself with confidence when something feels "off." The best therapeutic relationships are ones where you feel free and safe to tell the therapist if you feel uncomfortable or hurt and to ask questions when you're unsure what the therapist is doing or why. If your concerns aren't addressed, then it's time to think about moving on and empowering yourself to choose a better fit for you.

I tell everyone at their first appointment that there are as many kinds of therapists as there are people who are therapists, and if you aren't feeling like this is the right fit after our first meeting or two, I'm happy to help you find someone else who's a better match. I never take this personally, as no one therapist can be the right fit for every client. In fact, exercising your own inner wisdom to pick the right therapist for yourself could be a wonderful act of empowerment and healing for you and I'm happy to support you in that, whether I am that therapist or not.