How to Choose a Therapist

If you are in need of a good therapist, you can’t simply head online and find the first and closest therapist to you. You need to do plenty of research first to consider what type of therapist is likely going to be the best solution for your needs.

Not All Therapists Are the Same

One of the misconceptions that many people have when it comes to finding a therapist is that they believe all of the therapists and therapy options are essentially the same. It is important to note that even though they may all be able to provide therapy the disciplines can differ substantially from one to the other. Consider what type of issues you are having and then choose the appropriate type of therapist.

For example, an LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. This could be a good solution for those who are having issues in their marriage or with raising their children. LMFT’s use a family systems approach to address the issues clients bring into the therapy office.  An LPC, or Licensed Professional Counselor, can provide mental health and substance abuse care. They can work with individuals and families but has been trained to look at the client’s issue on an individual level. An LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who may specialize in substance abuse, mental health issues, marriage counseling, family therapy, children’s therapy, medical social work, and more. What makes LCSW’s so unique is their strength-based approach to therapy.  LCSW’s incorporate a holistic approach that considers societal and environmental factors that can have an impact on a person’s well-being.  Psychologists and Psychiatrists can provide therapy, as well.  Psychologists and Psychiatrists both must have an additional level of education and training but offer different specialties for clients.

All the preceding disciplines provide therapy, but they all do so in slightly different ways.

In addition, consider the modality, or the theoretical orientation when you are choosing a therapist. There are many different methods involved with therapy, and you want to find one that works well for you.  Some of the different theories include psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and eclecticism therapy.

In addition to the types of therapies available, you will also want to consider other important factors when it comes to choosing a therapist.


When you are trying to make an appointment to see a therapist, whether it is for an initial visit to determine whether you will continue seeing them, or you have been a client for a while, they need to be responsive. If you call to ask them a question, whether it’s about your session or the type of therapy they can provide, you do not want to wait days for your response. You want a therapist’s office to get back to you as soon as possible.

If they are not responsive when you are first trying to get in touch with them to learn about what they can offer, it’s unlikely they will improve after you have become a client. Those who have already been working with a therapist and who then find that the office is no longer responsive will want to find a new therapist who can meet their needs.

Openness and Communication

You also want to choose a therapist who is willing to answer your questions about the way they conduct their sessions, and how they feel they can help you. Finding the right therapist is one of the most important things you can do, and if the therapist you are considering is not open and honest about how they work and what they can offer, it’s generally not going to be someone you want to help you with your problems.

In addition, there is often quite a bit of jargon when it comes to therapy, and most people who are not therapists do not know what it all means. You want to work with a therapist who can explain everything to you in layman’s terms and help you understand it.

Always take your time when you are trying to find any type of medical help, including a therapist. The time that you put in now to finding a great therapist will help to ensure you are happy with your decision for a long time.