It can be a daunting decision to seek therapy. When you finally do, you discover it’s not easy to find the right person to help you. In therapy, one size does NOT fit all. So it’s important to find a therapist who suits your needs and fits with your personality. Someone with whom you feel totally comfortable. Someone you trust.

How To Find The Right Therapist Nancy'S Counseling Corner

Get referrals from friends and family. Just like any other person you hire, a therapist who comes highly recommended from people you know and trust is a good place to start. That said, your best friend’s therapist may not be right for you—after all, you are different individuals with different issues.

Determine what type of therapist you need. There are many types of therapists and some may be more helpful than others. Some specialize in couples therapy. Others in family therapy. You may need help from a cognitive therapist, who can help you examine the way you think. Or perhaps a behavioral therapist, who will help you find the solutions you seek. Many therapists have specialties, and some will suit you better than others.

Do research online. If you don’t have a referral source, you may ask your own doctor. Or find a clinic director who can evaluate your situation and make a recommendation. Once you have a few names, look them up online. Read about their philosophies and how they work with patients. Subscribe to their blogs to get an idea of how they think. See what impression their photos make on you. Although it’s hard to tell from a website, you will want a therapist who is nonjudgmental, understanding, empathetic, accepting and encouraging.

Ask important questions. Once you’ve narrowed the field somewhat through online research, it’s time to make some calls. You might feel reluctant to pick up the phone, but the therapist will want you to make a good choice, too. So do due diligence. Ask about her specialty and be suspicious if she specializes in everything. Ask about her education. You want to hear she’s been to an accredited school and not an online scam outfit. What’s her experience? Has she worked with people with your issues? What’s her training? How and when can you expect feedback during therapy? Is she licensed to practice? What’s her fee and can you use your insurance?

Check credentials. Take notes when you’re talking and then follow up online. There’s no room for any discrepancies.

Pay attention to your gut. Chemistry is important. You need to feel you can trust your therapist. You need to feel you will be safe with her, and that you can express yourself honestly. You need to understand that you may be in for some probing into emotions you’ve kept submerged, and that may make you feel vulnerable and raw. Choose a therapist who will help you do the hard work and help you come out to a healing journey.

Repeat if necessary. If, after your research, you make a choice that feels wrong, then stop. Without a feeling of rapport, therapy will be difficult and you should try another therapist. Sometimes you just don’t connect, even with a therapist who has the best credentials. If she’s worth her salt, she will want you to move on to find the right fit for you.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: