Finding a therapist can be daunting and overwhelming. Filtering through information on agencies and service providers can be confusing and discouraging. With that said, finding a good personality fit is extremely important. Here are some simple guidelines to navigate you through the process.
- Credentials/ Experience – When looking for a therapist, finding someone who holds a master’s or doctorate degree in a mental health is ideal. This title can include counselor, social worker, psychologist, and many more. The list of possible credentials is too long to list. Any professional licensure can be verified on the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ website (colorado.gov/dora). As a consumer you can find an individual’s license number and any discipline actions taken against the individual. It is important to note that in Colorado a person can be a “registered psychotherapist” without a degree in mental health. Without a degree there is no way of knowing if they have been trained. We recommend that the counselor you decide to see has training and is “licensed” not just “registered” with the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Other measures of training/experience can be verified through the specific agency associated with the field. For instance, the EMDR International Association and the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance are two associations where the consumer can find board certified EMDR or biofeedback providers in your area.
- Rapport – Equally important is how comfortable you feel with your therapist. Credentials are important; however, all research shows that the ability to trust and open up to your therapist is imperative. It is important for the therapist to maintain a flexible style in order to adjust and modify treatment throughout your journey. The client’s best interest is always the number one priority and allowing the client to guide treatment is one way to ensure this goal. You are the expert of your own life, and your guidance and participation is top priority.
- Experience – When searching for a therapist, ask about his or her experience with your specific issues. There are a multitude of mental health diagnoses and symptoms. Someone highly experienced in working with anxiety and depression might have little or no experience with individuals struggling with addiction. Finding someone who specializes in your specific concerns will give you confidence in treatment. If the individual does not have the experience needed, ask for a referral to another agency or individual who is more experienced. Psychology Today (psychologytoday.com) is another extremely useful resource for finding therapists specific to your mental health, insurance, and location needs.
An individual’s therapeutic journey can last from weeks to years, so finding a good fit will allow you to make the changes you need.
Written by Kristin Tribbett, LCSW
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!