Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Finding the right therapist is a very important process that can set the stage for your work on healing and self-development for years to come. It warrants careful thought and the investment of some time and money. For starters, here are a few suggestions for what to look for in an initial consultation.
(1) Does the person seem to listen closely and with empathy. In other words, do you get the impression that s/he is listening attentively and conveying a good initial sense of what it's like to be in your shoes? Do you feel heard?
(2) Does the therapist convey seasoned knowledge and technique? In other words, does s/he seem to be able to form an understanding of the “workings” of your struggles — the connections between different parts of your life, past and present (keep in mind that a deeper understanding takes a good deal of time and develops collaboratively). Does s/he convey this understanding to you in ways that directly address your concerns and provide some initial illumination? In other words, do you feel understood and responded to helpfully?
(3) Do you get the sense of "a good “fit” between you and the therapist? Do you (or could you) feel comfortable with this person?
It is next to impossible to discern these qualities from an online profile. They come from (a) training and experience, (b) a certain personal ‘knack’ for working with people, and (c) the chemistry between you. You may well need to allow yourself two or three sessions with more than one therapist before deciding. It takes time to know, but there’s a lot at stake and much to gain.
Be hopeful, there are many great therapists out there.