Finding the right therapist can be a daunting task. This is the person with whom you are going to share your hurt, pain, frustration, shame, mistakes, hopes and joys.
How do you find someone who is competent and trustworthy?
When asked, I encourage people to follow some simple steps.
First, talk to people you trust for referrals.
Your pastor and close friends are a good place to start. You don't have to tell them the details; just ask them for the names of therapists they trust.
Second, remember that you are the consumer.
You will be paying your hard-earned money for this help. Call the therapist and ask specific questions looking for answers that fit you. To help, we have put together a list of some sample questions to get you started. Ask those that are important to you, skip those that aren't, and use the ideas to make up your own questions.
Third, check on the following:
Is the therapist trained and experienced in the issue bringing you to therapy?
The counseling and therapy field are large fields. You wouldn't go to a foot doctor for a heart problem just because they're a doctor. In the same way, you might not want to go to a therapist who focuses their practice on treating individuals with depression or eating disorders if you need help with the sexual part of your marriage.
Therapist don't have specialty licensing beyond the general basics but they will be more familiar with some areas than others. Ask them what areas of therapy they are most familiar with. What types of issues to they prefer to work with and what issues do they prefer to refer to someone else?
What are the costs involved?
While you shouldn't pick your therapist based on cost alone, you will not follow through the process if you can't afford it. At the same time, don't sacrifice quality for price. Most research suggests between 12 and 20 sessions. Typically, these will be weekly sessions. Depending upon the style of therapy it may be more or less often. Ask the therapist during the initial phone call.
Finally, and most importantly, you have to "click" with the therapist.
Much of the therapy process happens in the relationship. If you don't feel safe or comfortable with them or if you don't believe they can help it will be difficult to develop a constructive therapeutic relationship with them.
Following these steps should help you narrow the possibilites. If one therapist doesn't seem to fit don't be afraid to ask them for the name of a therapist who is affordable or does specialize in your issue. Most therapists are networked with other therapists in their area and will know of someone who might work for you.
The following websites contain lists of therapists that might meet some of your requirements. Know that we do not recommend any of these therapists, but are providing these links (in addition to those on the "Common Licensed Therapy Professionals" page) as a first step in your search.
Professional therapists who are trained as sex therapists and sign their agreement with a Christian statement of faith.