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How to choose a therapist


SF Supporter
I've decided it's time to face the fact that my mental health issues aren't getting better on their own, so I'd better seek some professional help. I've been to my GP before a couple of times over the last few years, and tried a few different anti-depressants, but felt that none of them were much help. I've also done a course of group CBT therapy, and although this was helpful to a certain extent, it didn't deal with the underlying issues, which have been with me for as long as I can remember. I've had some one to one therapy when I was in my early teens (I'm 50 now), and think it would be a good idea to give it another go. I'm in the UK, but it's hard to get one to one therapy on the NHS, and the waiting list is really long. I've gone on the 'British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy' website to try and find a therapist in private practice, but they list 80 or so in my local area, and I've no idea how to select ones to contact.
Can anyone give me any pointers how to go about selecting a suitable therapist. This is a difficult enough step without the stress of making this decision.
Thanks in advance *thumbsup


To Wish Impossible Things
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SF Supporter
No need to feel silly. Finding a therapist is very personal so asking for personal advice is a good idea.

When I was looking for my therapist (same website) I set up a realistic area of where I would comfortably travel to - for me I wanted it to be within a 30 minute drive. Then I crossed off all the men (sorry men, I do like you but some of the things I needed to work through I knew I'd find easier with a woman). Next I crossed off the ones I thought were too expensive. So from my shortlist of about 20, I looked at their specialties and style of counselling. From here I was left with around 10 to choose from. I picked out 4 that I thought would be most suitable and emailed all of them, explaining a little about myself and asking for their availability. Only two got back to me. One of them was someone I had been drawn to all along. She was a similar age, looked a little crazy and her profile picture was of her roaring with laughter. I just liked the look of her. I made an initial appointment and we hit it off straight away.

So it really was quite a methodical approach in narrowing down the search and then going with my gut.


SF Supporter
Thanks for the replies. I'll have a read of the other thread and see If I can choose half a dozen to email and take it from there. It's a bit of a crap time to be going in to therapy at the moment with covid, a lot of them seem to be only offering skype type sessions.


Well-Known Member
In the NYC area where I work we are currently doing almost entirely on-line sessions, but that may be shifting soon - personally I've found video sessions to be pretty effective when it's something that you can do (some people couldn't because they didn't have private enough space).

I'm not sure where you are right now in terms of figuring things out for therapy, but here are some thoughts :)

A therapy relationship is a very personal one, so definitely check bios if you can and look for someone you think you'll be comfortable with (as opposed to say a doctor where it would be nice to feel comfortable, but maybe less essential). Also keep in mind that even with that research it might not work with the first - or first few - people you try. I would always suggest trying a few sessions (especially if it's been awhile since you've been in therapy) to make sure, but if it just doesn't feel right then move on to another (the fact that a particularly therapist doesn't work for you doesn't mean that therapy won't work for you!)

And going back to your original post, I would add that medication is great for stabilizing and helping managing day-to-day functioning, but it typically isn't going to resolve underlying issues (and I could repeat the same sentence for CBT). It can be really good to talk with someone about underlying issues, trying to understand them and seeing how they can be processed and changed.

Best of luck!!!


To Wish Impossible Things
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SF Supporter
a lot of them seem to be only offering skype type sessions
It is gradually changing now. My group therapy starts back in person tomorrow and my individual therapist is just starting to take back clients face to face. Our couples counseling (Blimey! How many therapists does one person need! *hysterical) is still online with no plans to start back face to face yet.

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