I don’t know what you think about therapists or have thought about people who go see them but it may be that for some reason you are considering finding one for yourself now. If so, here are some considerations for helping you choose a therapist. I hope this will be helpful.
First of all you may be asking: Why do I need a therapist? “I’m not that crazy about people telling me what to do in the first place and now I am going to pay someone to do that?”
My analogy, as a guy, is like asking whether I need a lawn edger or a tiller; do I just want my lawn to look neater or do I want to plant a garden? A therapist is not usually going to be giving you advice but helping you uncover your heart so that you can discover your own. I have found that being truly filled comes not from simply eating but from discovering what you are really hungry for, what your heart desires, and then being satiated with that. Rewriting my story takes looking into the ways I have chosen to “survive” my pain so I can walk with more trust in the God who doesn’t just make all new things, but makes all things new. A good therapist helps us do just that. What I like best is the approach we use at Onsite, which is to participate in a 4–6 day therapy intensive to help a person discover their core wound and experience healing. Then follow up with a therapist to keep making regular progress.
One of the best ways to find a good therapist is to ask someone you trust if they have had a good experience with one (i.e. friend, family doctor, minister). If not, then consider these things in your search:
1. Be willing to interview a therapist before you decide on him/her. Tell them that your first meeting is to help you determine if they are a good fit with you.
2. Can you feel safe with this person? Is he/she judgmental & shaming or will he/she allow you the freedom to explore your feelings and thoughts.
3. Will she/he give you honest feedback about how they see you? If they will do this in a non-shaming, caring way it can be very helpful.
4. A licensed therapist with at least several years of experience is important.
5. Does he/she see many other clients with similar concerns? You want to see a therapist who has successful experience working with similar issues as yours.
6. You don’t want to choose someone with whom you already have a personal relationship. It’s generally unethical for the therapist and it usually ends badly.
7. Have they done their own therapy work? I believe a therapist can only guide someone as far as they have gone themselves. Ask them; really it’s okay to do so.
8. Does he/she share your spiritual beliefs and values or will your beliefs be honored if they are not the same?
9. Be ready and be willing to struggle with your process. Stepping into your own story honestly can involve pain but it leads toward freedom.
There is a wonderful saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” If you find yourself wanting to grow and to “see” with new eyes, a good therapist can serve as a productive guide. I wish you well in your journey.