Choose an Experienced Therapist for Positive Results

By Linda Riley, LMFT & Certified Sex Therapist

Choosing an experienced therapist is essential if you want to experience positive results during your time in therapy. Here is a checklist of key issues to ask before you select a therapist.

___ Check the therapist’s education, credentials, knowledge and experience in dealing with your type of challenge or problem.

___How many years has the therapist been in clinical practice, and how long in this region of the country? (This shows that they are highly skilled and well connected in your region in case you need local referrals for other services).

___What is the therapist’s professional reputation in the community? Are they viewed as a leader within their industry, or just beginning their career? (Remember, experience counts when you are trying to rapidly solve problems)

___Does the therapist possess additional training, certifications, and credentials or are they quoted by the media or perhaps are recognized as a published author on the issues you are facing? This is important because it shows that the therapist is a trusted resource by the professional community.

___Was the therapist referred by a physician, lawyer, clergy member or other member of the professional community?

___Does the therapist believe in a treatment team approach to find the best professional to address each of your challenges at different stages of life, and are they open to referring you on to the best person to help you in case they can’t best meet your needs?

___Was the therapist referred by a prior client? This adds significant credibility to the therapist’s work because you can ask your friends or family what their experiences were like. Did they like their therapist and was the treatment helpful?

___ Can you find them on the Internet via Google or Yahoo as an established author or professional known for their areas of expertise?

___Are your therapist’s belief system and moral values are similar to yours?

Remember, a therapist’s role is to act as a personal guide to assist you with the choices you make. If your therapist’s views are too different, the advice they offer may not make a lot of sense to you. Therapy, however, is an adversarial process and you shouldn’t start looking for a new therapist just because your current therapist challenges your views and attitudes. That’s part of their job. What’s most important is the outcome of your time in session with this professional. If the therapist is successful in making you think about the choices you make and their outcomes, then you have probably found a therapist that will satisfy your needs and help guide you toward experiencing positive results.

After the first session with your therapist consider the following to see if it’s a positive connection to help you move forward to experience greater success.

___Did the therapist listen, understand and respect you?

___Did you feel liked and valued as a person?

___Did you feel safe talking with this person and feel confident that they had the skills and experience to help you sort through your issues and help you solve your problems?

___Did you feel comfortable with this professional because they were easy to talk to?

___Is the therapist easy to get in touch with if you have a question, either via telephone or by email?

___Does the therapist appear to be organized, or do they have administrative support staff to assist with tasks to keep their office running efficiently and smoothly?

___Does the therapist run on schedule to respect your time by not keeping you waiting?

___Does the therapist’s approach and style make sense to you as a person?

___Do you feel that the therapist is genuinely interested in you and your
personal story?

___Does the therapist offer additional guidance through printed resources, articles, assessments, tests, books or direction toward web links to give you greater insights?

___Does the therapist remember important details from session to session?

___Does the therapist inspire you to accept life challenges and help you
make positive changes towards growth and healing?

(Remember, Psychiatrists, psychologists and therapist can all offer you counseling and advice. However, only medical doctors and psychiatrists can prescribe drugs.)

Written by: Linda Riley, A Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and
Certified Sex Counselor who has counseled family's and couples toward resolving conflict and achieving greater relationship connection for over 25 years. Her focus is always on enriching relationships and improving communication while improving relationship dynamics. She believes in promoting personal growth and building healthy self-concepts to help her clients achieve maximum results in their personal and professional lives.


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