Imagine this: You’ve been searching for the one. You’ve scrolled through countless apps and gone on endless dates, and just when you think you’ve found the person...you realize they’re unavailable or too far away, or that they come with a host of other deal-breakers. We’re talking about therapy here, but the dating analogy is hard to miss.
Just like with dating, the struggle to find a good connection can take time. After scouring the internet, asking friends for recommendations, making cold calls, and attending first consult sessions, you may still wind up empty handed. Add in trying to find a therapist who’s affordable, has availability, and works in an office nearby—and it can feel like you’re looking for a unicorn.
Luckily, there are some approaches that can help not just narrow the field, but also broaden your chances of finding a match. Keep reading for more on what they are and how to use them in your search.
As a starting place, it’s helpful to understand that there are different types (or modalities) of therapy. Some of these are highly structured and based on building specific skills, while others are more exploratory. Some delve deeper into your past relationships, and others will focus more on the present and current problems you’re dealing with. Sometimes therapists may blend these modalities to best meet your needs.
If you’ve considered the therapist’s modality and decided it’s something you want to try, go ahead and schedule a meeting. But, just as with dating, approach it with both an open mind and a high bar for quality. After that first appointment, run through the following points to make sure they ring true for you:
Once you’ve gone through those initial bullets, dig a little deeper. Here are a few more considerations to cycle through:
Understand that you may not leave your first few therapy sessions with answers. You may be thinking, “so how will I know if it’s working?" You’ll start to notice the things that initially brought you to therapy are shifting and changing, and hopefully for the better.
Finding a therapist takes time. It may involve several sessions to get to know each other. It takes trust and communication. It’s hard work and can be challenging. But when it’s good, it’s great, and all the work you put in to find that match feels completely worth it.
Originally published on Octave’s blog.
Kelli Morin is a licensed social worker practicing in New York City. She received her BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University, and a MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.