Guest 9 10th Nov, 2019

                         All Over's guide for finding a psychotherapist.
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or any other kind of mental health professional. I am just a layperson who has had mental health problems for a long time and has an interest in things related to mental health.
Step 1: Find a reputable directory of therapists. This can be an organisation or association for licensed therapists who have received appropriate qualifications and have agreed to adhere to the organisation's standards. Directories will often list the therapist's specialties so that it's easy to find someone who specialises in the therapy you are seeking. Good ones usually have a process for members to go through before they can be accredited, and may be affiliated with a university.
Step 2: Find a therapist who specialises in the therapy you are seeking. Finding someone who specialises in a certain therapy, or has an interest in working with the problems you are struggling with, increases the chances that they will have worked with people with similar issues to you in the past, and means they may be better suited to gear the treatment towards your individual needs. Common forms of therapy are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Psychoanalytic Therapy, and EMDR Therapy. Areas of interest can range anywhere from Anger Management, to Domestic Abuse, to Autism, to Childhood Trauma. Unfortunately I do not know of a comprehensive guide that explains different forms of therapy and I feel unqualified to do so myself, so you may have to research those yourself if you're unsure as to what type of therapy would suit you best.
Step 3: Once you have found someone who seems good, investigate for more details. There may be information provided on the registry, or you may need to search their name online. Some therapists may have a website, which can be a good way to learn a bit about them and get an idea of where they're coming from with their treatment. Check where they studied, what they studied, and what degrees they have received. You don't need to be too vigilant though; this is just to make sure they do indeed specialise in the therapies they claim to, and that they have received their education from a recognised source. If they have conducted field research with an academic journal you can check that out too. While it's not a surefire indicator of their suitability, the more information they provide about their profession and services, the better in my opinion; it shows that they are open about their qualifications and the services they provide.
Step 4: If all seems well, call the therapist to make an appointment. They should be open about the prices they charge, the treatments they offer, the time and place of the appointment, and be willing to answer a few short questions about how the appointment will work and what they can offer.
Step 5: So, the next step is to go to the appointment. The therapist should be a comforting and empathic person who listens to you and does not make you feel pressured. It is essential that they are respectful of your experiences and emotions, and they should be able to gear the treatment to your individual needs. They should be willing to answer the questions you have about their training, qualifications, interests, field work, therapeutic approach, et cetera. It may be worth reading more about the therapeutic relationship and how a good therapist should operate for more information. Check Notes section at the bottom of this post for related articles.
Even after all of this, sometimes therapists do not turn out to be great in person. If you do not feel comfortable with the therapist it is okay to decline to schedule a second appointment, and to look for someone else instead. It is important to keep trying.
This article from the Irish Times does a good job at quickly covering the therapeutic relationship, along with other aspects of finding a good therapist: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/therapy-unlocked-a-guide-to-finding-the-right-therapist-for-you-1.2055346
This guide assumes you have the means to pay for therapy at your local standard rate. If you are looking for more affordable options, I recommend reading this article by Stacey Freedenthal for advice: https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/2019/01/20/12-ways-to-get-therapy-if-you-cant-afford-it/
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