For some people, choosing a therapist is one of the most personal decisions they will make. The therapist is someone to whom the patient should feel comfortable discussing stressors, fears, and desires for effective treatment. Rather than a person who will attack a problem with a single too, therapists should be flexible and empathetic to the patient’s needs while maintaining an objective viewpoint and assisting the patient in arriving at options to address the conflict. This results in the patient developing the requisite skills for future resolution, rather than a dependence on the therapist.
There are several key things to look for in therapists, whether they are psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers or other mental health professionals. First, patients want to feel like their therapists are interested in what they say and in their well-being. A therapist that only talks about him- or herself or relates everything back to their own experience will probably be more of a hindrance than a help. Another factor to consider is whether or not the therapist can articulate an outline of treatment and a treatment philosophy. While some people go to therapy for deep-rooted or ongoing issues, the therapist should still be able to say what an endpoint would look like, even if it will take time to reach.