page. Private clinics typically have shorter waiting times.
✔️ Create a profile of your dream therapist
You can only find a therapist that’s good for you if you know what kind of therapist you want. The key is to list down characteristics you’d like your dream therapist to have, and to be specific. It’s possible that you may not be able to find a therapist that meets all your criteria, so pick five characteristics that are most important to you and start shortlisting from there.
Here’s a list of characteristics you can consider:
Age: do you prefer a therapist who’s closer in age to you?
Gender: do you prefer a therapist who’s (a) of a specific gender, and (b) sensitive to the needs of trans and non-binary folks?
Sexuality: do you prefer a therapist who’s sensitive to the needs of LGBTQIA+ folks?
Culture: do you prefer a therapist who shares a similar cultural background as you?
Religion: do you prefer a therapist who shares a similar religious background as you?
Location: how far are you willing to travel?
Availability: are you only able to attend therapy on certain days or hours?
Specialization: are you looking for a therapist with a specific specialization (e.g. eating disorders, death and grieving)? These specializations are usually listed on therapists’ profiles.
Personality: different therapists have different personalities—for instance, do you prefer a therapist who will dish out more tough love or one who’s more nurturing? (Of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive!)
The relationship between you and your therapist is important for therapy to succeed, so pick wisely. How are you gonna tell someone your deepest darkest secrets if you don’t even like them?
📬 Make those enquiries
Once you’ve shortlisted a few therapists, start submitting enquiries! Other than asking about the price per session and availability of the therapist, you can also include some background information on yourself.
If you’re like us and the thought of writing an email invokes anxiety or dread in you, check out our sample email below.
My name is Elizabeth and I’d like to make an enquiry about Dr. Ruth’s fees per session, and potentially book an appointment with her. [state your availability] As I work full-time, I will only be available to attend sessions on the weekends. If Dr. Ruth is unavailable, I am open to seeing other therapists in the clinic too.
[state your issue] I’m currently 23 years old and started working 3 months ago, but am struggling to adjust to my new job. I work in a fast-paced company, and the environment triggers my deeper issue of tying self-worth to productivity. I’m constantly on edge about work and worried that I’m not performing well enough. This anxiety makes it difficult for me to relax or spend time with loved ones, because my thoughts are just consumed by work.[state your mental health history, if any] To give more context, I was in therapy for depression and on anti-depressants about 2 - 3 years ago.
Thank you for your help, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Once you have all the information you need, it’s time to pick a therapist and go for your first session!
🤞 Finding the right therapist is kinda like dating
But...sometimes the process doesn’t end there. After a few sessions you might find that you’re not as comfortable with your therapist as you thought you might be.
Here’s a list of questions you can consider to determine if you’re comfortable with your therapist:
Do you feel like your therapist is judging or criticizing you?
Has your therapist violated any of your boundaries (emotional, physical, or sexual)?
Does your therapist feel too impersonal and detached for you?
Does your therapist become visibly emotionally reactive (e.g. angry, upset) when you share something with them?
Do you feel like your therapist is listening to you?
Do you feel like your therapist is pushing their beliefs onto you (e.g. attempting to convert you to a religious faith)?
Does your therapist’s advice and type of therapy they use feel right for you?
If you’re not comfortable with your therapist, that’s okay! You’re not obligated to stick to your therapist. Review the other therapists you shortlisted and look for another one. It might take you a few tries before you’re able to find a therapist that you get along with.
🥴 Therapy sucks sometimes
Lastly, a gentle reminder that going for therapy is really tough work, whether you’re bawling your eyes out to your therapist or just sitting in silence trying to muster the courage to talk. It’s difficult and you may feel drained after each session, but it’s all part of the process. Just remember to be kind to yourself, and that this is worth it in the long run 💗