How to find the right therapist for you
When you’re finding life a bit of a struggle, it can be hard to know what to do or where to go for help. If you have a broken limb or a physical symptom, perhaps it seems a little more obvious that help is needed, and we can feel more comfortable about calling our GP or going to the hospital.
With emotional problems and mental health issues, it can often feel very difficult to know what to do and where to go.
It can often take a while to come to terms with the fact that we need help and, when we do, we can feel unsure. What’s really wrong? Am I struggling enough to ask for help? Will they think I’m silly? Will anyone really be able to help me?
There can also be, in many people’s minds, despite the increase in discussion around mental health, a feeling of embarrassment or shame. Have I failed? Am I weak?
Let me reassure you now - there is no weakness and certainly, no failure when it comes to our mental health. We all have times when life can be a struggle emotionally, and you are absolutely doing the right thing in seeking help. You will be taken seriously, and any professional practitioner will do their best to make you feel at ease.
The first steps
I would always advise anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health to make an appointment with their GP. It might even be worth making a double appointment so that you have a little extra time to talk about how you are feeling.
A good idea is to make a few points on a piece of paper or on your phone about how you are feeling. This means that you don’t have the added stress of trying to remember what you want to say. When we are upset or anxious it can be easy to forget vital bits of information which will help in our gaining the help we need.
It may be that your doctor will refer you to a counsellor or therapist through the NHS, and that’s great. If you can make use of the excellent and free services that the NHS offer, then that’s a good position to be in.
However, it might be that you decide to seek help from a therapist in private practice. This can be for all sorts of reasons, but it can feel a bit daunting if you’ve not done it before. What sort of therapist will you choose? How will you know if they know what they’re doing? How can you find them?
Choosing the right therapist
There are so many different types of therapists - counsellors, hypnotherapists, psychologists, and a myriad of other schools of practice. Every therapy works for someone, but not every therapy works for everyone. It’s about personal preference, professionalism and, importantly, trust and rapport.
The first thing I would suggest, having spoken to your GP, is to look for personal recommendations from people you trust. Has a friend or family member seen a therapist? Speaking to someone you trust and who already has personal experience of a therapist can be a good start.
And yet, sometimes we don’t want to talk about our problems to the people around us. We might feel embarrassed or just not feel ready to share how we are feeling. So, the next step is to look into the sort of therapy we think might suit us. The fact that you are on this site - Hypnotherapy Directory - implies that hypnotherapy is probably something you feel drawn to.
So what is hypnotherapy about? There are lots of interesting articles on this site that go into more detail as to the different types. Spend time researching therapists around your area and look at their qualifications. How long did they spend studying? Do they keep up with the latest training? Are they a member of a professional body?
Choose a few different therapists that appeal to you and look through their websites, checking the details of qualifications, training, fees, and reading reviews from former clients. Try to get a feel for who the therapist is. When you feel ready, it’s a good idea to contact them and arrange to have a chat. Most therapists will be happy to arrange a time to chat on the phone for free, where you can ask any questions you might have and get a feel for whether you would want to work with them.
Again, draft some questions that you would like answered. There should be no obligation at this point - it’s purely part of your research. Any professional will be happy to answer your questions and explain the way they work.
Taking the plunge
At a certain point, you will have all the information you need and will be faced with the decision of who to choose. Take your time over this. Don’t be rushed. You need to feel comfortable with your choice and need to trust the therapist to work with you at your pace, with your best interests at heart. This is about you and it’s an important decision to make.
So, either call or email the person you have chosen and begin the journey to feeling better. It can be an absolutely life-changing and rewarding experience that leaves you with life skills for the future. It’s not always a linear journey - sometimes you can take two steps forward and then a step back - but when you find the right person to work with, they can support you and guide you through the difficult times to a place where you can be a new and happier version of you.
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