Ask someone you know for a referral
shutter_o/Shutterstock Therapists are a dime a dozen, but finding a good therapist is a diamond in the rough. Referrals from people you trust may be one of the best ways to help you eliminate the duds and find your therapist-in-shining-armor. Feel free to ask your friends, family, or even your doctor because no one knows you better than they do. Try these tips for finding a doctor you can trust.
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Take a look at their credentials
Kite_rin/Shutterstock Scouring the Internet for a therapist is like swiping through a dating app looking for the perfect match; you’ve got to sift through a lot of phonies first before you find the real deal. Fortunately, many therapists have their own websites or LinkedIn profiles where you can skim through their biography and resume to verify their years of experience and make sure their certifications are from an accredited institution. “If there are letters after their last name that I’m not sure what they mean, I would Google them to find out what that is,” says Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a psychologist in New York City. “A lot of the time therapists just want to put a long string of letters after their name because it sounds impressive to people, but when we Google what those letters are they actually mean very little.” As you conduct your research, you’ll start being able to spot the fake “therapists” from the legitimate ones. Other signs of a good health-care professional besides certifications include experience and easy accessibility.
Conduct a phone interview
Alissa-Kumarova/Shutterstock Before you invest all your time and money in going to a therapist’s office, try a phone interview first. For some people, a phone call is a simple way to connect with a prospective therapist before that initial face-to-face interaction. “That phone conversation is important,” says Sari Cooper, therapist and director of the Center for Love and Sex in New York City. “In my practice, we do phone intakes so we can get to know the person and see if we’re the right fit.” Phone calls help you gauge what the therapist is like because you can hear their voice, listen to their tone or speaking pace, and are able to ask introductory questions about their professional background or what they specialize in. It’s a great opportunity to determine if you could envision yourself talking to this person for 45 minutes each week.