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Suggestions when choosing a Psychotherapist

Like some of my colleagues I’m very busy at present. I have a waiting list for those who want to see me and some people who can’t wait who need help immediately ask me if I can refer or recommend another therapist. I’m always hesitant about this. I have a research interest in the therapeutic relationship and the impact that it has, and it would really bother me if someone was put off therapy completely by seeing someone that they did not connect very well with or at worst felt was harmful for them. I do know a lot of people in practice but many are not in my location or if they are local to me they have trained in a different modality and may use a very different approach.

It’s important to remember that if I make a suggestion, it is not really a recommendation. I can’t recommend someone when I have not been a persons client. I do not know how they come across as a therapist, I don’t know their style, how relational they are, all the tools they have in their toolkit, and what it feels like to have a one to one session with them. I don’t know how attuned to them that you might feel, or whether it will feel intense or relaxed to be with them. I can only say that they specialise in an area that may fit your requirements.

So always choose wisely, check their credentials with their accrediting bodies, check out their biog, blogs or articles that they have written, does what they express speak to you in some way? Are you drawn to something about them? Think about what you are looking for - do you need to be challenged or listened to? Do you want someone to help you achieve clear goals or are you happy to see how things unfold? Are they in regular supervision, is this a specialist supervisor if you have specific needs? Check out where the sessions are held. Is the environment clinical or more homely - do you care about that? Think about what you feel comfortable with and the practical considerations such as parking and accessibility as you will visiting the venue every week.

One last thing, many therapists list working with mental and emotional issues that they have very little experience or training in due to the amount of cheap workshops and courses available. Working with issues such as crisis, trauma, sexual and physical abuse, suicide risk or certain psychopathologies are all areas that often require many years of experience and training for both safeguarding and ethical considerations so if these are your reasons for seeking therapy be sure to be careful about the level of expertise that you are going to be working with. If possible try to have a simple understanding of your potential therapists approach and do not be afraid to question them. Be discerning. The therapy journey can be life changing if you get the right partnership. Good luck. If you want more advice about this feel free to contact me.


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