By Rasha Alshafie
| August 23, 2022
How to Choose the Right Therapist

Mental Health issues are on the rise. According to the mental health foundation, 1 in 8 adults receives mental health treatment. In the year 2000, the percentage of adults who reported seeking therapy was 23%, however, this number increased to 36% in 2014. As more people realize the importance of mental health, they seek treatment. 

The first step toward healing is choosing the right therapist. While choosing the right therapist is essential, it is not easy. Before scheduling that appointment with your therapist, look at these criteria to help narrow down the long list of therapists.

Qualification

One cannot become a therapist with just a bachelor’s degree in psychology. It also requires a Master’s degree or a postgraduate diploma. Ask the therapist about their qualifications and do some research on your therapist before booking an appointment. 

Age

Ask yourself whether you prefer to work with a younger or an older therapist. 

People could be willing to expand on their career success, heal their traumas, combat unhealthy habits, recover from addictions, and control their anger, depression, anxiety, weight, etc. 

It is essential to maintain healthy boundaries in therapy. As in some cases, it would be challenging to open up emotionally if you feel attracted to a therapist who is closer to you in age. Address your assumptions or fears with your therapists, and ask them how they can impact the therapy sessions.

Gender

Ask yourself whether the gender of your therapist matters to you.

There are many reasons a client would prefer to choose a specific gender. Sometimes it is easier to open up to someone who can relate to or share the experiences you are going through. It is important that you feel safe or comfortable talking to your therapist as the success of the therapy sessions depends on how comfortable you are with your therapist and how much you can open up to them. 

Research suggests that women often prefer female therapists for both sex-neutral (80.2%) and female sex-specific issues (94.4%). On the other hand, research also indicates that 60% of men did not have a preference, while 20% preferred a male therapist and 20% preferred a female therapist.  

Culture

Your therapist must be culturally competent. Cultural competence means that your therapist should be attuned to and respectful of the beliefs, values, and perspectives of a particular race, ethnicity, region, or even religion. While cultural competence may include topics like racial identity, it also discusses gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnic identity, etc. 

One of the ways that you can determine whether your therapist is culturally competent is by asking questions. Example of some questions you can ask:

  • Are you familiar with my culture or background or have you worked with diverse populations?
  • Are you comfortable addressing LGBTQ+ issues in your practice? 
  • How comfortable do you feel addressing African American issues?

A therapist should never make you feel judged or invalidate your feelings. At any point, if you feel that your therapist’s treatment plan is not aligned with your goals for therapy then discuss this with your therapist. If you feel that the therapist does not understand you after the first few sessions then it is your right to terminate therapy early on.

In conclusion, for your therapy session to have the maximum positive results, you must build rapport with your therapist.  At Saaya Health, we have a wide range of therapists from different cultural backgrounds, ages, and expertise. You can book one of them by clicking here.

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