I spoke about the medical model briefly in the Medication, the Start of Your Road to Success. The Medical Model contains not only the medication component, but therapy as well. Finding a therapist can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. The invention of the internet and google has made it easier to find a therapist that meets your every need.
When you start with a new therapist it is important you get honest with yourself and ask some blunt questions. The answers you get from these questions need to point you in the right direction.
You need to feel comfortable discussing very personal material with your therapist. To figure out the person I feel most comfortable speaking with, I ask myself the following questions (remember there is no right or wrong answer, only your heart):
• Is it easier talking with someone who is the same gender or the opposite gender? Does it even matter to you?
• A younger or older individual? Have you given thought to having a therapist who is around your age?
• What credentials matter to you? PhD or LCSW?
• Does this person’s hobbies and interests matter to you? I once had a therapist that had a few of the same interests as myself. It made all the difference in the world because he could relate his direct experience to mine. I felt more connected to him which in return made me feel more at ease and comfortable.
These next questions are what I ask a potential therapist that I am thinking of hiring:
• What therapeutic modalities do you practice? CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)? DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)? EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)? Others?
• What are your specialties?
• What other services do you provide?
• How long have you been practicing?
• What are your qualifications? Where did you earn your credentials?
• When I go through an episode, what is communication like with you? For example, what is your support like when I go through mania or depression and then during periods of stability?
• How do you prefer to contact patients outside of therapy sessions? Phone? Text? Does it matter?
• How often should I visit you? How long is each session?
• How much do you charge? What insurance do you accept?
The first set of questions I ask myself to get a feeling for the type of therapist I’d like to hire. You need to be open with yourself because after all, this is your therapy.
The second set of questions builds upon the first set, but are more logistical in nature. They help decide if this therapist is a good fit as part of your support team.