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An increasing number of adults in the United States are seeking support for mental health and relationship issues. In 2020, about 41.4 million adults received counseling or therapy. It’s becoming not only a widely accepted practice, but a necessity in certain situations to seek the help of a therapist.

We schedule regular checkups with doctors and dentists to maintain our physical health. There’s no reason why we can’t see a therapist to help us with the emotional stressors of our everyday lives. Sometimes we just need the support of a non-judgmental therapist or counselor who can assist us with identifying our feelings and can teach us how to cope with them. The result can be a better outlook on life and improved self-esteem and confidence.

Since the success of your therapy relies on the ability of the counselor to listen closely, delve into more detail, and evaluate your circumstances, you need to know that your sessions will always be confidential and that the information you provide will be secure. Your therapist should offer treatment options that are right for you and that address your unique situation as opposed to cookie-cutter blanket observations or medications. In other words, choosing a therapist is a pivotal component of the process.

Where should you start? Recommendations from close friends and reviews from online sources may point you in the right direction. You could also consider consulting a professional organization like the National Eating Disorders Association or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America that might make direct referrals to therapists in your area. Your family doctor might also be willing to make a referral to a trusted reputable counselor.

The process doesn’t stop there. Once you have made an appointment, there are some questions you should ask during your first therapy session that will help you to know if you are in the right place. These are some things you will want to know up front:

  1. What licenses or certifications have you earned?
  2. How many years of experience do you have?
  3. What is your specialty or area of expertise?
  4. Do you have experience dealing with others who have similar issues?
  5. What kinds of treatments do you typically recommend?
  6. Do you accept insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid?
  7. What will we do if I am not improving or the treatment plan isn’t working for me?

In addition to receiving satisfactory answers to these questions, it’s a good idea to evaluate how you felt as you talked and the therapist listened (or didn’t listen) to you. In other words, did you feel like you were seen, heard, and respected during the session? Did the therapist listen actively or did he or she interrupt you? Did he or she respect your time by being prompt? Did you feel tense or relaxed? If you emerge from the session with positive feelings that enforce the therapist’s proper and respectful treatment of you and your expectations that he or she can help you, then you have found the right therapist.

Whether you need individual counseling, couples counseling, or wellness and life coaching, Dr. Durana at A Caring Approach is a licensed health professional with years of experience as a counselor. Contact us to ask questions or to schedule an appointment.