The decision to start therapy can be a courageous and empowering step towards improving your mental health and overall wellness. However, how to find a good therapist for you can be a daunting task. With so many choices available, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure that you find a therapist who meets your unique needs and preferences. Here are some key points to think about when wondering how to find the right therapist for you.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 26, 2023 best counselor for me, how to find a good therapist, how to get the most out of therapy, searching for a therapist pittsburgh, what is an lpc vs lmhc vs lcsw, what is lcsw, what is lpc0 comments
How to Find the Right Therapist for You
Determine what type of therapist you need. There are different types of therapists with varying specialties, backgrounds, trainings, and approaches. Some common types are psychologists, psychiatric practitioners, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists. It can be helpful to understand all those abbreviations (what’s an LPC vs LCSW vs MSW?) and determine which one aligns with your specific needs. Do you prefer alternative therapies like EFT Tapping or even Reiki? Think about the kind of therapy you are looking for, such as child therapy, teen counseling, couples therapy, or family therapy, and choose a therapist who has experience in that particular area.
Consider your preferences. Consider what qualities are important to you in a therapist. Do you prefer an LGBTQ+ or LGBTQ-Friendly Therapist, a Black Therapist or a therapist of a certain gender, age group, or cultural background? Do you prefer someone who takes a direct or more empathetic approach? Do you prefer someone who specializes in a certain therapeutic modality, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness or Somatic Therapy? It’s important to be clear about your preferences and values to find a therapist who aligns with them.
Think about your therapy goals. Before starting therapy, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve. Are you looking to manage depression, improve self-esteem, work through trauma, develop coping skills or begin medication? Having a clear idea of your therapy goals can help you find a therapist who has experience in addressing those specific issues and can tailor their approach to help you achieve those goals. For example, if you are struggling with PTSD, finding a therapist who has experience working with PTSD can be beneficial to reaching your goals.
Figure out your budget. Therapy can vary in cost, so it’s important to determine your budget before starting your search. Some therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income, while others may accept insurance. Make sure to clarify the costs and payment options with potential therapists to ensure that it fits within your budget.
Trust your instincts and comfortability. Establishing a trusting and comfortable relationship with your therapist is crucial for successful therapy. Pay attention to how you feel during the initial intake or in session with your therapist. Do you feel heard, understood, and respected? Do you feel comfortable discussing your concerns and emotions with them? Trusting your instincts and feeling safe with your therapist is essential for building a strong therapeutic relationship that fosters growth and healing. Therapy is a collaborative process, and it’s essential to have a good rapport with your therapist to have the best outcomes.
In conclusion, finding the right therapist for you requires consideration of various factors. Finding a therapist who understands and supports your needs is incredibly important for your mental health and well-being. Here at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, we have a variety of therapists with different specialties and experience. If you need help in finding the right therapist for you, you can contact us for more information and learn how to get connected to a therapist who meets your needs and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your research, and take your time in finding the right therapist who will guide you on your journey towards wellness.
Written by Téa Del Rio, Counseling Intern.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJanuary 25, 2019 best counselor for me, what is an lpc vs lmhc vs lcsw, what is lcsw, what is lpc0 comments
If you are trying to find a counselor or therapist, you might start to become overwhelmed with options and confused by all of the abbreviations for credentials. Or maybe you are considering furthering your education in the mental health field but are not sure which degree is the best for you. Allow this helpful guide to take you through the various meanings which make up those abbreviations and this helpful guide will unveil what they all mean.
ACA The American Counseling Association, this is the governing board, they over see the education and the field of counseling on the national level.
APA American Psychological Association oversees the field of psychology and ensures quality and consistency in learning and licensing requirements.
NBCC National Board for Certified Counselors is the premier credentialing body for counselors, ensuring that counselors who become nationally certified have achieved the highest standard of practice through education, examination, supervision, experience, and ethical guidelines.
CRNP Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner is a licensed healthcare professional who is authorized to prescribe medications to patients, under certain conditions and within the scope of their state’s regulations.
LPC Licensed professional counselor, this person has a masters degree in professional counseling which covers behavioral psychology and the theories of behavioral change as well as many other theoretical approaches. After completing their universities course work, a counselor has completed thousands of hours of supervised counseling, rigorous screening processes and background checks by licensing boards to become licensed. An LPC is often considered a general practitioner who can take up further study to specialize in a variety of topics from addiction, to trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationships to name just a few.
MS or MA in Counseling Master of Science or Master of Arts in counseling. This is a person who has graduated with a degree in professional counseling but has not yet completed their supervision hours to become licensed. A person can practice in a variety of settings with a master’s degree, some people do not pursue a license and continue their career with their masters degree. A MS or MA can be used somewhat interchangeably and the difference is only in the amount of math and statistics that are required for the particular program they studied.
LMFT Licensed marriage and family therapist specialized in relationships and family dynamics and typically offers marriage counseling. This is a particular track which focuses on interactions between people and the theories which allow the therapist to help those people in the relationship to become well.
LCSW Licensed clinical social worker, is a person who has graduated with a masters degree in clinical social work and then went on to do supervised hours which gain them a professional license. A licensed clinical social worker is able to manage a variety of mental health issues from anxiety and depression to relationship issues.
MSW This person holds a master’s degree in social work and they may or may not have done any clinical supervision hours. They have graduated from a university after studying a variety of clinical theories on counseling. Social work also provides a comprehensive study of social systems which can offer support and assistance for a variety of issues.
LMHC This describes a person who has a masters degree in counseling and is also licensed, this degree does not exist in Pennsylvania but is the equivalent of an LPC.
PsyD This person holds a doctoral level of study in a given field, for our purposes that will be psychology, this person has studied a university program which emphasized clinical experience instead of research experience. A psychologist can provide therapy or a number of assessments. They also might be active in teaching at the university level or doing research.
PhD This person holds a doctoral level degree, for our purposes we will focus on a person with a PhD in psychology who is refereed to a psychologist, this person has defended a thesis, psychologists have a strong background in research on any number of topics. They may provide therapy and any number of mental health assessments, they can be found working in many kinds of places from hospitals, to clinics, universities, as well as private practice settings.
Psychiatrist This person is generally involved in medication management, they may work in inpatient settings or out patient settings. Other specialized roles might involve sub-specialties such as neuroanatomy and traumatic brain injury recovery.
PMHNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner This person can assess, diagnose and treat the mental health needs of patients. Many PMHNPs provide therapy and medication management for patients who have mental health disorders or substance abuse problems.
Other Helpful Terms
LGBTQIA- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Ally refers to this entire of cluster of people who may identify as one of the above and most newly, identify as an ally with promoting the rights and awareness of equality.
AASECT-American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. An certifying institution which educates counselors and therapists on sex therapy and sex positive practices.
CAADC–Certified advanced drug and alcohol counselor has achieved a higher level or educational and clinical learning that allows them to offer clinical treatment for substance abuse disorder.Learn More