Therapy can help you with issues that might be making you unhappy. Making the decision to contact a therapist is an exciting and positive first step but finding the right therapist can be a daunting task. Here are some of our pointers:
There are a large variety of psychological therapies. It is a good starting place to see someone who can assess and advise you on what sort of therapy you will benefit from. We think the best placed person to do this is a Clinical Psychologist or a Counselling Psychologist; they have extensive training in understanding the development and maintenance of difficulties as well as the most evidence-based treatments.
Try and decide what kind of help you want. For example, you don't have to talk about your early childhood if there is just one part of your current life that you wish to improve.
Check the therapist's training, experience and specialism. There is little point in seeing an addictions therapist if your problem is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All qualified health practitioners should be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check the register by searching by surname on www.hpc-uk.org.
If you are unsure about whether to meet with a psychologist, give them a call. Any reputable therapist will be happy for you to contact them with any queries you have. We usually find that a short chat on the phone answers any questions and waylays any fears. If speaking with a practice administrator you should not be expected to go into detail about why you would like to see the therapist. Again, ask the therapist to give you a call back when they can to discuss your appointment.
Ask questions. Ask how many sessions do they think you will need, ask the type of therapy they are offering you and why they think it is the most appropriate choice for you, ask about the cancellation policy and under what circumstances you are still charged (some therapists charge you if you take a week off to go on holiday).
Reflect on your first meeting. You should have confidence in your therapist and feel comfortable in the room you are being seen in. Don't be afraid to shop around and meet with another therapist before making your decision. Many people do not find the right therapist for them at first, so don't give up.
Useful Websites to aid finding a qualified therapist and accessing psychological treatments are:
The British Psychological Society offers a list of Chartered Psychologists who practice privately; you can search by specialty, surname or postcode. www.bps.org.uk
The British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP) offer a list of accredited CBT therapists. www.cbtregisteruk.com