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How to Find a Therapist

4 Tips for How to Find a Therapist

Dr. Gagnon is a therapist in Plantation Florida.

How To FInd a Therapist - Find a Therapist - Find a Good Therapist - Psychotherapist - Counselor - Plantation FL - Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon PhD LMHC -

Confused about how to find a therapist? Read my tips below.

How to Choose a Good Psychotherapist or Counselor

The best way to find a therapist is to look for someone that you like and feel you can trust.  Finding a good psychotherapist is a bit like beginning a new friendship. Entering into a psychotherapy relationship can be pretty scary.  After all, you’ll be sharing intimate details of your life with someone who right now is a stranger to you.  So, how do you know if you’re in good hands?  How do you know it will work out well for you?

Whenever I’m faced with these types of questions in my own life, I like to use the Jack Welsh approach and go with my gut.  Your gut, you see, is the voice of intuition.  The part of you that is connected to the Universe and just knows.  That part of you is generally right.

To get started, find a therapist (see my tips below) and then keep an open mind and give it 2 or 3 sessions.  If something doesn’t feel right, discuss it with your therapist and see how they respond to that.  A good therapist cares about you and wants to help you feel better about your life and relationships.  They want you to experience more joy and less suffering.  After discussing your concerns with them, a good therapist should be interested in working collaboratively with you to get things back on track.

If you don’t get that feeling, then go with your gut and find another therapist that’s a better fit for you.  Don’t give up on the value of therapy, and the benefits it can bring to your life because you didn’t like the first therapist you tried.

 Tips to Find a Therapist:

  1. Ask a friend who went to therapy if they liked and can recommend their therapist.
  2. Go online and Google. Look at therapists’ websites.  Read what they write and see if it speaks to you.  Do they seem to understand the type of issue you are having?
  3. Ask about their training and experience.  How much experience to they have with couples counseling or substance abuse treatment, etc.
  4. Ask what therapies they are trained and experienced in, and what their approach to therapy is.

And then, go with your gut!  Trust yourself. Your instincts will help you find a therapist.  After all, you are the expert on you, and you probably have a good idea of what you need!


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13 Responses to How to Find a Therapist

  1. Olivia Nelson October 3, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    I appreciate your tip on looking on google for a good couples therapist. I would imagine that finding someone’s website would help you get a good idea for how the work and help you decide if you want to hire them or not. My sister is going through some struggles right now with her husband so maybe they should start their search of counseling online.

  2. Dennis Sanchez November 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    You mentioned that you should ask what therapies they are trained and experienced in, and what their approach to therapy is. A close friend of mine has been thinking about seeing a therapist for a psychological evaluation. I’ll definitely have to make sure he checks with the therapist what his approach is, as if he isn’t comfortable with the approach it could prevent the therapy from being successful.

    • drchantalgagnon December 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks for your comment! Evaluations and therapy are separate things, but for therapy, you are correct that it’s important that there be a good fit between the approach the therapist uses and the client’s “theory of change”. This means that if a client feels their difficulties stem from unresolved childhood trauma, then a more here-and-now solution focused approach won’t work as well, but if a client feels that their outlook on life isn’t positive enough, then a cognitive therapy style aimed at changing negative thoughts might be a good fit. A good therapist understands these differences and adapts accordingly. -Dr. Chantal

  3. Baxter Abel December 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    It’s worked really well for us to talk to our primary care physician in order to find a good counseling service. My wife struggles with depression and she was able to find her favorite counseling service by asking our primary care physician for a referral! I like what you said about asking what therapies counseling services are trained in experienced in.

  4. Jenna Hunter December 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    It was astonishing that the article said to go with your gut when choosing a therapist! I have chosen many just with research and it didn’t seem to work out that well. Especially since they were are referrals from friends. I will be sure to listen to the “universe” and make a gut decision!

    • drchantalgagnon December 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

      Hi Jenna,
      Research and referrals are good, but it’s also important to listen to your instincts. Therapists, just like clients, are all different and just because a therapist was a good fit for your friend doesn’t mean they will be the best fit for you. Good luck in your search! -Dr. Chantal

  5. Derek Mcdoogle December 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    In your article, you stated that After discussing your concerns with them, a good therapist should be interested in working collaboratively with you to get things back on track. My wife has been coming home from school lately really anxious and depressed and she doesn’t know what is wrong with her. What types of therapies can a psychotherapist offer?

    • drchantalgagnon December 22, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks for your comments Derek. There are lots of therapies that can be very effective for anxiety, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. However, each case is different; anxiety can vary in its type, cause, intensity and frequency. A skilled therapist would meet with your wife and spend some time assessing that before deciding on the best treatment approach for her. -Dr. Chantal

  6. John Mahoney March 7, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    I agree that friends that have gone through the same process can be a great source of referrals. It makes sense that being patient and finding a reputable person to help you can help you get the results you want. I can see that contacting several companies and comparing them can help you find the one that can accommodate you best.

  7. Olivia Nelson March 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

    I agree that you would want to know how much training a therapist has. It would seem that you would want to find someone who has been working with people with the same problems as you for years. I’m looking for a counselor to help me through some tough times right now so I’ll have to consider their training as well.

  8. Frank Delaware June 2, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    A friend of mine has been going through a pretty tough time lately, and we were curious about how you would choose the right person for the job. I really like that you say to go online and check out some local therapist websites. It would be nice to know that you will be able to get someone that will be the best for you.

    • drchantalgagnon June 12, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I understand completely! It’s a little frightening to start a relationship with a therapist without knowing if they will be able to help you in the way you need. But in some ways, that can be part of the therapy itself! When individuals approach new relationships and situations with a lot of fear that it won’t work out, life becomes more difficult. It’s a bit like swimming against the current, instead of with it.

      So keep an open mind and an open heart and have a little trust in the process of therapy. Start with a therapist you feel drawn to and give it a fair shot. See where that leads you. Notice how you contribute to making the therapeutic relationship work well or not well.

      If after a while (maybe 5 sessions), it doesn’t feel like the right fit, it’s OK to try someone else.

      Good luck to your friend! -Dr. Chantal

  9. Annika Larson August 18, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    As a family, we have been feeling a little dysfunctional lately. We are considering finding a therapist to help us through family counseling. Like you suggested, we’ll be sure to ask potential therapists about their training and experience.

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