It's Hard to Find the Right Therapist

Starting therapy is hard.

Most of us are busy. It’s hard to make time for something as amorphous as “mental health”.  (Optimal mental health saves lots and lots of time. The investment on the front end saves time on the backend.)

Most of us are tired.  We know that therapy will require emotional resources that we may feel too fatigued to rally.  (It is hard sometimes. Truly. But it’s also worth it. Note: Your therapist should adapt the pace to fit with what you can manage.)

Even when we can compel ourselves beyond these obstacles, most of us are afraid.  We fear what we might find out through therapy. Many clients worry that they will discover something inherently and terribly wrong with them.  (You’re pretty normal because we are all a little messed up. Stop stressing. Come in.)

Other clients worry that once they open up their pain, they won’t be able to close it back up again to function in daily life. They prefer to keep it boxed up, painful but safe. (Our job is to help you unpack pain in a safe way that doesn’t excessively disrupt your life.  Seriously, come on in.)

Others worry that if they begin to get better through therapy, that there will be consequences to their daily lives they are not quite ready for.  Perhaps they know they are not satisfied in their <insert work, relationship, etc> and talking about it will force them to acknowledge this and therefore make a change. (It’s true, change is sometimes an outcome of therapy.  It can be scary. But without change, things will stay the same. And that can be far scarier.)

One very practical concern that many would-be-clients have is, “Where to start”?

I don’t mean, “Where do I start in telling my story”. I mean, “Where do I start in trying to find a therapist”.

When we have a medical malady, we understand that there are general physicians and there are specialists.  We usually start with our everyday doctor and ask for recommendations about the right kind of specialist.

We don’t have something like this in the world of psychology. We rely on each individual therapist to be good “generalists” (able to treat most basic issues) and to be knowledgable enough in the specialty areas to know when to refer a client to someone with different skills.

I think most of us do a good job referring to another practitioner when the therapy issue is something clearly outside of our regular practice. For example, Substance Abuse (when the primary issue) requires very specific skills.  The same is true for certain Eating Disorders.  Or Complex Trauma.

Where I think many good therapists go wrong is believing that the MODEL of therapy they use is the right fit for every client.  While most are good at referring for symptoms, we are not always skilled at referring according to the root of the symptoms.

For example, someone who comes to treatment with anxiety symptoms might benefit from an Interpersonal Therapist or a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist or a Behavioral Therapist or an endocrinologist…all depending on where the symptoms come from.

A good generalist can do an assessment that helps them determine the root of the symptoms and therefore a treatment plan that is most likely to resolve the issue. Sometimes we just need a generalist psychologist to help us sort out the type of practitioner that is the right fit for our ongoing therapy.

If you need this kind of consultation, please feel free to get in touch. Leave me a message with your name, number and a good time to call you back. 561-508-8559.  I am able to provide this help to residents of Florida, and folks living abroad (call or email me for specifics about the country you are residing in as they each have different regulations). You may email me as well:

Please do not leave clinical information on voicemail or discuss it over email. These means of communicating cannot be guaranteed to be confidential.  Let’s use them only for scheduling time to talk.