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how to find the right therapist for me?

It’s important to find a therapist that is right for you. Learn more about finding the right therapist and resources that can help.

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How To Find the Right Therapist for Me?

An important part of making therapy sessions successful is finding the right therapist for your needs. It can seem daunting to find a therapist that is right for you. However, the right resources and looking in the right places will help you choose a therapist that is right for your needs. This article will provide you with a guide for choosing a therapist or counselor and resources that can help. 

When Should You Go to Therapy in the First Place?

There are many reasons why you might want to start therapy. A licensed therapist can treat a variety of conditions including mental health issues, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and emotional disorders. Common signs of when you should start looking for a therapist are:1 

  • Feeling overly stressed or overwhelmed
  • Fatigue that is affecting your daily life
  • Feelings of anger or resentment
  • Panic attacks
  • Having anxious thoughts or worries throughout the day
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling withdrawn from social situations

If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs of needing to get therapy, there are many resources available to find where you can get a therapy session and get help finding the right therapist for your needs. 

Find a Therapist

What Exactly Happens in Therapy?

Before looking for a therapist, it can be helpful to know what happens in therapy. Typically, therapy will progress over a number of sessions and will go through three main phases. The three phases of working with a mental help therapist are the assessment phase, middle phase, and end phase.

Assessment Phase

During the assessment phase of working with a personal therapist, your therapist will begin by learning about what problems you may have and your reasons for beginning therapy. During this phase, your therapist will also answer any questions you may have about therapy or things you are struggling with and may provide you with some initial tips that can help.2

Middle Phase

The middle phase of working with a personal therapist is where you will begin learning coping mechanisms, life skills, and gain other insights into how you can work on your mental health and well-being in your everyday life. This is where most of the benefits will be gained from therapy, and most therapy sessions will take place in the middle phase. 

End Phase

After a client has seen improvements from working with a private therapist, additional therapy sessions may no longer be necessary at a certain point. This is where the end phase begins, and your therapist will begin providing you with closure and may offer additional resources that will lead to long-term success.

What Types of Therapists are These?

When choosing a therapist, it can be helpful to understand the different types of therapists and what they can help with. Understanding the different types of therapists will help with finding the right therapist for you and your personal needs. 


Psychologists typically provide talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, which can help treat a variety of mental health conditions. For those who struggle with more severe mental health conditions, a clinical psychologist may also be helpful.


Psychiatrists provide a similar style of talk therapy as psychologists. However, psychiatrists are medical doctors who are licensed to prescribe medications to their clients. If someone struggles with a mental health condition where medication is required, they will likely be referred to a psychiatrist.

Mental Health Counselors and Therapists

Mental health therapists and counselors help people develop a better relationship with their mental health and emotional well-being. Mental health therapists help clients learn coping strategies and other life skills that help manage  emotions and behaviors more effectively.

These therapists can treat a variety of mental health conditions where therapy may be useful. Finding a therapist for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other more severe mental illnesses is a good idea to get proper treatment and support.

Where Do I Find a Therapist?

There are several places you can start your therapist search. Common ways you can find help choosing a therapist are by:

  • Asking friends or family members
  • Asking someone who is already involved in your health care
  • Checking with professional associations
  • Looking at larger clinics

What Type of Therapy is Right for Me?

When finding a therapist, it’s important to know about different types of therapy and what they help with. Knowing what type of therapy will best treat your condition will help with finding the right therapist for you and getting the best results from therapy sessions. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps clients understand how their thoughts and perceptions affect their behaviors. CBT can help treat a variety of conditions. If you’re looking for a therapist for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, a CBT therapist could be helpful. CBT therapists can also help treat substance abuse and other behavioral disorders.

Interpersonal Therapy

If you’re trying to find a mental health therapist, interpersonal therapy may be a good option. Interpersonal therapy is an approach to treating mental health conditions and behavioral disorders through working on interpersonal relationships. At times, these issues can be caused by troubles within relationships in someone’s life. Working on relationships can in turn help improve someone’s mental well-being.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of behavioral therapy that uses mindfulness techniques to work on mental health issues and behavioral disorders. DBT helps clients learn how to manage stress more effectively, regulate emotions, and create better interpersonal relationships. 

Family-Focused Therapy

Family-focused therapy focuses on problems that are occurring within the family. Family-focused therapy will usually work with family members on skills to better their relationship and help support one another.


Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic technique that focuses on the interaction between the conscious and unconscious mind. By treating both the conscious and unconscious mind, psychoanalysis can help uncover repressed fears and conflicts that someone may be struggling with. 3


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that was designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR therapy uses eye movements during therapy sessions that help alleviate the distress associated with past trauma.4

How Therapy Works

When finding a therapist, it’s important to understand how therapy works so you can figure out which one might be right for you. Therapy sessions will go differently for different types of treatment. 

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy involves working one on one with your therapist. Usually, individual therapy is done through traditional talk therapy where the therapist will ask you questions or bring up different topics that will help you express how you are feeling. Your therapist will also provide you with coping techniques you can use, activities that will build life skills, and a plan for long-term success.

Group Therapy

Group therapy involves therapy sessions where a therapist works with a small group of people. During group therapy sessions, group members will share their experiences and be able to learn from and support each other while being guided by the therapist. 

Couples or Family Therapy

Couples or family therapy involves having family members present who are having relationship issues. Couples or family therapy can help work through relationship problems and create a healthier family support system. 

What Is the Role of the Therapist?

The role of the therapist is to understand the client’s problem, develop an effective treatment plan, and guide the client towards making positive changes in their life. 

Who Can Benefit from Therapy?

Anyone can benefit from therapy, and it can be a good form of mental health care even when someone is not struggling with a specific condition. Therapy can help improve mental well-being, create better relationships, set life goals, or prevent concerns from turning into a larger problem. Therapy can also be used to treat more serious conditions such as severe mental health issues, substance abuse, and behavioral disorders.

How Do I Know if the Therapist is Good (Qualified)? 

There are certain qualifications you can look for to determine if a therapist will get you the best possible results and to make sure they are qualified in their field for what you need help with.

Years of Experience

Therapists with years of experience who have a history of successfully helping clients will likely get you good results. For less experienced therapists, it’s important to look at their educational history and accreditations to determine if they have the proper expertise to successfully treat clients. 

Licensing and Accreditation

This shows that therapists are knowledgeable and understand how to best treat conditions that they specialize in.

Credentials and What They Mean

Knowing what different credentials are and what they mean will help you choose the right therapist for your needs. Some of them include:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): LPCs are doctoral and master’s level mental health care providers. They are trained to work with individuals, families, and groups on a variety of mental health, behavioral, and emotional problems.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): LCSWs are licensed social workers who have a master’s degree and a high level of knowledge in treating mental health conditions. They are licensed to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
  • Psychiatrist (MD): A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is licensed to treat mental health conditions and prescribe medications for mental health treatment.
  • Psychologist (PsyD or Ph.D.): A psychologist is a licensed professional, usually with a master’s or doctoral degree, who can diagnose and treat a variety of mental and behavioral conditions.
  • Licence Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT):  LMFTs are licensed for providing marriage and family therapy. LMFTs have extensive knowledge in treating issues within the family and teaching clients how to build healthier relationships. 
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC): CADCs specialize in alcohol and drug abuse treatment. For those struggling with addiction, working with a CADC can help get you on the right path toward recovery.
  • Certified Career Counselors (CCC): CCCs can help you create a successful plan for your career and get you on the right track towards getting the proper education and job of your dreams.

Find Out More About Therapy at Great Oaks Recovery Center 

If you’re looking for a licensed therapist in the Houston, Texas area, Great Oaks can help. Great Oaks is a treatment center that specializes in recovery from substance abuse and mental health conditions. Our knowledgeable therapists on staff are trained to effectively treat a variety of conditions and can help you get on the right track towards recovery. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you.



Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.