The first step in any therapeutic relationship is finding your therapist. Finding a therapist that works for you in any capacity can be tricky because therapy is so personal. If you’re looking for a therapist for a specific issue like trauma, there are even more factors to consider. Some of the things to consider are the training and experience of the therapist, the approach they would use during therapy, and your overall level of comfort with the person providing therapy.
Remember, finding a therapist that is the right fit for you is not a foolproof process, and it may require some trial and error. Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking for a trauma therapist in particular.
Find a referral
If you feel comfortable asking people you know, this is a good place to start. You can ask people whose opinions you trust and value, like friends, family, your physician, someone in your spiritual community, or someone else. You don’t have to be super specific when asking people you know for therapist recommendations – just that you’re looking for a therapist and you trust their perspective.
One thing to be careful of when seeking a referral like this is to make sure the therapist that is recommended to you has the credentials and experience to treat your trauma – everyone has different specialties, so keep that in mind. Of course, if you do not feel comfortable asking anyone you know for assistance with this, that is perfectly fine!
You can use this step in addition to asking for referrals, or on its own. While you can simply google therapists in your area, you can also use directories that are specific to therapy. There are many online directories for therapists that you can use to help your search. These directories will help you weed out any non-therapists, where Google might not. You can usually filter your search in these directories to only include therapists that are in your area, therapists with certain credentials, and types of insurance taken. You can browse different therapists in your area to come up with a list of people you’d like to reach out to. Some directories to look at are Psychology Today,Therapy For Black Girls, Good Therapy, and PsychCentral.
Keep an eye out for credentials. Like we mentioned in our post about finding a grief counselor, pay careful attention to the credentials of your potential therapist. Coaching and counseling is not the same thing, so make sure that the therapist you’re looking at has valid credentials to administer therapy.
Know what types of treatments are used in trauma therapy
Is your therapist trained in trauma-informed care? According to Psychology Today, “Trauma-Informed Care is not about specific therapeutic techniques—it is an overall approach, a philosophy of providing care.” Even if the therapist you’ve found has great credentials, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the skills or experience to help you work through trauma. It may help to be aware of the treatments that are used to treat clients with trauma. According to the American Psychological Association, PTSD treatments include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Cognitive Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, and Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). You can learn more about these types of therapy here.
Once you have some names of therapists to get in contact with, make a list of questions you’d like to ask them. It can be hard to get a full picture of a therapist from their online profile or website, so it can be helpful to ask them questions to better determine if they’ll be a good fit for you. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them questions, it may be a sign that they aren’t a good fit for you. It’s okay for you to ask questions of your potential therapist to find out what approach they take to therapy and how they would be able to help you.
Make sure to include questions about training, experience, and approach in your list. These can be questions like:
- What kind of training and experience do you have with this type of problem?
- How would treatment work for someone with my problem?
- Have you worked with people with this problem before?
- Are you comfortable working with people with this problem?
- How do you plan to help me achieve my goals?
- What can you help me with?
- Is there anything you cannot help me with?
After you’ve asked the potential therapist questions, ask yourself some questions to determine how you feel about working with them. You can ask questions like:
- Does it seem like this person is able to provide the treatment I need?
- Do I feel comfortable with this person?
- Was this person respectful, helpful, and trustworthy?
- Would I feel safe working on this issue with this person?
Once you have answers to these questions, you will likely have a good idea of whether the therapist is a good fit for you. If you need to, you can keep searching until you find someone who is right for you – it doesn’t always happen on the first try. However, it is worth it to keep looking until you find someone who you connect with.
Are you a trauma survivor? Look no further. Grief Recovery Center is here. You can reach us at (832) 413-2410 or by filling out the form on our website.