Questions to ask yourself when choosing a therapist

What’s most important in a therapist or counsellor is whether they provide you with a sense of connection, a safe environment and are supportive. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it seem like the therapist truly cares about you and your problems?
  • Do you feel as if the therapist understands you?
  • Does the therapist accept you for who you are?
  • Would you feel comfortable revealing personal information to this individual?
  • Do you feel as if you can be honest and open with this therapist? That you don’t have to hide or pretend you’re someone that you’re not?
  • Is the therapist a good listener? Does he or she listen without interrupting, criticising, or judging? Do they pick up on your feelings and what you’re really saying? Do they make you feel heard?

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Types of Therapy

Therapists and counsellors

The following types of mental health professionals  will have advanced training in therapy and are certified by their respective boards. Many professional organisations provide online searches for qualified professionals. You may also want to double check with your regional regulatory board to confirm the therapist’s license is current and that there are no ethical violations listed.

However, keep in mind that lay counselors -members of the clergy, life coaches, etc. - may be able to provide you with a supportive, listening ear. It’s not always the credentials that determine the quality of the therapy.

Common types of mental health professionals

Psychologist — Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and are licensed in clinical psychology.

Social worker — Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) have a Master's degree in social work (MSW) along with additional clinical training.

Marriage and Family Therapist — Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) have a Master's degree and clinical experience in marriage and family therapy.

Psychiatrist — A psychiatrist is a physician (M.D. or D.O.) who specialises in mental health, and is a medical doctor, able to prescribe medication.