Searching for a therapist can be an overwhelming process. Find YOUR therapist using these easy steps!
Write out your reasons for seeking therapy. A simple, concise, bullet-point list will come in handy later in this process. Do you struggle with racing thoughts? Difficulty sleeping? Frequent arguments with your spouse? Trouble setting boundaries? People pleasing?
Consider the type of therapist. There are three major designations of mental health professionals in Ontario:
Registered Psychotherapist: master’s level therapists who specialize in various forms of talk therapy and focus on treatment of mental health concerns. No diagnosis needed for treatment and prospective clients can self-refer.
Clinical Psychologist: PhD level therapists who can offer assessments and diagnoses (i.e., ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder), as well as talk therapy. Many psychologists accept self-referrals.
Psychiatrist: Medical Doctors (MD) who are able to assess, diagnose, and prescribe medication for significant mood disorders (Borderline Personality disorder, Bipolar disorder, Panic disorder). Sometimes offer talk therapy. Fees are covered by OHIP and referrals from a family physician are required to seek psychiatry services.
Hit the Google! Psychologytoday.ca is a great place to start. Psychology Today is an online directory of mental health professionals who’ve chosen this platform to advertise their services. Psychology Today has many filters that can help narrow down your search, which can be extremely helpful if you’re seeking a therapist who is well versed in what you need. Therapists post their specialties, areas of treatment, and community focus (LGBTQ+, BIPOC, Religious preferences).
Set up a 15-minute free phone consultation with a few therapists who seem to offer what you need. Shopping for therapists is a very normal and important process: not everyone is going to be right for you, and that is OK!
Here are a few great questions to ask during the consultation. This is where that list of reasons to seek therapy comes in handy!
“Have you ever offered treatment for x concerns?”
“How do you offer feedback or demonstrate signs of progress?”
“What does success look like in therapy for you?”
“What is your therapy style?”
“What does a typical session look like for you?”
*You’re also welcome to ask questions about training, schooling, and years’ of experience if that helps guide your decision!
Shop around! Ensure you find the right fit for you. Remember, therapy is a relationship - not every therapist will be your cup of tea! One of the most important markers of progress in therapy is the therapeutic alliance, which is a positive and healthy relationship between therapist and client.