Choosing the Right Therapist
So you have decided to get some help to deal with a problem. Great.
You may know exactly what kind of help you need. Or you may have no idea what kind of therapy would be best for you. In that case, do some research.
There are lots of different kinds of therapy available, some being more interactive than others. There is lots of information available on the internet, and it will save you time, money and effort if you do some research before embarking on any kind of therapy. Be honest with yourself about what will suit your personality and your problem best, and consider factors such as cost and the length of commitment you will realistically need. Consider whether you are willing to look back to try to identify the root cause of the problem, or if you want a therapy which will look forwards only, such as CBT or solution focused hypnotherapy. I offer a client both options, but will always encourage trying to identify the root cause, and then move forwards once that has been dealt with.
Once you have decided which kind of therapist to look for, ask for recommendations if possible from someone you know and trust.
When you have identified the kind of therapy and a potential therapist, check out the therapists'credentials. Hypnotherapy for eg. is currently an unregulated profession in the UK unfortunately, and anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist. It dismays me to see online courses claiming to teach you how to conduct hypnosis and hypnotherapy in just a few hours. For hypnotherapy, check out whether the therapist is registered with the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) as both of these organisations will only accept members who have carried out a minimum period of training with an accredited training provider, and who adhere strictly to a code of standards and ethics. You can be confident any therapist on the CNHC register is properly qualified and competent.
Try to speak to the therapist on the phone before you commit to an appointment. You will get a feel for whether you will have rapport. Rapport is an essential element of any therapy. Without it, it is unlikely you will have the trust necessary to proceed with the therapy successfully. It is the therapists job to build rapport, but if you feel from a telephone conversation that you may not 'gel' then it is worth considering speaking to someone else.
Don't be afraid to question your therapist. Any programme should be discussed and agreed with you in advance, and you should never feel pressured into taking any steps you are not comfortable to take. This may change as the therapy progresses. Ask in advance what to expect at the first session, and what will be expected of you.
Bear in mind that however embarrassed or ashamed you may be of something that has happened in your life, or of your own behaviour, it is unlikely your therapist has not come across similar before. A therapist will never judge you.
Above all, trust your gut feelings. If you are not entirely comfortable don't proceed, it's likely that the therapy won't be successful. Of course there may be some perfectly natural feelings of apprehension; seeking help for a problem is a big step for most people, but it is important that you feel trust and confidence in your therapist.
Finally - good luck.