Choosing a Therapist
There are two main kinds of criteria for choosing a therapist: therapist qualities and practical matters.
Practical matters include:
* Location: can you get to the therapist’s office?
* Fee: [a] can you afford what the therapist charges, or [b] will your health insurance cover part or all of the cost, or [c] will the therapist reduce his/her fee for you?
* Times: is the therapist available at times you can go?
Desirable therapist qualities include
* Training: Does the therapist have relevant clinical training? This might come from a clinical degree or advanced training in psychotherapy from a postgraduate training institute
* Supervision: Has the therapist had individual supervision in the treatment of psychological problems from recognized supervisors?
* Personal Therapy: Has the therapist worked on his or her own issues through psychotherapy? This has at least two important aspects  He or she has participated in the process from the side that you are considering and understands what it feels like to be a patient, and  He or she has [hopefully] resolved enough of his or her own issues so that they are less likely to get in the way of understanding and helping you.
* Experience: How experienced is the therapist?
* Flexibility: Does the therapist seem to be open to working with you on the issues that you need to address? Does he or she seem in a rush to give you answers without knowing the complete story? Is he or she able to use a variety of therapeutic ideas and techniques to help you?
* Empathy: Does the therapist listen well, and do you feel understood?
* Warmth and Availability: Are you comfortable with him or her?
Making the Choice
* You may be able to answer some of the practical questions about a therapist in an initial telephone call – questions like location and time availability, and you may be able to make some guesses about therapist qualities as well.
* Other people can sometimes provide useful information that will help you make a choice – a friend who knows some therapists or who has a reaction to one or more of the therapists on the list; or a religious leader or medical person.
* However, psychotherapy involves creating a relationship with a new person, and you may not have clear feelings about some of these issues until you have met with the therapist at least once, and possibly more than once.