Thinking about reaching out for therapy? And you’re not sure whether you should take the next steps or where to turn to? At The Lighthouse – Le Phare, we know that making that first call, or sending that first email is not easy.
Here are some tips to make your first steps toward your healing journey a little easier:
- Take the time to choose a therapist that is right for you. You can ask friends and family for referrals. Or, you can do a web search and start from there. Read our profiles on directories such as Psychology Today and comb through our websites and blogs. Look for someone who talks about the population they serve as well as their philosophy of working with clients.
- We humans are visual creatures and photos tell a story. Usually pictures accompany clinician profiles. Look for appropriateness. For example, while glamour shots, seductive poses and sunglasses have their time and place, they don’t convey what you are looking for in a therapist. When you consider their photo, listen to your intuition and ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable sharing the most intimate details of your life with this person.
- Consider gender, ethnic/racial background and group affiliations. Depending on your personal identity and past experiences, this may be important to you. There’s nothing wrong with having a preference. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapist.
- Narrow down your list to 2 or 3 and call us. Ask us about our speciality, where we went to school, what our credentials are and whether we have the kind of experience you are looking for. If religion and spirituality are an important part of your life, you will want to ask how we incorporate these dimensions in our practice. You can even ask us if we’ve ever been in therapy ourselves. Having done our own work as therapists is essential to being able to accompany our clients well on their own journey.
- What about approach or theoretical orientation? Unless you are well versed in psychology, this can get tricky. There are so many approaches and orientations that listing and explaining them would make this post more like a book. A good question to ask is “what is your approach and how do you tailor it to your client’s needs”. What’s important here, is to know that within a few sessions your therapist will be able to properly assess where you are at and be able to make a plan with you, including goals to work toward, to help you get better.
- Listen and notice. How did you feel reading the therapist’s profile? What’s your overall impression of their photos and website ? When you talked to them, did you feel heard and understood? During your first appointment, how did you feel?You may decide after a few appointments that you and your therapist aren’t a good fit. This happens and it’s normal. Don’t let it deter you from continuing to work on yourself and heal. Though sometimes awkward, it’s good to discuss this with your therapist and even ask for a referral to someone they think might be a better suited to your needs. Most of us have done this before and we want what’s best for you. If you would like more information on how we at The Lighthouse – Le Phare can help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, (613) 371-6778 if you are in the Ottawa Valley, and 1-800-280-2149 throughout Ontario.