How did you find your therapist?

Ok, maybe I’m semi-seriously thinking about seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a social worker, a life coach, an empowerment specialist, a marriage and family certified counselor, or some similar animal.

It seems to me that even a short stint is a significant investment of money, time, and effort. I don’t want to waste that on someone who is not what I need.

How did you find your (hopefully fabulous) therapist who assisted you in resolving of all your problems so you are now a fully actualized being with inner peace and satisfying intimate relationships who exercises regularly, eats sensibly, does not smoke, does not drink to excess, and only uses the Straight Dope Message Boards in moderation, for higher purposes.

It helps to know what you’re looking for, to some degree. Are you looking for a classical psychoanalyst? Do you believe you suffer from neurochemical issues, and would like someone to address that with medication? Or are you looking for more of a basic counsellor?

Probably word of mouth is the best way, but you probably shouldn’t see a behavioral therapist (as the category is sometimes called) that your best friend sees, just as a privacy-type thing. If you trust your physician, ask them for a recommendation; many will know who’s good and who isn’t. Always get several opinions, if you can.

Most of this probably sounds like common sense. Finding a doctor can be difficult; there is a HUGE amount of variation in approach, quality, etc in this area. If you aren’t satisfied with the doc you get, don’t hesitate to leave. You don’t owe them anything if they aren’t helping.