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How to choose a therapist

Have you ever thought that you needed a helping hand with an area of your life or fancied trying a new therapy that you heard about but just don’t know where to start to find the right therapist for you?

If so, then join a large number of people who feel the same way. In this article I will explore how to choose a therapist and give a guide on some areas you may want to check.

There are a few different ways that you can choose your therapist, but a great place to start your search is with a regulatory body (this may be a voluntary regulation depending on the therapy). Members of regulatory bodies will need to comply with key minimum standards of practice.

There are also professional associations and registers where you can find details of therapists. Again these normally require some minimum standards of practice. For example the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council provides a voluntary regulation for complementary therapist, The Hypnotherapy Association or the General Hypnotherapy Register are examples of professional Hypnotherapy bodies.

You could ‘Phone a friend’ or more accurately get a personal referral. This is a great way to find a therapist.

Some of you will be old enough to remember a telephone book called the 'Yellow Pages'. This has been mainly superseded by the internet, and you can use an internet search engine to find a practitioner for you. It will be helpful to know what therapy (e.g. Hypnotherapy) or problem resolution (e.g. Phobia) you are looking for at this point as a search for Holistic or Complementary will return a very large number of results (5,390,000!). You could go to a directory style site like yell.com (the yellow pages on line). Keep in mind that the results that are returned are influenced by marketing and other factors, so the first in the list is not necessarily the best. Personally I would not use this as my first means of selecting someone; more as a means to get a feel for a person and what they offer… do they specialise in what I need? (E.g. helping me to give up smoking)

Social media (Facebook/Instagram/etc.) provides a number of other ways  to find therapists. As with the internet search above I would use social media to get a feel for a person and what they offer.

You may also have come across Groupon (or other discount brokers) offers. These offers are normally used to attract new clients and can be great value. If you see an offer for something you are interested in then use internet to check them out. Also don’t be afraid to approach the person directly for the same offer … you will in effect be saving them money as well as getting a great offer yourself.

On their own each of the options above are interesting and useful, but in combination they give you a good rounded profile. So having narrowed it down where next? 

Choose the first one or two that feel best for you and make contact. Most therapist offer no obligation free or reduced fee introductory sessions or chats. You can use this session to meet them and find out what they are like. This will enable you to decide if you like them or not. If you don’t that is OK. It may just mean that this is not the right person for you. So try someone else.

At your first session check:-

·         Professional Memberships

·         Insurance

Ask them about :-

·         Their ongoing training (this is to ensure they are up to date and engaged with their profession)

·         Their profession standards

 but most important of all (whether it is your first or 40th session).....

Do you like them? Get on with them? Feel comfortable with them? Trust them? Feel safe with them and (if appropriate for the therapy) feel you can open up to them?

Trust your gut instinct.

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