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How to find a therapist: Table of Contents and Introduction

I'm going to take you on a journey. Not through space and time, but through … the process of finding a therapist! Before we get started, I want to say *insert motivational music* finding the right therapist may take time and feel overwhelming, but I’m here to help make some sense of the arduous process!

When I started writing this blog, I thought I would be able to wrap it up in one post with a neat little bow. How wrong I was. When I got writing, I realised how much actually goes into finding a therapist, so I decided to break it into parts. I also realised there is some terminology that would be helpful to define, but there wasn't really a good spot to define it, so I made this post a glossary and table of contents.

What to know before you start reading.

  • I’m a clinical psychologist in Australia, so I’ll be using Australian terminology and talking about Australian regulations etc. I’ll try my hardest to make this post helpful for people outside of Australia as well, and a lot of this can be applied to psychology in general wherever you are, but some things won’t be applicable everywhere. If I talk about funding, for example, things may be very different in your country. I’ll try to highlight when something might be specific to Australia, but be aware that there may be differences throughout the post. On top of that, much of my work in the field has been in New South Wales, which may sometimes be different to other states. I only say this so you can keep it in mind. I don’t profess to be the holder of all information, and I am, from time to time, wrong, so if someone tells you otherwise, engage your critical thinking hat; don’t blindly rely on this information.

  • I might cover some information about psychiatry (in Australia) in the future, specifically the process for ADHD assessment (possibly leading to medication) and diagnosis, however that will be somewhat separate, as it is more specific in nature. Comment if this is something you’d be interested in.

Terminology definitions that will be helpful:

  • I’ll be using the term “therapist” and “therapy” a bit, so I want to define what I mean by that. Different countries have different terms, but in this post, “therapist” can include counsellors, therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, and many other mental health professionals. When I say therapist, I don’t necessarily mean their qualifications; I just mean someone who is engaging a client in a therapeutic intervention of some kind, and when I say “therapy” I mean the therapeutic intervention that they are engaging in.

  • “A good fit” will be discussed… The most concise definition of my version of “a good fit” can be boiled down to the following:

    • The therapist is someone you feel comfortable talking to, and you feel heard and understood.

    • You have a sense that the therapist's way of working will get you moving in the direction you need to go.

    • When you see your therapist, you work on what you feel will be helpful.

    • Overall, the therapist feels right. Some therapists are good for some and not others.

    • P.S. Learning your “good fit” may take a few therapists to really know how it feels, but most therapists are happy for you to return to them if you try someone else and realise that the past therapist was actually what you needed and you just didn’t know how that felt.

With that aside, let’s get started on the meaty stuff of how to prepare for therapy.

1.      Figuring out what you need and want from therapy.

2.      Knowing what therapy is not.

3.      What types of therapy fit different needs (and what the names and letters are). Broken roughly into three categories:

a.    Client-directed therapies

b.    Cognitive therapies

c.     Specific treatment

4.      What this all means and a summary

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