Reaching out to a therapist is a great step to take toward your mental health goals, but finding the right one can feel overwhelming. There are so many therapists in West Hollywood, and it’s hard to know who to call. Everyone has different needs, preferences, and priorities. But choosing a counselor is a personal decision. To find a good fit, you should be patient and thorough in your search.
Consider Your Needs
When you start your search for a therapist, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Think about your own needs, wants, and priorities.
The first thing you have to do before searching for a therapist is understand why you’re seeking therapy. You don’t need to have perfect insight into your psyche, but you should have a general idea of your goals.
Maybe your doctor recommended seeing a therapist to help with symptoms of depression, or maybe you want to learn coping skills for managing stress. Different therapists have different areas of expertise, so identifying your goals can help you narrow down your search.
Therapist fees vary widely. Therapy sessions in West Hollywood typically cost around $200, but you should ask a therapist about their rates before you schedule a session so that there are no surprises.
Your therapist might offer a sliding pay scale, which can be helpful if you’re on a tight budget. Your insurance company may cover visits with a therapist, too. In many cases, insurance will cover a certain number of therapy sessions if you get a referral from your GP. Not all therapists accept every insurance plan, though, so it’s important to clarify with your therapist beforehand.
Location and Scheduling
You probably won’t want to travel far out of your way to see your therapist. Even if a counselor seems like a great fit, driving a long distance to get there can be an added source of stress in your life, which won’t help you reach your therapeutic goals. Try to find a therapist whose office is within a reasonable distance of your home or work.
Consider your schedule, too. Figure out which days and times would be best for you to meet with a therapist, and look for someone who is available during that window.
What to Look for in a Therapist
Once you’ve narrowed down your search based on your goals, schedule, and budget, you can look more closely into therapists. No two therapists are exactly the same, so your experience may vary depending on who you choose. It can be hard to know whether or not a particular therapist will be a good fit for you, but there are a few things you can look at to get a better idea.
Therapist Degree and Qualifications
A qualified therapist has an advanced degree and a license to practice. Not all therapists have the same educational background, though. There are several educational routes therapists-in-training can take, and their background may influence their practice.
A clinical psychologist has earned either a PhD or a PsyD. A PhD is the traditional doctorate degree in psychology. It focuses heavily on research and theory, and it usually takes between five and eight years to complete. A PsyD focuses more on clinical practice and less on research, and the program usually takes about four years.
Some therapists earn a master’s degree instead of a doctorate. Students who earn a master’s in mental health counseling, complete a certain amount of supervised practice, and pass a licensing exam can become licensed professional clinical counselors, or LPCCs.
Marriage and family therapy is another common graduate degree for mental health professionals. The process for becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist, or LMFT, is very similar to the process for LPCCs. Although their training focuses on counseling for families and couples, most LMFTs provide individual therapy services as well.
You could also have therapy with a licensed clinical social worker, or LCSW. These therapists have a master’s degree in social work with an emphasis on clinical practice. Like LPCCs and LMFTs, LCSWs complete many hours of supervised practice and take a licensing exam before they practice independently.
All of these degrees have their differences, so therapist with a PsyD may not have exactly the same style as an LCSW. You may prefer to work with a therapist who has a doctorate, or you may like the approach LMFTs take.
However, one counseling degree or qualification isn’t objectively better than another. If your therapist has one of these licenses, you can trust that they have the education and experience to back up their practice. What’s most important is that their license is valid and up-to-date in the state of California.
Your therapist may use one of several treatment models. When you first speak with a therapist, you can ask them to describe their style or philosophy. You may not know exactly what model of therapy you’re looking for, but go with your gut. If you feel drawn to a particular therapeutic approach, look for a counselor who utilizes it.
Your therapist may be a strong believer in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which emphasizes the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Some counselors take a humanistic approach, which is all about embracing free will and maximizing your potential. Others may prefer the psychodynamic model, which focuses on your unconscious thoughts and feelings and most importantly, the root causes of your distress.
Questions to Ask
Before you commit to working with a therapist, take some time to get to know them and their practice. Here are some questions you can ask your potential therapist:
• What is your area of expertise?
• What style of therapy do you practice?
• Do you see a lot of clients who have similar concerns as I do?
• How would you describe a successful therapy experience?
• How do you assess progress?
Try More Than One Therapist
The first therapist you work with may not be the perfect fit, and that’s okay. Give it a few weeks to see if you settle in, but don’t feel like you have to keep seeing a therapist if you’re not making progress. Everyone is different, so not everyone will thrive with every therapist.
Patience is key in finding the best therapist for your needs. You may have to work with several counselors before you find the right one, but when you do, it will be worth it.
Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers counseling services for a wide variety of mental health concerns. They also have a number of therapists, so you can likely find one that matches your style and specialty. Whatever your goals or needs are, we can connect you with a therapist on our team who can help. If you’re looking for a therapist in West Hollywood, contact us today.