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Posted on: November 7, 2019 | Dr. Todd Thatcher

Deciding to seek help is a big, important step in your personal journey of healing. This is usually the hardest part of the process. That is until you actually need to find the right kind of help. When it comes to therapy, there are a lot of options and it is not a one size fits all situation. What works for some people might not work for you and vice versa. And that’s okay. Finding the right therapist can take time and, for some, can be a frustrating process. However, at Highland Springs Specialty Clinic, we have many professionals with experience in many different areas, so we know how to help you find what you’re looking for. If you’re ready to seek help, we’re ready to help with the process. So, here is what you need to know about choosing the right mental health therapist for you.

Start With Research

The first step is research, research, research. There are a lot of aspects you need to decide before diving into therapy, such as what you are seeking help with, the credentials of the therapist, and what kind of treatment you’re interested in. To start you off on the right foot, let’s breakdown what the credentials mean.

  • LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor) – This credential typically requires an advanced degree and training. With this training, LCPC’s have a broader field of mental health therapy methods.
  • LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) – As the name suggests, this counselor focuses on marriage and family counseling and the dynamics within that. They specialize in problems exclusively relating to families and marriage.
  • LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) – Similar to an LCPC, their training focuses more on a social work aspect. However, they can provide traditional therapy and still work directly with patients focused on mental health.
  • QSUDP (Qualified Substance Use Disorder Professionals) – Exclusive to Idaho, this practice is focused on substance use, so they typically specialize as an alcohol and drug counselor. To become a QSUDP, you must already be an LCSW, LMFT, or have another qualifying credential.
  • CMHC (Clinical Mental Health Counselor) – Similar to LCPC, this also requires additional education and supervised training. They can also specialize in a variety of areas and provide different counseling.
  • APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) – This is a nurse who has completed a master’s, post-master’s certificate, or practice-focused doctor of nursing practice degree and they focus on mental health.
  • PMHNP (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practioner) – As an advanced registered nurse, they are able to provide a wide range of mental health services as well as prescribe medications.
  • FNP (Family Nurse Practioner) – Similarly to APRN and PMHNP, this is another advanced nursing degree with a focus on mental health therapy services.
  • MAC (Master Addiction Counselor) – Last but not least, this credential is similar to QSUDP, but is not exclusive to Idaho. They focus on treating substance use issues and addictions.

This may seem a little overwhelming, but understanding credentials can help you narrow down what type of therapist you’re looking for. If you’re looking for family counseling, then an LMFT would be the most beneficial or if you are looking for a more traditional therapist, an LCPC or CMHC would be a good fit. Finding the right mental health therapist may take some trial and error, but you will find the right one.

Exploring a DBT or EMDR Therapist

If you’ve already sought therapy in the past, you may have a good idea of what types of treatment you’re interested in. DBT and EMDR are two popular treatment options and are useful in treating issues such as trauma, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety. When reading bios for prospective therapists, note whether or not they specialize in these services. If you’re trying to decide between a few different therapists, these specialties may help tip the scales and make your decision easier.

EMDR Therapist's hands handshaking a patient of addiction and anxiety

Test Your Connection

Once you’ve found a therapist that may be a viable option, take note of your connection on the first visit. While your mental health therapist doesn’t have to be your best friend, you should feel comfortable talking and sharing with them. During your initial visit, don’t be afraid to ask them about their treatment philosophy and any other important questions. For therapy to be successful, you should never feel like you need to hold anything back and need to be as comfortable as possible. After the appointment, take a moment to yourself to reflect on how you felt, if you felt they were sincere and if you feel you could speak openly to them without judgment. It’s important to remember that not every therapist will be a good fit and that is perfectly fine.

Don’t Be Afraid to Keep Looking

Not every therapist is going to be right for you, and that’s just the name of the game. However, don’t be discouraged. While finding the right therapist may take some time, once you do find the right one it will all be worth it. Unless you feel truly comfortable, you can’t begin your journey to find happiness and healing. The most important thing you need to know about finding a therapist is it takes time and patience, but will always benefit you in the long run. At Highland Springs Specialty Clinic, we have a variety of behavioral health therapists in Utah and Idaho that are ready to help you. With many locations across the Intermountain West, we have something for everybody. To learn more or schedule a confidential counseling appointment, feel free to contact us today and let us help you find happiness again.

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