Congratulations on deciding to see a therapist to help you with your problem! That alone can be a huge step. It can take great courage to talk about deeply personal issues with a stranger, but that outside perspective (particularly with someone who has the training to help) can make a huge difference in your life.

Some therapists specialize in particular issues, while others have the training that allows them to successfully assist people across multiple areas. If you are not sure which therapist to try, here are some suggestions:

Solicit Recommendations

Do you have any friends or family who have had therapy? If so, who did they see? What did they like or dislike about that person? Did they find the sessions helpful and have they turned a corner as a result? Everyone is different, so you may not find the perfect person here, but this approach can provide a good start.

Talk to Them

Some therapists offer a free consultation, but that is unusual. However, they should be willing to talk to you for a few minutes on the phone. Ask them about their backgrounds, their success rate in helping people with your issue, whether they are licensed, and what their fee is.

Initial Appointment

If you decide to go with this person, set up an appointment. The first appointment you have with a therapist can be draining as he or she will be asking a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to be candid about what is going on in your life as this will help the therapist decide the best course of action for your treatment.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Switch

You should know within 2-3 sessions whether you are clicking with someone. If you feel that connection is not there, don’t be afraid to try someone else. You wouldn’t keep taking your car to a mechanic that was not doing a good job, so why continue to see a therapist who you feel is not helping? Don’t worry, you won’t be hurting their feelings.