Key Takeaways

  • Despite increased access to mental healthcare thanks to teletherapy, finding the right therapist for you can still be a frustrating process.
  • The right therapist isn’t just someone who takes your insurance and who has openings in their schedule. You also want to find someone who makes you feel seen, heard, and supported.
  • Rula’s teletherapy platform was built to make finding the right therapist easy. Our streamlined matching process can help you find an in-network therapist who fits everything that matters most to you.
Let’s start with the good news about mental health. Teletherapy is becoming increasingly popular, creating more convenient ways to access mental healthcare. And, it’s getting easier to speak openly about mental health challenges as the stigma around getting treatment slowly continues to fade.   Yet even though all these things are true, finding the right therapist can still feel like an uphill battle. There are so many variables that come into play and finding a provider who checks all the boxes can be an exhausting process. You ideally want to find someone who takes your insurance, treats the condition(s) you live with, and who has openings that fit your busy schedule.  And, you also have to find a therapist you feel like you can really open up to and who you can see yourself trusting fully. This intangible connection is a critical piece of the therapy puzzle because research shows that your relationship with your therapist can shape the outcomes of therapy. 

How to assess potential fit when searching for a therapist

The relationship between a therapist and client, also known as the therapeutic relationship, is unlike any other. And what works for one client in terms of communication style or treatment method might not work for the next person.  Shopping around for a new therapist can be a time-consuming process. But know that this time is an investment in yourself and finding the right therapist will be worth it in the long run.  To assess a potential fit when searching for a therapist, start with the basics. Once you’ve determined that a therapist accepts your insurance and is taking new clients, reflect on what you’re looking for and ask yourself which of the following criteria are most important to you:
  • Individual, couples, or family: Are you looking for someone to work with you individually? Or are you looking for someone to support you as a couple or family?
  • Specializations: Do you want to see a therapist who specializes in a specific mental health concern such as depression, anxiety, or trauma?
  • Therapist background: Would you be more comfortable partnering with a therapist of a certain race, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious or cultural background?
  • Rule-outs: Are there any major “rule-outs” that would prevent you from wanting to work with a certain therapist?
As you browse therapist profiles and begin reaching out to them, know that most therapists will welcome any questions you may have about their background, experience, and treatment style.  Let them know exactly what you’re looking for, express any concerns you may have, and don’t be afraid to pass on anyone that doesn’t feel like a fit. 

How to assess fit in an initial session

If you’ve never been to therapy before, you might be curious about what will happen during your first session. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous at the beginning of the process. One thing to keep in mind as you approach your initial session is that this session will be a bit different than the rest.  At first, your therapist will be asking you lots of questions to get a better understanding of your background, what’s bringing you to therapy, and what you hope to gain from treatment. Later on in therapy, sessions will be less directive. Your therapist will encourage you to share the concerns, problems, events, thoughts, and emotions you’d like to discuss, and help you connect those back to the goals you have for therapy. So while you’ll be answering many questions during your first therapy session, remember that this is a time for you to ask questions too. For example, if you’re curious about any of the following, don’t be afraid to speak up. It can also help to write your questions down ahead of time so you don’t forget anything.
  • Activities: What types of activities do you usually incorporate into therapy? 
  • Change: What do you believe about how change works?
  • Homework: Will you give me any therapy “homework” at the end of our sessions?
  • Bringing others: What happens if I’d like to bring a friend, partner, or family member with me to therapy?
  • Contact policy: What do I do if I need to speak with you outside of our scheduled sessions?
  • Teletherapy and privacy: If we’re meeting for our sessions remotely, how do you handle issues like privacy and confidentiality?
  • If something isn’t working: Let’s say something isn’t working for me in a session or I’m getting uncomfortable. What should I do?
  • Experience with similar clients: Do you have any experience working with clients whose background is similar to mine?
  • Session duration and cadence: How often do you think I should attend sessions and how long will each session last?
  • Conditions and populations: Are there any mental health conditions you don’t treat or populations you don’t work with?
  • Progress: How will we check in on my progress?
Of course, these are just a few examples of questions that might be helpful to ask during your first therapy session. You can ask any questions that feel important to you to help ensure a good therapist-client fit.

How to assess fit as you progress through therapy 

Taking the time to review therapist profiles and ask questions before and during your first session can go a long way in helping you find the right therapist. But as you progress in therapy, it’s essential to continue to assess whether your therapist is the right fit.  As is the case in other important relationships, your needs might shift throughout your experience with your therapist. And just because someone is an excellent therapist doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily the best provider for you.  If you’re feeling unsure about continuing to see your current therapist, consider the following questions to help you decide how to move forward:
  • Feeling stuck: Are you feeling stuck in therapy? Are you no longer seeing positive results from the work you’re doing in sessions?
  • Feeling uncomfortable: Has your therapist said anything that makes you feel uncomfortable? 
  • Understanding: Do you feel seen and understood by your therapist?
  • Connection outside of therapy: Have you discovered a personal or professional connection to your therapist that could compromise your relationship?
  • Therapist oversharing: Do you feel like your therapist makes themselves the center of your sessions? Do they overshare personal details with you?
  • Goals misaligned: Are your goals for your sessions misaligned? Is your therapist guiding your sessions in an unhelpful direction?
  • Gut feeling: Is something just “off?” Is your gut telling you that it’s time to stop seeing this therapist?
  • End therapy vs. switch provider: Are you ready to end therapy altogether? Or are you just ready to change therapists?
It takes strength, courage, and vulnerability to peel back the layers of our lives and confront our challenges in therapy. Your therapist should be your guide throughout this process, supporting you with empathy along the way. Part of their role is to answer questions and provide feedback about your work together.  So if you’re beginning to question whether or not your therapist is the right fit for you, talk to them about your concerns. They can help you decide if it makes sense to navigate through whatever discomfort you’re feeling or bring your time in therapy with them to a close. They can even make a referral for a different therapist in your network who might be a better fit for you.

How Rula can help

Finding the right therapist can be difficult. When you’re looking for someone who takes your insurance, has openings that fit your schedule, and who you can build a meaningful connection with, it can leave you feeling like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.  But fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. At Rula, we’re here to take the frustration out of finding the right therapist by matching clients based on their preferred race, gender, language, availability, specialty, and more.  To learn about how our streamlined process can help you connect with the right therapist for you in as little as one week, visit our website

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