Find the Best Therapist on the Main Line
Of course you want to find the “best” therapist for you, but with more than 770 of us in Montgomery County alone, how can you figure out who that is? Here are some tips to help you narrow the field:
Select a licensed therapist. You can be assured that a licensed therapist has met the state’s criteria for the education, knowledge and experience necessary to effectively practice psychotherapy in Pennsylvania.
Select a therapist trained to provide the service you need. Many therapists say they practice “sex therapy” or “couples therapy”, but in reality have not been trained to do it. Ask.
Select a seasoned therapist. Experience matters. A therapist in practice for 2 years will — more often than not — be less effective than a therapist in practice for 10+ years.
Select a therapist who has experience treating your specific concern. Therapists often have experience in many areas, but have zero experience in others. Ask.
Select a therapist with a theoretical orientation that fits your presenting problem. If you’re hoping to gaining insight into yourself and your behaviors, for example, a purely cognitive behavioral therapist wouldn’t be a great fit. Similarly, if your goal is to learn new skills and change problematic behaviors, a psychoanalyst wouldn’t be an ideal choice. What are your specific goals?
Select a therapist with a style / approach that fits with your personality. Therapeutic approaches range from very passive (listening) to very active (talking with you the entire time). Research shows that the greatest predictor of success in therapy is the quality of the relationship between the client(s) and the clinician. What kind of therapist do you want?
Call a few promising candidates. After you speak with them, ask yourself: “How was the conversation? What were my first impressions?” Follow your instincts about who to see. If you don’t “like” the person, move on. Again, a good fit is essential.
Select a therapist in a location that makes sense for you. It is likely you will be visiting your therapist’s office once each week. Do you want someone near your work? Near home? Far away from both? Think about what makes the most sense for you.
Select a therapist you can afford on an ongoing basis. If you begin the process knowing you will be able to pay for just two sessions with Therapist A, you would be wise to select a lower fee provider (or ask your insurance company to give you a list of in-network providers). Fees vary widely in the field. Find a fee you can sustain.
Don’t get too hung up on the letters after our names. These letters indicate different paths to clinical practice, often reflecting different education degrees, theoretical orientations and therapeutic approaches. Still, all are therapists. If you’ve found someone who meets the above criteria and seems perfect to you, don’t worry about their letters. But for those who do want to know what those letters mean, here’s a list:
|ABPP:||American Board of Professional Psychology|
|ACT:||Acceptance and Commitment Therapy|
|ATR-BC:||Registered Art Therapist-Board Certified|
|BC-DMT:||Board Certified-Dance Movement Therapist|
|BCD:||Board Certified Diplomate|
|BS:||Bachelor of Science|
|CHHC:||Certified Holistic Health Counselor|
|CAADC:||Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor|
|CAC:||Certified Addiction Counselor|
|CADC:||Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor|
|CCMHC:||Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor|
|CMFT:||Certified Marriage and Family Therapist|
|CSC:||Certified Supervised Counselor|
|DMin:||Doctor of Ministry|
|DSW:||Doctorate in Social Work|
|EdD:||Doctor of Education|
|FAACP:||Fellow, American Academy of Clinical Psychology|
|LCSW:||Licensed Clinical Social Worker|
|LMFT:||Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist|
|LPC:||Licensed Professional Counselor|
|LSW:||Licensed Social Worker|
|MA:||Master of Arts|
|MCAT:||Master of Creative Art Therapy|
|MEd:||Master of Education|
|MFT:||Marriage and Family Therapist|
|MHT:||Mental Health Therapist|
|MHS:||Master of Health Sciences|
|MS:||Master of Science|
|MSS:||Master of Social Service|
|MSSW:||Master of Science in Social Work|
|MSW:||Master of Social Work|
|NCC:||Nationally Certified Counselor|
|PhD:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|PsyD:||Doctor of Psychology|
|QCSW:||Qualified Clinical Social Worker|