How to find the right therapist in Cleveland

Photo by DJ Johnson @dj_johns1

Photo by DJ Johnson @dj_johns1

If You’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to ask for help, but youre feeling unsure about what kind of counseling you need, or what type of professional you should be working with, this article is for you.

I dont blame you for being confused. There are an overwhelming amount of options out there when it comes to mental health services. After all, therapy can be provided by social workers, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists and in a variety of settings such as hospitals, private practices and inpatient facilities. Even within those settings there are innumerable subspecialties and different counseling modalities that a professional may utilize. When it comes to finding a counselor that is right for your needs, Start with these considerations below.

  • What issues are you struggling most with? Take some time to clarify what your biggest concerns are. Are you struggling to manage your anxiety? Is most of your stress related to difficulties within your romantic relationship? Or maybe youre unhappy with your career choice and need help figuring out your next move. While most clinicians are trained to be generalists (i.e they have the skills to address helping you with all these issues) many professionals become specialized in specific issues as they advance throughout their career. So if you’ve identified a very specific issue such as couples counseling with a focus on adjusting to life with a new baby, or needing an LGBTQ+ comptentent therapist, there’s a good chance a therapist with that niche is in your area. Even if a local therapist doesnt check off all the boxes you’ve identified as important, it’s always helpful to define what issues are your top priority and go form there.

  • How long is the counseling process and what is the format like?. What are you willing and able to invest in the therapy process when it comes to your time and level of commitment? Therapy can be as short as a few sessions focused on managing a crisis and providing you with a few coping skills, to a life-long investment. Some therapists are more solution focused. They are skilled at tackling immediate problems and helping you reach a place of stability. This approach tends to be more structured and task oriented. Other therapists are growth-oriented. These therapy styles go beyond coping skills and becomes about generating insight and understanding into long standing patterns of behavior and personality. Some therapists can offer a combination of both. Which style and approach fits your needs at this time? If you’re not sure, a good professional should be able to give you an idea of what their approach entails for the issue you are struggling with.

  • How much of a financial investment can you be expected to make and/or handle? It’s unfortunate that this has to be a consideration at all, but the reality is, good quality mental health care often requires some degree of a financial investment on the clients end. If you intend to use your health insurance, contact your provider directly to get information about in-network providers in your area, as well as information about the amount of sessions covered, and copays you are expected to pay. This will give you a working number of what that investment might look like for you. For some people counseling through their insurance provider is a great option. It makes access to services that may have been otherwise unaffordable, affordable. For others, especially those whose health care may have minimal behavioral health benefits, the options through their insurance are limited. After all, many insurance companies put a cap on the number of sessions you are allowed to have, and even dictate the type of counseling you qualify for (even if your therapist finds something else may be more appropriate). For those that are able to make it work, paying out of pocket for services may be a better option. Doing so gives you the freedom to choose a therapist based on what you feel is best for you, not what the insurance company dictates. While it may feel like a heafty investment, ask yourself this: what are you willing to give up (that cute pair of shoes, those monthly subscription boxes, or even one of those vacations) if it could mean transforming your mental health?

  • does It matter if you see a licensed therapist, social worker or psychologist? Instead of getting into all the little details that differentiate one license from the other, let me say this. You can recieve great mental health care from any one of these professionals. You can also receive bad mental health care from any one of these professionals. In my opinion what makes a counselor effective, is less about their initial training and more about their willingness to grow in their skill set throughout their career. Does the therapist invest in advanced trainings? Do they read the latest research pertaining to their niche? Are they flexible and open to incorporating new modalities into their approach when its in the best interest of the client? How does the therapist look after their own mental health (this may seem counterintuitive, but its well known in the field that a good therapist, gets their own therapy. At the end of the day we are all human, and a therapist that prioritizes their own well being, is better equipped to attend to the needs of their clients). dont be afraid to ask a clinician how they stay sharp, and even if they’ve done their own personal work in counseling.

Still confused? Don’t be afraid to reach out (630-948-8847 or and i’ll do what I can to get you connected with the right therapist for you. You know what they say, the first step is always the hardest!