Find The Best Therapist

Find the Best Therapist on the Main Line

Of course you want to find the “best” therapist for you, but with more than 1900 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
MD: Medical Doctor
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