A therapist is someone you confide in and share your deepest thoughts and feelings with, so you need to be confident in their professional conduct and credentials. You’re likely to tell this person things you wouldn’t tell most other people, so finding one you trust isn’t easy.
It’s imperative to perform a background check on anyone you consider seeking therapy from, and there are eight steps to this process.
Step 1. Check Their Licensing and Credentials
The first step in performing a background check on your therapist is to check their licensing and credentials. Every state has a licensing board for therapists, and you can use the relevant websites to verify their credentials.
This action will help determine if they have the appropriate education, training, and licenses to practice in your state.
Step 2. Check For Any Complaints or Disciplinary Actions
Once you’ve verified your therapist’s credentials, it’s vital to check for any complaints or disciplinary actions against them. You can do this by checking with the licensing board or doing a quick online search.
Look for any red flags, such as ethical violations or malpractice claims. If you find any concerns, it’s worth discussing them with your therapist to see if they have legitimate reasons. If not, find another one.
Step 3. Consider Their Experience and Expertise
It’s essential to consider your therapist’s experience and expertise. Do they specialize in treating the issues you’re dealing with? How long have they been practicing? Do they have any specific training or certifications?
These are questions that need to be answered when evaluating your therapist’s background.
Step 4. Check Their Online Presence
Another way to perform a background check on your therapist is to check their online presence. This can include their website, social media profiles, and online reviews. Ensure the reviews are unbiased and have a mix of positive and negative.
Look for any red flags or inconsistencies that may raise concerns. For example, if they claim to have a specific certification, but it’s not listed on their website or social media profiles, this could indicate that they’re not upfront about everything.
Step 5. Ask For References
If you’re still unsure about your therapist’s background, you can ask them for references. This could include former clients, colleagues, or supervisors. By speaking with others who have worked with your therapist, you can get a better sense of their professional conduct and the quality of their treatment.
Step 6. Check Their Insurance and Payment Policies
Before starting therapy, you should check their insurance and payment policies. This will help you understand what your out-of-pocket expenses will be and what your insurance will cover. You should also verify that your therapist is in-network with your insurance provider.
Step 7. Consider Their Communication Style
You will be interacting with this person for some time, so it’s crucial to consider their communication style. Do they listen to you and take the time to understand your concerns? Do they explain things clearly and in a way that you can understand?
A good therapist should be able to communicate effectively and create a safe and non-judgmental space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings.
Step 8. Trust Your Instincts
Finally, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth exploring further. Your therapist should be someone you feel comfortable with and trust, so it’s essential to take the time to find the right fit for you.
Never discount your initial feelings for the person; if things feel off, they’re not likely to change, which could cause issues with the therapy sessions. It’s best to move on.
Check Them Out Thoroughly
Performing a background check on your therapist is essential to ensure you receive the best possible treatment.
First, check their licensing and credentials, look for any complaints or disciplinary actions, then consider their experience and expertise. Checking their online presence and asking for references are the next steps. Checking their insurance and payment and considering their communication style is also crucial. Finally, trust your instincts.
Do all of these, and you can make an informed decision about who to trust with your mental health.