Finding a therapist that is right for you can be a daunting task, but do not give up. You will find what you are looking for if you search with persistence. There are many different types of therapy (cognitive, behavioral, psychotherapy, behavioral, solution-oriented, or family oriented, etc); so you may want to do some research and first decide what type of therapy you think would work best for you.
Ask your primary care physician, or family and friends for recommendations. Another source could be a battered women’s shelter, abuse shelters, rape crisis centers, or a place where programs are offered for women.
Once you come up with a few names start calling the therapist before you make an appointment and talk to him/her on the phone about why you are looking for a therapist, ask if they have worked in this area, ask the type of therapy they use, ask about their credentials (you do not want someone that has a “counseling degree” they earned for a 3 hour on-line class), ask if they have a speciality, ask if they are a licensed counselor, and if their education was from a reputable, accredited institution.
You may also want to ask what they charge, do they take your type of insurance, or do they have a sliding scale. If you can’t afford the therapist move on to a facility that employees therapists and has a sliding scale. Ofttimes, a therapist may be willing to work with you on the cost.
Once you have chosen a therapist, it may take a few visits to determine if it is a good fit. You need to feel at ease with your therapist, he/she needs to be understanding and supportive of you. There has to be a good rapport between you and your therapist, and there must be a level of trust established early on. If you decide that you are not a good match, tell the therapist and he/she may very well have a good recommendation for you.
I found my therapist through a friend at work that was familiar with the counselors in the area and he gave me a recommendation. If left to my own ability to find a counselor, I would have probably searched for a female counselor just because of the nature of the counseling. However, my therapist was male and when I started therapy with him, I thought it was just for my depression. My abuse re-surfaced a few months into therapy when the walls come tumbling down. Gender was never an issue with my counselor. He has brought me a long ways from where I was when I first started seeing him. So, if you’re feeling reluctant about having a male counselor—he may be just the one. Knowing what I know now, I would readily recommend a male to a female client. You’ll find if you establish that level of trust with your therapist—gender becomes less important.