How to select a therapist who will help and not hurt. A project of Metanoia Communications


15 - Now What? Where To From Here?

In summary: You deserve the best possible psychotherapy experience. You deserve a competent counselor, someone who can really help you, and not hurt you or waste your time. Dont settle for less. Learn to trust yourself, and listen to the messages from deep within yourself, by learning to listen to your dreams and other messages from your unconscious mind. Give yourself every advantage you can.

To all who are entering the theater of psychotherapy: you are about to embark on the most exciting, terrifying and ultimately rewarding experience of your life. I wish you the best of luck, and, most of all, the courage to go the distance in the pursuit of the inner wholeness which lies at the end of your journey.

This article was prepared with the generous assistance of Gary Hellman, Director of the Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute of New York City. PSI is highly recommended as an outstanding and trustworthy source for caring, high quality psychotherapy and counseling. They have seven locations in the New York metropolitan area, and offer services at modest fees based on a sliding scale. Visit their website for more information.

If youd like additional points of view, here are some similar articles you might wish to read. Caution: some of them tell you what questions to ask - but they dont tell you what answers to expect! Oh well.
How To Choose A Therapist - by John Grohol, PsyD
How To Choose a Psychologist - From the American Psychological Association, so predictably it directs you toward psychologists specifically, but a good article nonetheless
About Psychotherapy - Also psychologist-centric, and you might get overloaded by the abundant information, but useful overall
How To Diagnose A Therapist - Specifically tuned to anxiety disorders
How To Choose A Therapist - from HealthGate, a commercial site

For general mental health interests, be sure to visit these excellent websites:

Psych Central - The leading mental health network with mental health and psychological resources and information
Depression Central - Ivan Goldberg, MD, great resource on depression and related mood disorders. Includes a list of his very reliable recommendations for "The Best Psychiatrists in the U.S. for Mood Disorders".
ABCs of Internet Therapy - what you need to know about consulting a psychotherapist over the Internet; includes a directory of online therapists
The Samaritans - non-judgmental crisis support, by e-mail (every day) or phone (24 hours, 7 days)
Suicide: Read This First - To help suicidal people cope, plus links to other online help

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Table of Contents


  1. Why I wrote this article
  2. How to tell if a therapist is competent, or not
  3. What psychotherapy isand why you need to know
  4. The secret that you already know
  5. How a good therapist makes you feel safe
  6. The perfect therapist
  7. Privacy: the essential ingredient
  8. Non-judgmental acceptance: you deserve it
  9. How to choose a therapist to call
  10. How you find out about the therapist
  11. Therapist credentials: the truth revealed
  12. First contact. Watch out for these red flags!
  13. Your first session: what should happen
  14. Safety is in the details
  15. Now what?

Copyright 1991,1996, 1999 Martha Ainsworth. All rights reserved. Please refer to reprint information before reprinting or distributing all or any part of this text.


This resource is hosted by mental health information at Psych Central.