Finding a therapist who works for you… even if you’ve had a bad experience in the past

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Why write this article?

“I’ve had therapists who see my sexual orientation as something to treat,” sighed Anne, a lesbian in a long-term, committed relationship. “I’ve also got an old diagnosis and I feel like when therapists hear it, they stop listening to me and just see that.” The more we talked it through, the more it became clear that for her, therapy was not simply a tool she could use when she needed extra support — but an interaction that had taken her vulnerability and need and offered support that was at best, lacking, and at worst, harmful.

There are amazing, thoughtful, intentional, lovely, smart therapists out there, but just like any field, there are good eggs and bad eggs.

So you want a therapist:

  • Inclusive Therapists offers a safe, simpler way to find a culturally responsive, social justice-oriented therapist
  • National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network — a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color
  • Therapy for Black Girls — an online space dedicated to encouraging mental wellness for Black women and girls
  • Asian Mental Health Project — works to increase dialogue via storytelling and helping to spread support resources with mental health professionals
  • Decolonizing Therapy — a source for radical, affirming resources related to therapy and the growing awareness of work that sits at the intersection of psychology, somatics, spirit work, and activism through therapeutic containment
  • The Loveland Foundation — an effort to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, especially Black women and girls
  • Do they take your insurance (if you’ll be using insurance)?
  • Do they specialize in the issues you feel you need support in?
  • Do they work with your age group?
  • Are they taking clients? (If it’s not listed, you can usually get this information through email or calling the office)
  • Do you have a gender preference?
  • Do you have an educational preference? Do you want a psychiatrist? A PsyD? An LCSW? Obreak down what these terms mean a bit below. **
  • How long has the person been practicing? Do you have a preference?
  • Who do they work with? (What communities is this person comfortable and confident working with, and do they align with your needs and values?)
  • Do you like their style? What kind of person would be the best guide and partner for you? You can usually figure out some elements of a practitioner’s style by looking at the practice they work within, training or certificates they hold, and the way they write (blog) or speak about their work.
  • What treatment approaches attract you? There are MANY different kinds, I describe some below. ***
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

What therapists have to say…

Final thoughts:

  1. You are the boss. You have the right to interview, to choose, to change your mind, to fire, to question technique and to guide the course of your relationship with a therapist in a way that works best for you.
  2. Just because you’ve had one (or two or three) bad experience doesn’t mean that there isn’t a practitioner out there who would be the perfect partner for your growth. Keep looking for your “good egg”.




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Michelle Krasny

Michelle Krasny

Career Coach and avid researcher, exploring what it means to have a kickass career without sacrificing your soul or sanity along the way:

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