How do you find the right therapist?
Sometimes, because of work, family, death, relationships, or uncomfortable feelings like depression or anxiety, you want to seek out a mental health professional for help. But finding the right therapist can feel overwhelming. How do you find a therapist and how do you know the person is a good therapist for you?
Below I provide some suggestions on how to search for therapists and then, although not a full-proof checklist, I provide some things to consider when choosing one person to work with.
Finding a therapist:
- Going to therapist isn’t the stigma it used to be. There wouldn’t be so many therapists to choose from if people weren’t going to therapists! JIf you’re comfortable talking about your search, ask someone you know for a referral: your friends and family, primary care physician, or another professional like your massage therapist, for examples.
- Do a Google search and check out some of the therapists’ websites that come up in your results. Here are some ideas of what search terms to use. If you’re needing help with your relationship, google Marriage Counseling and Your Location. Or google Couples Counseling and Your Location. If you’re struggling with depression and want some help, google Depression Treatment and Your Location or Help with Depression and Your Location.
Here are some ideas on how to narrow your search to be able to select a therapist to work with:
- See if the person you are considering has the training that you feel would be important for you to get the help you’re looking for.
- Call a few therapists on the phone. Get a sense of who you click with. Tell them what is happening in your life that you’re interested in therapy and ask if they have experience working with people going through similar situations. Ask some questions that are important to you. Maybe you want to know if they have evening hours or weekend hours. Maybe you want to know if they take your insurance or if they offer on-line therapy? Often therapists have free ‘initial consultation” for 20 minutes or more. That is something that can help you see if you and your potential therapist are a match.
- Though a little time consuming and costly, you can always have an initial session with a few therapists to see who is the best fit for you.
I don’t believe there is a best therapist. No therapist is perfect, just like no one is perfect. You want to choose someone who you feel is a good fit for you. Someone with whom you feel comfortable and someone you feel “gets” you. You want their feedback and interventions to be helpful. And because therapy is a professional relationship, it is still a relationship, so you want someone you feel you can work through any difficulties that arise as they do in any relationship.
Sometimes, finding a therapist can take some work. But it’s worth it.
Beth Levine, LCSW
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
About Beth Levine, LCSW
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to find out more about me.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University. I have about 20 years of experience working with adults in individual and couple settings.
Ever since I was young, I thought about being a therapist. Maybe it was when I saw Ordinary People. I was envious of the therapist, played by Judd Hirsch, who had the opportunity to develop a deep and meaningful connection with Conrad, played by Timothy Hutton, and helped him go from a place of despair to a place of realizing his life force. Wow! What could be better than that? Helping someone tap into their strengths and heal? Making the world a better place is a driving force for me.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) are the foundational models for my work. After taking a training with Bessel van der Kolk, an expert in studying and treating trauma, I began to take trainings in models and techniques that are supported by research for their effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, and trauma.
I find that having different techniques to choose from is useful because I don’t think that there is one technique or treatment method that works for everyone. I can work with my clients to see what works best in our individual counseling or couple counseling. In addition to IFS and EFT, the techniques I draw from include emotional freedom techniques, somatic experiencing, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness, expressive therapies, and movement.
People ask me what my style is like. I find it hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. I am collaborative. I am interactive. I like to bring in humor when appropriate. (Nothing like bathing the brain and body in serotonin.) I point out patterns. I ask questions. I reflect what I am seeing. I use the relationship to promote healing. I can be pragmatic and solution focused. I can offer behavioral changes. I work to promote curiosity. I draw from different modalities and life experience.
I believe in therapy. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and relationships. Individual therapy has helped me live more authentically, trust myself to handle life’s challenges, and have healthy relationships. Therapy can be hard, but it’s worth it.
If you think we would be a good fit, the next step is to call or email me so we can schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation. If that goes well, then I recommend that we have an initial session. Having a session is probably the best way to tell if you think I would be a good fit.
I am thankful to the many people who have shared their lives with me and taught me about people’s courage and capacity to heal and change.
It is hard to narrow down my philosophy of individual therapy or couple counseling to one option, but I want to share with you the following way of looking at ourselves, our relationships, and life that I, and others, find helpful.
The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) honors the pottery’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, any breaks or cracks.
This philosophy embraces flaws and imperfections and acknowledges that “scars” are a part of the unique design.
Kintsugi offers us an important metaphor: In the process of healing ourselves or our relationships, we can create something more unique, beautiful, and resilient.
Embracing this philosophy, can help us deal with depression, despair, anxiety, stress, relationship difficulties, loneliness, and trauma, among other life’s challenges.
Advanced Trauma Treatment – Level I (The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy)
Level I Certification in Internal Family Systems (IFS Institute)
Emotional Freedom Techniques – Professional Skills I (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology)
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Supervisor – for therapists earning their Certification (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)
Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score
Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness
LCSW-C, National Catholic University, School of Social Work
MBA, University of Rochester, The Simon Business School
September 2017. Published article, Enhancing Therapeutic Effectiveness When Working with Vegan Clients, News & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.
June 2016. Published article, Food for Thought, New & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.
- Interviewed by Elisabeth Brown for Freedom2Do (http://www.freedom2do.com/its-okay-to-get-help/).
September 2011 through April 2012. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.
September 2010 through April 2011. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.
September 2010 through June 2011. Led Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) supervision group for EFT colleagues based on the training manual, Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook. Met once a month.
March 2009. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented Introduction to Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
October 2008. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented Attachment Theory, Love and Neurobiology. In this course, I talked about eight ways in which Attachment Theory informs couple work, and the research that helps us understand the neurobiology of when couples have a secure attachment and when they are in distress.
January 2008. As part of the above training, I presented on Attachment Theory and Work with Couples. My presentation was titled: Eight Ways That Attachment Theory Informs Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
January 2008. Attachment Theory: Basic Concepts and Clinical Applications in Work with Individuals, Couples and Children. I coordinated the training with Mauricio Cortina, MD, Director, Attachment and Human Development Center.
I am a member of:
- Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work
- International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
- National Association of Social Workers
Get in touch.
I'm always happy to hear from people.
If you have any questions, need more information, or would like to make an appointment, you can call me at 301-279-7779, email me at BethLCounseling@aol.com, or use the form below.
I see clients using a video-chat platform called VSee. It is free to download and easy to use. Please ask me about that option, if you are interested.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker • Over 15 years of experience • Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist and Supervisor • Member of The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work • Member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy • Member of Clinical Social Work Association • Member of National Association of Social Workers
© 2017 Beth Levine Site Design by Tim Kenney Marketing
Serving All of Maryland through teletherapy, including Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, Silver Spring
Hours by appointment only
On Being: Lessons I Learn From Animals