How to Find the Right Nashville Mental Health Therapist
Searching for a therapist can be a chore, especially with the number of qualified mental health counselors available in the Nashville area.
Diana Kirby is The Becoming’s Vice President of Business Development & Operations, and trained as a therapist, herself. She offers this advice for individuals who wish to find a counselor.
Define Your Therapy Goals for Success
Kirby’s first tip, before you run a single Google search, is to ask yourself a few questions.
First, what are your goals for treatment? Is there a specific issue you would like to address, or are you looking for general support?
There is no goal too big or too small to address in therapy and knowing where you’d like to focus can help narrow your search.
“I’m trained as a therapist, but I’m also a lifelong therapy client. I view going to therapy like going to the gym. I go to therapy for growth, wellness, personal health, and my own feelings of wellbeing,” says Kirby.
“Therapy isn’t always about ‘something is wrong, and I need to fix it,’ sometimes it’s more like mental maintenance. It’s an hour of my week when I get to focus on me.”
Maybe you’d like to work on your anxiety or falling asleep faster at night. Or maybe you’d like a comfortable, confidential place to share and be heard. Before you make your first appointment, it can be helpful to know why you’re making it.
To guide your therapist search, Kirby encourages clients to examine their relationships with trusted confidants. What qualities are you drawn to in a friend?
Do you like for people to be sweet and gentle, or do you prefer a “tough-love” approach? What do you respond well to, and are there any traits that will immediately put you off?
It is important to choose a therapist around whom you feel at ease. Therapy is intimate, and works best when the client can be honest with their counselor.
While it can be scary to be honest and vulnerable, your therapist is not there to judge you. Feeling comfortable with your therapist is the foundation you’ll use to work towards your goals.
“You’re not looking for a ‘bestie,’” Kirby says, “but you are looking for someone you can be completely comfortable with.”
Why You Might Hate Therapy
Kirby says one of the biggest hurdles in mental healthcare is that clients do not always feel empowered, or know how to, advocate for themselves.
She says she often hears, “I hate therapy” from new and prospective clients. If you’ve had a negative experience with counseling in the past, Kirby suggests that the problem might not be therapy itself, but the therapist may not have been the best fit for you at the time.
Not all counselors will work equally well with all patients, just as you may not get along well with everyone you meet. Kirby encourages clients to advocate for themselves in their appointments.
“You’re in a dynamic relationship with your therapist; you can ask for what you need and be honest about the process. If something isn’t working for you, speak up.”
Additionally, she thinks it’s important to know you aren’t stuck in a therapy relationship if it doesn’t feel like a good fit. You can try appointments with several providers before settling on a therapist.
Your therapist is like any other human, with their own personality and communication style. The first counselor you meet with may not be a good fit for you, and that’s okay.
However, it can be onerous to shop around, especially if you are in a mental health crisis. The Becoming knows that, and our client coordinators are here to help you navigate this process.
If you’re looking to begin therapy in Nashville or via telehealth, you can contact our office by phone, text, email, or secure message. Let us know if there are any specific challenges you want to address.
Our Client Coordinators will match you with a counselor in our practice who has the right training and background for you.
Some of the counselors at The Becoming do free consultations for new clients, so you can meet with several of them and get a feel for their personalities.
Taking Charge of Your Mental Health
Most of all, Kirby wants clients to know that they are in charge of their therapeutic journey.
“Therapy is not about an expert coming in and saying ‘you have to do XYZ with your life.’ You are in control of your own treatment; you decide how much to share, and when. If something in your treatment isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to talk through it with your counselor.”
Therapists and counselors have a wealth of training to pull from, and if one approach doesn’t resonate with you, another likely will.
Individual, Couples and Family Therapy Options in Nashville
If you’re searching for a counselor, let The Becoming be your guide. Our Client Coordinators can match you with one of our licensed counselors and start you down the road to better mental health.
Take the first step by calling (615) 709-2020 right now.
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