How to Choose a Therapist that is Right for You
By Gina Cipriano
If you are reading this, you most likely are considering seeing a therapist for the first time. Congratulations! Taking care of your mental health is one of the best personal investments that you can make. However, choosing a therapist can feel overwhelming. You want someone who can provide you with the best quality care (especially if you are going to be telling them your inner-most thoughts).
Abbreviations and What They Stand for:
All those letters after a person’s name can be downright confusing. Here is a quick guide of abbreviations and what they stand for:
RMHCI: This stands for “Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern.” A RMHCI finished the minimum education necessary to practice with supervision.
LMHC: This stands for “Licensed Mental Health Counselor.” Licensing is the minimum standards that must be met for a counselor to legally practice independently. In Florida, some of the requirements to hold the credential LMHC include meeting educational requirements, being supervised for two years, and passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination.
NCC: The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) certifies counselors to hold the credential National Certified Counselors (NCCs). Holding a NCC credential is completely voluntary. It demonstrates that a therapist not only met minimum education and supervision requirements, but also, they had a professional endorsement and have extensive work experience.
LCSW: This stands for “Licensed Clinical Social Worker.” Similar to LMHC’s, LCSW’s met educational requirements, have been supervised for two years, and passed the Association of Social Work Boards. Often times, the difference between a LCSW and LMHC is that a LCSW has a broader community focus to help an individual. However, both are qualified to assist someone in achieving their mental health goals!
Here is a quick overview of what a therapist you are seeing should do versus should not do.
Did you know that 30% of therapeutic success is determined by the therapeutic relationship? While your therapist should be using an evidenced-based theory that is backed by research, it is vital that the bond with your therapist is positive; this will truly result in positive change in your life. A therapist should make you feel safe, validated, understood, and respected.
Therapy should be a collaborative process. While therapists may challenge you to look at aspects of yourself differently, they are there to help you achieve your goals.
Therapists should have appropriate boundaries with you in place! Boundaries are healthy, and it demonstrates that your therapist practices what they preach.
Therapist Do Not’s
Therapists should not tell you what to do! Therapists are there to guide you in making your own decisions. YOU hold the power.
Therapists should not try to keep you in therapy longer to receive your money. Terminating therapy should be a collaborative discussion about what is in the best interest of your needs. If a therapist does not feel that they can give you the care you require, they should refer you to someone that can.
Therapists are humans; sometimes we connect with certain people while we do not with others. That’s okay! Take your time finding a therapist that you feel you resonate with.
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. (2021). Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Florida Department of Health.
National Board for Certified Counselors. (2021). National Certified Counselor.
Sperry, L., & Carlson, J. (2014). How master therapists work: Effecting change from the first to the last session and beyond. Routledge.
Searching for the best therapist in Palm Beach County? The right therapist is the one who understands you and clicks with you. Find a therapist in Jupiter who you feel comfortable with and you feel can help you.