Does anyone have any advice on finding a competent therapist? a lot of the ones listed on the internet for my area look like outright crackpots. Many have dubious credentials, including education in seminaries, advertise weird looking theraputic approaches including "equine" therapy, "east-west meditation," "transpersonal" therapy and all kids of other whackjobbery, and most seem to be far left wingnuts, too. Is there any hope of finding a good therapist, and if so, how?
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I met a very good one through a workplace provided referral system. Of the three within a 5 mile radius, she's the one that answered the phone.
It sounds like some of the more "out there" types of therapy are not your cup of tea, which is fine because therapy should be geared towards you. The more unconventional type of therapies have their place in treatment but they are not for everyone.
It seems like you want a more scientific and evidence-based type of therapy, as well as a competent clinician. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) would be the type of therapy you might want to pursue further given what you have said. Although, there are many other evidence-based therapies out there as well and you should explore what fits you. As far as credentials, I am not sure where you live but most states enforce a license to practice. When looking make sure they have a license indicated by the credentials at the end of their name and a license # which was given to them by the state. Appropriate licenses would be: licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). Those are the most widely common titles and to attain and maintain those license involves a ton of training and supervision.
Check out the link below to find a CBT therapist in your area. PsychologyToday.com also has a therapist finder.
My advice shop around and find someone that you feel comfortable with and that fits you, just like you would shop around for anything else you are spending your money on. What ever you may be struggling with I would also say find a therapist who specializes in that issue (phobias, grief & loss, trauma, etc.). Like any profession there will be people who are sketchy. Do your homework and you will find someone that can help you.