Integrative Therapist, Laurent Baldoni, was born in France, raised in the UK and has lived for over 20 years in Spain. After spending many years spinning on the corporate hamster wheel as an international producer filming all around the world, he decided to follow his heart and fully embrace the authentic life he truly wanted. He practices Integrative Therapy, a flexible form of psychotherapy that combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the specific needs of the individual client. It is a pragmatic, solution-based approach, leaning on diverse psychological theories in order to get the best, and speediest, results. Laurent has written an exclusive article for MumAbroad about how to find a therapist.
This is a very important question!
And not only how to find the right therapist, but how to do so efficiently without spending lots of money trying different people or approaches. I remember in my own life, when looking for a therapist for myself many years ago, being completely confused by all the different types of therapy out there. When someone is seeking therapy they tend to feel fragile, sensitive or overwhelmed….so how do you sift through nearly 500 therapeutic theories to find what works for you?
The first thing to say is that you certainly don’t need to understand them all, but some simple research can help to get a broad understanding of the main areas of therapy available. Websites like the psychotherapy organisation could be a good start. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to think outside the box – whatever works for you is the way to go, regardless of societal norms and opinions.
It is important to try to find someone you think might be a good fit. The connection with the person is key as you often need to open up about difficult or sensitive moments to heal and progress. Many approaches ‘work’ so it’s less about finding the right one, and more about the right one for you presented by the right person in the right way, again, for you. The ‘right’ approach won’t work if there isn’t the right trust, connection and rapport with the therapist.
It is always a good idea to ask around. Your inner circle of friends and family will likely include someone who has experience of therapy and a personal recommendation is a solid start. You can also ask your GP who may be able to recommend somebody specific based on the exact issues you are facing. If you have a very specific problem that you want specialised help for, then certainly a more specific field might be more suited to you (addiction, sexual abuse etc).
Conversely, if you are facing a more generalised sense of unease, unhappiness, anxiety or depression then another idea might be to look for people who have a broader range of skills and approaches which puts them in a better position to tackle a wide range of problems and clients. You may wish to look into Integrative Therapy, which is what I practice. As this is a flexible approach it allows a wider reach to different types of clients presenting a variety of issues. In this progressive form of psychotherapy, the exact method is tailored to each specific client, combining different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the specific needs of the individual client. It is a pragmatic, solution-based approach, leaning on diverse psychological theories in order to get the best results.
Another idea might be to look for therapists who offer a free intro session. This is also something I offer since I find it really helps gives the client a chance to get a feel for you before moving forward, and all without having to spend their hard-earned money! This is a great way to ask the therapist a bit more about their way of working and to see if you feel the proper rapport which is so key in the therapeutic process. The first step is always the hardest, so hopefully this helps soften, lifting a little pressure.
There are other ways to refine the search. Are you restricted geographically? If you want to see a therapist in person that will automatically shrink the sample size and help filter your options. Although I do love my in-person sessions, I cannot deny that remote sessions also work well and can open up many more possibilities to people seeking help. You may wish to consider the different cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation of your therapist, as well as the small matter of its cost, or possible medical insurance coverage. Each of these considerations will, again, filter down your choices.
Do some background research and look for people with their own websites who go into detail about who they are and how they work. The first thing to look for in a therapist’s profile is their credentials. These often indicate their level of education and their certification. Once you’ve verified that a potential therapist is legitimate and qualified, read their bio. It will reveal if a therapist has expertise in a specific area or addresses a broad range of mental health challenges.
There are also mental health websites with professional profiles. An online therapist directory can be a helpful place to sort through photos, write-ups and video introductions of the therapists that turn up in your search. On the hand, there are often hundreds or thousands of people, so if exploring this avenue it is best to choose a site that will help refine the search for your specific needs.
Overall, we can surmise the search for the right therapist with some simple questions.
Do you feel safe with them?
Do you feel comfortable telling them about intimate details of your life?
Do you like the way they treat and speak to you?
Did they listen to you?
Finding the right personality fit is the most crucial aspect of the success of therapy.
A positive, supportive relationship is based on several factors. A positive connection, or rapport, with your therapist, is vital. You need to trust your therapist enough to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Therapists must communicate openly and warmly even when pointing out areas for your growth. A good therapist is honest and genuine, demonstrating knowledge but not coming across as a know-it-all. They will value you and believe in your own ability to progress rather than viewing you as broken or dependent on them.
If you are jumping from one person to another, often questioning the worth or benefit of many different therapists and their theories, remember that the answer might lie within you! Even once people have made the brave decision to go to therapy, there is often another part of them (sometimes subconsciously) resisting the very process that could well help them reach their goals. This should not be feared. Once we understand where and why the resistance presents itself, we are often near the key area where the work needs to be done.
You can read more about Laurent in his Profile