So you’re looking for a therapist in Baltimore. Maybe you typed “Baltimore therapist” into Google and it sent you here. But how do you find the right “Baltimore therapist” for you? What goes in to choosing a good therapist – and not just a good therapist, but a good therapist for you?
That’s an important distinction to take note of. Research shows that virtually all modes of therapy depend more on the relationship between the client and the therapist than on any other factor, including how many degrees the therapist has, how many years s/he’s been in practice, how many Twitter followers s/he has, or any other potential measures of success. So if you are referred to the “top” therapist in Baltimore for whatever issue you’re facing, that person may still not be a good fit for you. If you don’t like your therapist, don’t feel comfortable with him/her, don’t feel that s/he really gets you, then you should feel perfectly justified in looking elsewhere. Therapy is an incredibly personal undertaking. Just as you would not marry someone just because they had the reputation for being “the best” in town, you shouldn’t assume that a therapist with such a reputation will necessarily be the best one for you.
That said, there are still some indicators you can look at when you begin the search for a therapist in Baltimore. Just as you don’t find a spouse by randomly picking someone on Google, but you look at certain qualities beforehand, you can do the same with a therapist. So what makes for a competent therapist?
Certainly a degree and licensure are important basics. If someone with a bachelor’s degree in psychology is claiming to be a trained therapist (or life coach), you would be wise to cast a wary eye. Most therapists have at least 2 years – sometimes 4 or more – of postgraduate training, including education and practicum. Not everyone who is a nice guy is also a knowledgeable therapist.
On the other hand, not everyone who is a knowledgeable therapist is a nice guy. Plenty of jerks can pick up a master’s degree (trust me, I went to school with some of them). So a referral from another professional, such as your physician or friend-who-is-also-a-therapist, can be of real value. Another good indicator in this day and age are online reviews. (This is a little bit of a tricky subject because generally speaking it is considered unethical for a therapist to ask a client for a review. Imagine pulling a drowning person out of the water and then asking for $5. Not exactly an objective situation, is it? We do not ask clients for reviews. All the reviews you see about us were received completely ethically.) If people are saying good things about a therapist, that bodes well for the likelihood that s/he is worth trying out – but, as we intimated above, just because someone else likes a certain therapist doesn’t mean you will.
Which leads us to a final point: the only way you can really find the “right” therapist in Baltimore is to try one out. You can’t know how it’s going to work out until you meet him/her and see how you feel and whether you think they are/can be helpful to you. And there is nothing wrong with trying someone out and then deciding you want to find another therapist instead. (This is different from going to a new therapist every few months because you don’t like hearing what the current one has to say. Trying out a few different therapists before settling on one is totally fine.) Some therapists (like us) offer free initial consultations so you can talk to the therapist a little bit and get a feel for him/her, which is often helpful in deciding if you think s/he is a good fit for you. We definitely encourage potential clients to take advantage of this kind of offering wherever it is available.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect way to find the “right” therapist in Baltimore. Do some research, ask around, then give it a shot. There is little to lose and lots to gain by finding a therapist who is a good fit for you. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work out at first! Therapy can be immensely helpful in a wide range of situations. Stick with it and find the Baltimore therapist that’s right for you.