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Finding a Good Therapist

Effective Therapy Quiz

If you are unsure if you or your child are recieving effective care (from assessment on), take this quiz and learn how well your doctor is adhering to evidence-based practice.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Therapist

How do you make assessments and diagnoses?

A thorough assessment from the start can save thousands of dollars in the end! An evidence-based assessment would include input from the person seeking help, family members, and perhaps teachers and friends. The assessment itself can cost up to $1,500; money well spent if a correct diagnosis and treatment plan can be determined.

One of the most complicating factors of mental illness is that often there are more than one diagnoses. Someone may be depressed and anxious, anorexic and OCD. When there is more than one diagnosis, the most pressing one needs to be dealt with first. Deciding on a diagnosis is helpful in deciding therapy.

​​Will you tell us the diagnosis, explain the different evidence-based treatments for that diagnosis, and include us in deciding the treatment model you’re going to use?

A therapist following evidence-based practice will discuss the assessment, diagnosis, and different treatment possibilities with the client and his/her network of support.

Find evidence-based treatments for your diagnosis >>
What do you think about evidence-based treatments?

There are many therapists who do not believe in evidence-based treatments because they believe that therapy sessions need to flow on their own accord, and not follow some strict guidelines. They feel that therapy is an art, not a science.  

Though the art of rapport is important, so is the science behind treatment modalities. The best therapists will marry the two and both seek for connection and use science-based treatments.

​How involved are parents/spouses/support network members in therapy?

There is decade-strong research that shows that the most effective therapy happens when family and/or a network of loved ones are educated and involved in therapy from assessment on. Healing happens best in the context of love, support and understanding. Helping loved ones understand both the mental illness and the skills to help the loved one deal with life gives the individual suffering much more support in everyday life. It may be useful to read up on HIPAA so you can learn just how much your therapist can tell you.

Read NAMI's overview of parental rights under HIPAA >>
How do you decide which therapy to use?

Answers to be leery of:

“I take an eclectic approach—I have an array of tools I can use.”

​An eclectic approach is not evidence-based, and it probably never could be because it is not adhering to any one therapy and is totally up to the discretion of the therapist.

“Rapport is what is most important, and what constantly is identified as the most important aspect of therapy. In fact, there is more evidence behind rapport than any therapy!”

Rapport is important, but rapport is not therapy. Rapport needs to be coupled with evidence-based care.

What therapy modalities have you been specifically trained in?  

A small percentage of counselors are certified beyond their college/post college degree. If they have gone to specialized training, that is good!

Reliable resources to help find good therapy: