Selecting the “Right” Therapist

What You Must Know Before Choosing a Therapist

When looking for a therapist to work with, there is a lot more to consider than just a therapist’s experience and training.

The relationship that a therapist and client build together through trust is one of the most important contributors to therapy’s success. It is of the utmost importance that you find a therapist who has experience treating the problem you’re experiencing and feels like a good fit for your unique personality and needs.

Characteristics to Look for in a Professional Counselor

There are several qualities that are often shared by therapists who consistently make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of their clients. These traits can be looked for when searching for a counseling or psychotherapy professional:

  • Compassionate Honesty — You should look for a therapist who is not afraid to call it as he or she sees it—not critically, but with compassion and empathy.
  • Full Disclosure — This dovetails with honesty but is important enough to separate. A good therapist will honestly and openly discuss with you any diagnoses, treatment notes, specific plans or goals, and what you can expect out of therapy. You should feel confident that your therapist respects you and will answer your questions.
  • Flexibility in Treatment — A competent therapist will recognize that not all theories of human behavior fit all humans. A great therapist is also sensitive to—and respectful of—a wide range of belief systems and cultures. Look for a therapist who is willing and able to provide the treatment you need, not one who assumes you need the treatment they provide.
  • Awareness of Limitations — No therapist can effectively treat everything. If you are looking for a therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, ask for an example of an issue that is beyond the scope of their practice or that they are insufficiently trained to treat. If they can’t or won’t answer, you’ve just eliminated a candidate.
  • Focused on Solutions for You — This is similar to flexibility in treatment, as solution-focused counseling (even in the context of long-term, in-depth therapy) is more likely to have desired outcomes. The best therapists aren’t going to analyze what is already working for you or insist you need their services when you don’t.

A Little More About Me and How I Can Help

I work with individual adult women and men. My clients come to therapy from a wide range of backgrounds and for equally diverse reasons. However, this does not mean I am qualified to treat everyone for every issue.

The primary focuses of my practice include helping men and women navigate life, career, and relationship issues; helping women overcome disordered eating; and alleviating the pain and suffering from traumatic life events.

I invite you to review the materials on this website to get a feel for who I am and the services I offer. And please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you have regarding my practice, psychotherapy in general, or how to select a therapist to work with.

If upon contacting me it doesn’t appear that we will be able to work together, I will gladly provide referrals. But please keep in mind that finding the “right” psychotherapist is a very individual process, and no one but you is ultimately qualified to choose the best therapist for you to work with.

If you’re not sure counseling or psychotherapy is right for you, or if you feel stuck, discouraged, or defeated when trying to find someone to work with, let me assure you that you don’t have to feel this way.

There are answers to your questions, and the help you need is available. Optimism, self-confidence, pain management, and positive, lasting change can be achieved. This is precisely what psychotherapy offers and why I love doing the work I do!

I congratulate you for taking the brave steps of considering and seeking professional help. And I respect your decision and determination. The next courageous step is finding and contacting a professional who can assist you.

Please don’t hesitate to call me at (650) 947-4044 or e-mail me at to ask any questions you have. I look forward to meeting you, but the person you’re really going to meet is yourself!

© 2008 - 2023 Nanette Freedland, MFT | CA License: MFC 28411