How do I find/choose a therapist?

I feel like I’ve really come to a stand still in my development. Whilst Im comfortable and confident with my sobriety, I feel that everything else has stalled and I dont feel like Im getting any better. Sobriety provides the opportunity to deal with the underlying issues, and I think I need to start doing this. I always suspected that id get to a point where I couldn’t do anymore by myself and I think that time is now. As a result Ive started looking for a therapist but I have no idea what im looking for or what to do. It doesnt help that im not even sure what I need help with or where I should focus.

Should I choose someone who lists alcohol addiction in there bio? How important is this? Should I avoid therapists with specialist lists as long as my arm? Are specific qualifications important? Do I need to decide what I need help with before choosing? Ive read about maybe 30 therapists in my area and I have no idea.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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hey! if you look around on google for places around u or stuff like that, a therapist should have that stuff if they specialize in it. i chose my therapist because she specialized in substance abuse in minors.

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Thanks. Yeah, I’ve just looked online so far but there are so many. Perhaps trying a few different ones is best? And maybe talking through my addiction is the best starting point and the rest will follow naturally?


If where you live has the population for it, I would recommend “shopping around” for a therapist as well. It’s good to find one you mesh well with or like if you’re going to enter a long-term commitment to your betterment with them.

Feeling out what they’re like in person also is important. If you are uncomfortable with them in a face-to-face setting it makes things harder. If you can’t be vulnerable or trust the therapist you’ll be hard pressed indeed to get significant work done. Much of the comfort and trust develops with time, so there’s no need to immediately feel that connection, but it shouldn’t be someone who completely clashes.

@Asia91 @ifs Thank you both. I guess the idea that i’ll find the right one quickly is unrealistic. Like most worthwhile things it’ll take time and work. This isn’t something I want to go into lightly and I know it’ll be very uncomfortable initially. Is it fairly standard to see multiple people before settling? What is a first session usually like, I have no idea?

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I tried a few before finding a fit. It’s common, and no one will be offended if you don’t continue. There are so many reasons people stop working with a therapist, they can’t assume anything. First session is typically not very deep and you and the therapist are mostly getting a feel for things. Therapist trying to get to know you and what you’re looking for in therapy, you trying to find out if this is someone you can work with as a team and talk about your life with. You might also discuss towards the end how you want to proceed with future sessions and what to work on.

At least, that’s what it has been like for me.


I did find it a pretty daunting process to start with. I’d never thought I would need to ‘see’ a specialist… until my major meltdown 14 months ago. I called my EAP and they emailed me a list that wasn’t that helpful as it was out of date and included too many acronyms.

So I did the next obvious thing. I googled. That led me to YouTube. Kati Morton has a good one to explain the different types of therapists in the US :point_down:

The first two therapists I saw were not a good fit for me. The third was ok as a ‘talk’ therapist, and I might go back to her one day, but the forth one is the one I’ll be sticking with for a while. She specializes in EMDR therapy - and PTSD, childhood abuse, and substance abuse. I’ve been seeing her for just over a year.

In all four cases, the first session was fairly generic for at least half of it. Why am I there? What am I hoping to gain? Paperwork (of course). And how am I paying.

Having gone through four, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with finding someone new if and when I have to, but geez, it was scary starting the journey.

I wish you well. :pray::kissing_heart:


Thanks @C_8 this is really helpful. I have a long weekend off work so im gonna do some proper research and make a few phone calls I think. You’re right it is very daunting, but I really need to start talking things out as I hold so much in. Tbh I’ve hardly even discussed my addiction with anyone outside of TS (not in a truly open way anyway).