The Right Therapist

Locating providers who use evidence based treatment is one of the main difficulties patients face across the country. The National Institute of Health, the Anxiety Disorders Association, and the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation recognize a need for greater use of these treatments, and proper training and supervision. A motivated therapist with limited training or self-learning may in some cases be the only option in a given community. However, all of our therapist undergo extensive training and supervision in the treatment of anxiety disorders. As you are looking for a therapist to treat your anxiety there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • You have a perfect right to ask questions. You are looking to make a big change and you need to find the right person
  • If he or she is guarded, withholds information, or becomes angry at your requests for information, you should probably look elsewhere.
  • If the therapist appreciates how important a decision this is for you and is open, friendly, and knowledgeable, you have a good therapist.
  •  Your relationship with the therapist is important, especially since they will be asking you to do things that you find uncomfortable.

Here are some more specific questions you should ask if you are looking for a therapist:

  • “What techniques do you use to treat anxiety?”
    • If the therapist is vague, or does not mention cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or exposures, use caution. Be cautious of therapists who say they use CBT, but won’t be more specific of how it is implemented. The exposure portion of therapy is often the most effective component of therapy and will not be overcome with sitting and talking in the office.
  • “What is your training and background in treating Anxiety?”
    • If he or she says they went to a CBT psychology graduate program or did a post-doctoral fellowship in CBT, it is a good sign. Another positive is if the therapist says he or she is a member of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists (ABCT) or the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). It is very important that they received supervised experience in treating anxiety as it is not easily learned by just reading a book or attending a workshop.
  • “How much of your practice currently involves anxiety disorders?”
  • “Do you feel that you have been effective in your treatment of anxiety?”
  • “Are you willing to leave your office if needed to do behavior therapy?”
  • Are There More Intensive Therapy Options Available?