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Finding a Therapist in Tampa – Considerations & what to Look for

If you're looking for a Counselor in Tampa - or anywhere for that matter - it can be hard to know where to start.  It's an overwhelming task.   Look up therapists near me in the Tampa Bay area on  Psychology Today directory and you'll get close to ONE THOUSAND results.  Because there's a lot of filtering to be done, it can be helpful to get clear on a few things and to know what you're looking for before you begin.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself and to answer to help you get started.

  1. Do you prefer in person or virtual counseling sessions?  Due to the pandemic, most therapists went online for a while and started offering video therapy sessions as an alternative to providing sessions in the traditional office setting.  Many are back in the office, others are offering a hybrid (offering both in person and virtual counseling sessions), and some decided to ditch the office altogether and are only offering virtual services.  Do you have a preference? Are you open to both?
  2. How far are you willing to go for the right therapist? The Tampa Bay area is pretty spread out, so you'll likely find therapists within a few minutes of you and others that take 50 minutes or more to drive to depending on where you live.
  3. What areas are you hoping to address in Therapy?  Looking for counseling for anxiety or depression?  Seeking a couples therapist? Wanting to work on unresolved trauma, grief, stress, or problematic drinking?  Different therapists specialize in different areas and may not work with people with certain presenting problems, so it's important when doing your search that you get to know a little bit about your potential therapist first.  Visit their websites, read their bios, and do a little bit of research before making calls.  You'll want to feel like the therapist is speaking to you and and what it is that you're hoping to work on in therapy.
  4. What type of person are you looking for? Because therapy is so personal and because the quality of the therapeutic relationship is key to a successful outcome, it's important to select a person that makes you feel comfortable - someone that you click with.  Do you have any gender preferences? Is racial or cultural background an important consideration?  Are there certain values you hold that you hope your therapist will share with you?  Narrow down your search for therapists by getting clear on some of these things and don't be afraid to interview a few and to ask any important questions you might have.  As it relates to values, political views, religious beliefs, or worldview - some therapists will be hesitant to saying much and others will be more open to sharing about themselves and where they stand on some important issues.  More old school and traditional views on therapy frown upon too much self-disclosure on the therapist's part - but more modern ideas about therapy promote value that can be found in learning at least a little bit about the human side of the therapist you choose to work with.  Our therapists, for example, share about where they are from, their interests, passions, and why they decided to do this kind of work in their bios.  You can learn a lot about potential therapists by doing as suggested in #3 and just conducting a little bit of research before ever making that initial call.
  5. Are you looking for a specific approach? Therapists learn about a broad range of "theoretic approaches" (ways of working with people to treat/address different issues) and often times utilize approaches that they are most skilled or comfortable in.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapists, for example, focus on the role of thinking and how it impacts the way we feel and behave.  Psychodynamic therapists, on the other hand, might focus more on the subconscious and past experiences to help people understand how and why people operate the way they do.  Some therapist do short term solution-focused work and others have styles more conducive to long-term deep work.  Check out this other blog post I recently wrote to learn more about different approaches.
  6. Do you have a budget?  How important is cost?  You'll find a broad range of fees for counselors near you.  If money isn't of significant concern, focus more on finding the right fit.  When it comes to therapy, cheaper isn't always better.  You're looking for quality, a therapist who is skilled and competent, and someone who checks as many of the boxes as possible in terms of what it is you are looking for . If you are on a budget - as many people are - you can still find quality therapy within your price range - but you may just be a little bit more limited as to your options.  Although therapy can be a little bit expensive, it's helpful to look at it as an investment - one of the most valuable investments you can make into your overall well-being and future.

To learn more about finding the best fit for you, check out this other blog post on finding best therapist for you.  While you're here, we hope you'll take a look at our group of therapists who specialize in a broad range of issues, such as: anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, relationship problems, career direction, managing anger/stress, and more.  Feel free to give us a call and we will help you identify a good fit for you or will refer out if for any reason we don't think we will best suited.

Float on Counseling offers online therapy and in-person counseling sessions in the Carrollwood area of Tampa, Florida. 

Joel Schmidt, MA, LMHC

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