Seeking psychotherapeutic help may feel a little overwhelming at first, particularly if you already are experiencing many pressures in your life.  However, you can use this to your advantage, because a therapist who can help you feel comfortable under these circumstances is likely to be useful to you in the long run.  Remember that there are many therapists out there, and you have choice.  Choosing someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing difficult issues is the most important aspect of building a therapeutic relationship.  Keep in mind that you are the consumer, and the therapist is working for you.

With acknowledgment to PEER (The Program for Extraordinary Experience Research, Cambridge, MA) for their permission to adapt their document, and to Jack Engler, Ph.D., and Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., for their work, The Consumer's Guide to Psychotherapy.  (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), on which that document was based.  The Engler and Goleman book is an excellent reference for more detailed information on finding a therapist and on the psychotherapeutic process.

Other potentially useful books include:

  • Beutler, L. E. & Shurkin, J. H. (2000).  A consumer's guide to psychotherapy.  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Ehrenberg, O., Ehrenberg, M., & Ehrenberg, J. (1994).  The psychotherapy maze: A consumer's guide to getting in and out of therapy.  Northvale NJ: Jason Aronson.
  • Pies, R. W. (1996).  A consumer's guide to choosing the right therapist.  Northvale NJ: Jason Aronson.