Lisa Dunning, MFT

Lisa Dunning, Marriage & Family Therapist Article - Choosing A Family Therapist That Is Right For You

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Lisa Dunning, Marriage & Family Therapist
Parent / Child Relationship Specialist

Choosing A Family Therapist That Is Right For You

Author Of Parenting Book
"Good Parents Bad Parenting"

Good Parents
Bad Parenting

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How to Choose A Therapist that is Right for You?
by Lisa Dunning, MA, MFT

You have reached a point in your life when you feel a need to seek professional help, but how do you choose a therapist that is right for you? The right therapist can facilitate the healing process in a timely manner. The wrong therapist can lead you down a road of unnecessary pain and suffering in your therapy and in your checkbook.

Make an educated decision when you choose a therapist

Gain an understanding of what to expect from your therapist. Ask friends who are in therapy or have been in therapy about their experiences: Donít ask about their specific issues, just ask what they like and donít like about their therapist or therapy in general. Call organizations or schools that provide therapy and ask for literature or brochures on the industry. The internet can also provide you with some information about the industry and the various types of therapists available.

You are interviewing the therapist: Not the other way around

A therapist is skilled in listening, reading your body language and asking questions. From a negotiation standpoint, you are relatively defenseless. It is easy to forget that you are interviewing the therapist to be sure they are right for you. Think about what you want to accomplish in your therapy and prepare a list of questions that you feel are important to your therapy goals. When speaking with the therapist, do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions. A good therapist should address your concerns in a forthright and attentive manner.

A therapist who specializes can save you hours of unnecessary or ineffective care

A specialist will have more knowledge, will be aware of the most recent studies and will have access to a greater number of organizations, support groups, seminars and programs available for your particular issue than a therapist who does not specialize. Ask a potential therapist about their specialty. If they donít have a specialty, then ask them the bulk of the issues of their clientele. A therapist who has committed himself, or herself, to a specific issue or clientele will provide more effective and efficient therapy than a therapist who does not specialize in your particular issue.

Paying a premium for quality can save you hours of unnecessary or ineffective care

Ineffective therapy sessions are not a bargain at any price. The quality of a therapist is important to the effectiveness of your care. Ask for their credentials and a list of organizations or professionals who have referred clients to them in the past. Contact the organizations and a few of the professionals to confirm the list is legitimate.

I hope I have provided you with some insight into the therapy industry. I also hope this knowledge empowers you to make a proactive decision about your mental health needs.

Any of these articles by Lisa Dunning, Family Therapist may be re-published in hardcopy (magazines, newsletters or newspapers) or electronic format in websites, ezines or electronic newsletters provided the following resource box is included at the end of the article with a link to the URL

Lisa Dunning is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Specializing in Parent/Child Relationship issues, the author of "Good Parents Bad Parenting: How To Parent Together When Your Parenting Styles Are Worlds Apart" and the host of her own radio show, "Life Support". She provides marriage, divorce and parenting phone sessions to clientele across the United States and Canada and provides expert parenting advice to newspaper & magazine columnists.  To learn more about Lisa Dunning visit her website at

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Copyright 2004, Lisa Dunning, MFT
(Choosing a Family Therapist that is Right for You)