Choosing a CBT Therapist

How do I choose a CBT therapist?

After making a decision to seek therapy many people do not know how to go about finding an experienced, qualified therapist.  Finding a therapist can be confusing because there are many different types of therapists (Ph.D., Psy.D., LCSW, MFT etc.)  offering a wide range of treatments.  Anyone who is unfamiliar with mental health treatment may find the array of choices overwhelming.

When people don’t know how to find a qualified therapist they often rely on therapist directories or recommendations from friends.  While these may be convenient ways to find a therapist, these recommendations do not always ensure that you are choosing a therapist who provides effective treatment for your problem.

With advances in research we now know that not all types of therapies are equally effective.  We now have solid scientific evidence that certain types of therapies are effective in reducing symptoms and providing long-lasting relief.  CBT is the most common kind of evidence-based treatment; however, therapy that incorporates mindfulness and acceptance into treatment has proven effective as well.  Therapies that incorporate mindfulness into treatment include Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Functional Analytic Therapy (FAP).

While there are no absolute guidelines for finding a qualified CBT therapist, I recommend asking these questions to prospective therapists.

Questions to Ask When Seeking Therapy

1)  What is your experience and training in CBT?   See this link for a full list of evidence-based therapies.

2)  Do you have specialized training in treating my disorder? What is your specialized training?

3)  How do you stay up to date on your training?

4) How many people have you treated with my disorder?

5) How do you measure progress?  How long do you expect treatment to last?

Below are links to organizations that provide additional information about choosing a qualified therapist.

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)

The Anxiety Disorder Association of America

The International OCD Foundation