Helping Professionals Directory

The Clergy Wellness Taskforce of the Board of Ordained Ministry has produced a Helping Professionals Directory. Click here to download the latest version. They have also prepared the following advice. If you see any corrections, updates, or deletions that need to be made, please contact Sue Magrath at suemagrath@msn.com.

How to Choose a Therapist

Making the right choice of a therapist is one only you can make.  It is good to get referrals from your friends or colleagues to start, but what is right for them may not be a good fit for you.   It is important to call the therapist or visit their website to get basic information about his or her practice.

The American Psychological Association gives these guidelines and questions to consider when choosing a therapist:

Therapist and clients work together. The right match is important. Most therapists agree that an important factor in determining whether or not to work with a particular counselor, once that person’s credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that person. A good rapport with your therapist is critical. Choose one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease. Ask the following questions:

  • Are you a licensed psychologist or counselor ? How many years have you been practicing?
  • I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I’m having problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems?
  • What are your areas of expertise — for example, working with children and families?
  • What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?
  • What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45-minute to 50-minute session.) Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy?
  • What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance?

Points to Consider in Choosing a Spiritual Director

  • Let your search for a spiritual director be guided by prayer.
  • Has the spiritual director attended a training program, and where?
  • Does he/she have any certifications? (Not required by the profession)
  • Are they receiving spiritual direction for themselves? Are they seeking supervision?
  • What are the fees involved?
  • Some spiritual directors have a “specialty.” Ask about this.
  • Once you meet with them, is there a sense of connection or rapport?

What to Expect from a Spiritual Director

  • One hour sessions approximately once a month.
  • Confidentiality is honored.
  • A prayerful atmosphere in which God is the true source of guidance.
  • Unlike therapy, which is problem-focused, spiritual direction attends to God’s presence in all aspects of life and aids the directee in responding to God more deeply.
  • Usually spiritual directors offer the first session for free to determine if the fit is right for both of you.