Look for one you like as a person, rather than a style of therapy
Study after study shows that the therapeutic relationship is more important than the style or therapeutic modalities used. That is the greatest predictor of change in therapy. While there are effective and wonderful types of therapy out there, if you and your therapist don’t have strong trust and rapport, there likely won’t be much movement. While it sounds simple, trust your gut with your impressions of them.
Look for a therapist that is engaged in their own self work
Some therapists have a great facade of having figured it all out. Be critical of this, because no one has. Sure, we have our specialities and focuses that we may be very sharp at. But everything? Nah. In graduate school, therapists are trained to be generalists, and then find their way from there.
We are, like you, in a steady process of becoming. The therapist can only go so far with you as they have gone themselves. An effective and “good” therapist is one who gets in the trenches with their own stuff, and sits where you do, in the clients chair, often. Be willing to interview your potential therapist by asking them if they are engaged in their own work, and what that looks like.
Look for a therapist that is Registered in your provincial guidelines
Here in BC, the term counsellor or therapist is unregulated. Which means that anyone can call themselves one. A common popular alternative is life coach. While some life coaches are well informed and do great work, they are not upheld to the same ethical guidelines as registered counsellors, and can do a lot of damage particularly around deep emotional work and not recognizing trauma where it lives. A life coach is not the same thing as a counsellor.
Do your research when it comes to what the counselling registrations are for your in your province/state/country. The counsellor/psychotherapist should have a registration number associated with their title.
Look for one that engages in regular supervision
An ethically responsible therapist is seeking supervision and consultation with other therapists. This helps us gain different perspectives in our work, learn and grow. We are held accountable in these groups, and others are able to support us in recognizing how we can support our clients in better or different ways. Be willing to ask your potential therapist if they have a supervisor, especially if they are newer therapists.
Finding a therapist can feel like finding a good pair of jeans. Don’t stick with one that you feel isn’t a good fit, while also trusting that you are giving it a good try before dismissing it. Therapy can be (and will be) uncomfortable at times. Its about being willing to sit through it with someone you trust that is qualified and confident that you can do the work.