Reading Reviews On Therapists? Here's What You Should Know
What is the first thing you check before visiting a new restaurant, going to the movies, or adding an item to your Amazon shopping cart? If you said online reviews, you’re in the vast majority of people. We rely on our peers to help us choose the best products and services on a daily basis, and online reviews make it easier than ever to get this feedback. However, it may be more difficult to find reviews of a therapist. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the reasons counselors may not have many reviews online and offer some other resources to help you find the best fit for your therapy needs.
The Trouble with Reviewing Your Therapist
Protecting your privacy is one of the most important things your therapist does, and unfortunately, asking for reviews can be a serious invasion of that privacy. You will likely never be asked to review a therapist or counseling practice. If you want to leave a review for your therapist, talk to him or her about anonymous reviews. Many professional counselors have links that you can use to directly leave a review without setting up an account or offering any personal information. Another great option is simply writing a review and giving it directly to your therapist to use on a professional website.
The Trouble with Reading Reviews of a Therapist
In most cases, you’ll find few (if any) reviews of a therapist online. Those that do exist will likely be anonymous or from another clinician. While this may be considered “sketchy” in other professions, it’s actually standard for therapists. Like we said at the outset, the counselor wants to protect your privacy and ensure your safety, so they’re unlikely to solicit reviews. It’s hard enough to get reviews when you ask for them constantly, so it’s no surprise that you aren’t going to find many. If there are negative reviews of your therapist, take into consideration personal preference. Counseling is a relationship, and no matter how hard both parties in the relationship try, sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Even if one person had a bad experience with a counselor, you may be a great match.
Better Resources to Help You Find the Right Counselor
So, where else can you look to make sure you’re finding the right provider? We recommend taking a look in all of the following places:
Practice website - while this information is provided by the counselors, it’s usually your best starting point. You’ll usually be able to find information about the therapist’s training, certifications, therapy methods, and more. Many practitioners also include reviews, letters, or testimonials, as part of their site content.
Professional associations - check to see if your provider is a member of professional organizations like the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, etc. These professional organizations typically provide training and continuing education standards that ensure your practitioner stays up-to-date.
Insurance websites - if you’re looking for a practitioner who will accept your insurance, starting on the provider website can be beneficial. Most insurers have databases that allow you to search for providers in your area who are accepting new clients.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) - many people don’t think of a healthcare practice of any kind as a business, but in fact, that’s exactly what it is. The BBB website can offer information about practice licensing, billing issues, and even malpractice suits.
GetTherapy.com - our network of practitioners are all licensed and in good standing, and our referral system makes it easy to find a qualified practitioner near you, and our call center staff can help you navigate the many options you'll find online.
Schedule a visit - even if you’re not 100% sure that you’re ready to commit to therapy with a specific provider, actually going to the office can be a huge determining factor. Many practitioners consider the first session the time to discuss your needs, goals, and the available treatment options. It's a great way to make sure you’ve found the right provider for you.
No therapist is right for every patient, so finding the right one for you might take some time and effort. While reading reviews shouldn’t be your only way to determine whether or not a therapist is right for you, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at any reviews that are available. Just make sure to dig a little deeper to make sure you’re not missing out on the perfect therapist for you because of one bad review.
Brought to you by the GetTherapy Network, Arkansas’ Network of private practice mental health providers.