Finding a therapist in Oklahoma City can be a difficult challenge. Our city is large enough that there are many options, but also small enough that we can sometimes worry about privacy, the potential awkwardness of running into this person outside therapy sessions, and finding a therapist who’s a good fit for you and how you view the world. This article will give you some helpful ideas as you search for the right therapist. I encourage you to contact me for a consultation if you think I may be a good fit for you.
Of course, counselors are bound by law when it comes to privacy. Like most others, I outline my privacy practices in my Informed Consent paperwork. Still, you want to feel completely safe and secure to tell your therapist everything that’s on your mind. You also want to have a clear understanding of what information is protected, and what scenarios supersede privacy laws. If you have any questions about this, be sure to clarify with your new therapist. A good counselor in Oklahoma City shouldn’t be put off by questions about this important issue, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Aside from basic privacy, it’s good to have an agreement about what happens if you and your therapist happen across each other in public. While we’re a city of over a million people, it’s amazing how often I run across people I know or work with.
Here’s what I tell my clients:
- If I see you in public, I won’t approach or acknowledge you first.
- You’re welcome to approach me if it seems socially appropriate, and I appear accessible.
- I will not offer how we know each other. If anyone asks me, I will deflect in a way that does not disclose the nature of our relationship.
Other therapists may do something different than this, but I feel this puts the choice in the hands of the client, allowing them to disclose or not in a given situation.
Finding the right fit
Many qualities go into a good therapist/client relationship. While I think it’s good to have some idea about what may work best for you, I also encourage you to be open minded about possibilities. Some of my most successful clients have been very different from me — we just worked well together. Still, some qualities to consider may include the following.
Gender and Age
Do you care if your therapist is male or female? Significant experiences in your life may lead you to prefer one over the other. Also, do you prefer a therapist your age or older, or are you open to someone who is younger? Good therapists come in all kinds of people – you just need to find someone you can relate to. The goal is to build a trusting, open therapeutic relationship. It can be tempting to believe a therapist in your demographic may understand you better. Still, I’m not convinced that’s always the case. Just be sure to remember that a therapist is not your friend, so having the same life stage may be less important than having someone who can provide empathy and compassion for wherever you are.
It may be worth considering if you need a therapist who works with certain beliefs about the world. While I’ve had clients do good work when we have had very different outlooks on such topics as politics or religion, you may have a preference here. Understand that one of the ethical guidelines for therapists is that they not impose their values on you. Still, if you hold strong beliefs that have caused relational difficulties for you in the past, it may be worth disclosing this to a potential therapist, just to be sure they feel it will be possible to remain neutral and supportive of you.
As you’re finding a counselor in Oklahoma City, you may encounter a number of Christian counselors. There is an important distinction between a counselor who is a Christian, and someone who counsels from a Christian perspective. Because of the local culture, we have many of both. I encourage you to think hard about how much religion you want in your counseling, and then clarify with a potential counselor exactly how s/he approaches this.
This can get confusing. Here are many of the licenses you may see in counselors:
- LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor
- LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- LADC – Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor
- LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
The above all require a masters degree in an appropriate discipline, with other requirements for testing, experience and supervision. It is possible to get excellent care from a pre-licensure therapist. While experience matters, so does a person’s ability to connect, empathize, and help you feel comfortable and supported. If you find someone who’s in the early career stage, I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them if you feel there’s a connection.
The above therapists are not psychologists. The term “psychologist” refers to a licensure where the person has gotten a doctoral degree (usually a PhD or PsyD) in clinical psychology or counseling psychology. You don’t need a masters degree to enter a doctoral program, so a psychologist may not have more experience than a masters level therapist.
Most therapists have a basic approach to working with clients. It can be good to understand a little about this before choosing the right one for you.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
You hear a lot about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) these days, and it’s probably the most popular approach taken by therapists. This therapeutic approach tends to focus more on your thoughts and actions in the present time. The notion is that by changing your behaviors and getting rid of your automatic negative beliefs, your emotional state can improve. This works really well for some people. Advocates for CBT like to claim it is research-based, although there is some controversy about how accurate this really is.
Oklahoma City also has a strong Psychoanalytic community. This is often referred to as Psychodynamic. I won’t get into the subtleties of this here). This approach considers that you get to this point some way. You work to “unpack” this in therapeutic ways. Your family of origin, significant relationships, and lessons and “rules” you learned about the world while growing up, are often discussed. The basic goal is to give you insight and understand about your past, in hopes that you can live more fully in the present.
I am an Integrative counselor in Oklahoma City, which is a little less common. I pull from multiple approaches, depending on the needs of the client. We also discuss the relationship between your physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences. I believe the mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected, and they affect each other.
Have you ever had a headache make you grumpy?
How about a stressful situation making your neck and shoulders hurt?
What about difficulty making decisions when you’re feeling really anxious or depressed?
These are all examples of how one part of the mind-body-spirit system affects the others. To me, it just makes sense to consider how these are connected. The good news is that it gives us multiple ways to find relief too. Talk therapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, meditation, and lifestyle choices are all on the table with my clients. The people who are drawn to my work seem to find comfort in this multi-faceted approach.
If I can help you find a counselor in Oklahoma City, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m also happy to discuss how my approach to therapy may be a good fit for you. I encourage you to get in touch, or schedule a free consultation.
Note: No part of this website, including this blog post, should be considered psychological treatment, or medical/nutritional advice. It is information, only. If you feel you need counseling or other psychological/medical services, I encourage you to seek qualified, professional help.