October 2, 2021

What to Know for Finding a Therapist by Kristen Pyke-Pierce

What to know for finding a therapist provided by therapist/researcher: Kristen Pyke-Pierce.

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FOREWARD:

Whether you are an individual who is curious about therapy or an entrepreneur interested in the benefits of a coping mechanisms, here is a step by step guide for finding a therapist, provided by my friend/therapist/researcher: Kristen Pyke-Pierce.

Though I personally never sought therapy, her perspectives opened up insightful conversations towards bettering mental well-being despite where one is in life!


What to Know for Finding a Therapist 

Do I need a therapist?

When I get this question from people, I usually ask them how they are coping with their current situation. For example, A can usually de-stress from work by running or reading a book. However, when A goes for a run or tries to read a book it doesn’t calm them down and they are still stressed out. Then they probably need a therapist. The coping mechanisms that they have used before is not enough for them to deal with their current situation.

Finding a Therapist:

  • If you have insurance, reach out to them to find out who is covered by your insurance. From there you can read therapists profiles and see which one would be best for you.
  • Another option is to ask you primary care provider for recommendations. Sometimes they may have recommendations of therapist or organizations that they usually refer people too. 
  • You can also look up therapists in your area. However, if you have insurance they may not be covered by your insurance, and you may have to pay out of pocket. 

Therapist’s Theoretical Orientations:

  • Therapist orientation: an organized set of assumptions or preferences for given theories that provides a counselor or clinician with a conceptual framework for understanding a client’s needs and for formulating a rationale for specific interventions (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
  • Therapists have a theoretical orientation, which they use to guide their work with their clients. 
  • Some theoretical orientations include cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, psychodynamic, and systemic. There are variations of therapy approaches within each one of those four groups. Each theoretical orientation is based on a theory that was developed and modified throughout time. 

Question to ask yourself when finding a therapist:

  • Asking yourself, do I want a therapist who is more directive or non-directive? 
    • A directive therapist may give you worksheets to complete after session and is more likely to have a plan for each session given your concerns and symptoms. 
    • Whereas a non-directive therapist is more likely to listen to your present concerns and let you direct what you focus on in therapy each week. 
    • Some therapists combine both non-directive and directive approaches when they meet with clients. 

Meeting with your therapist:

  • Ask your therapist which approach they use for therapy so you can figure out if they are a good fit for you. 
    • If the approach to therapy matches, great! You found a therapist!
    • If the approach doesn’t match or you don’t like their approach, its okay! You can ask them for recommendations and/or keep looking for another one. 
  • If you work with your therapist for some time and you feel like its not working, then talk to your therapist. Try to problem solve what’s wrong. Maybe its an approach that they are taking, or your personalities don’t match.  
    • If your personalities don’t match you can always request another therapist or change therapists. Each therapist has a different personality, and you may not meet the right therapist for you in your first try. Don’t give up! You can find one that works for you!

Coping Skills 

Triangle Breathing:

This is a great skill to use when you need to calm down your body. It helps to calm your overall body and slow your thoughts and breath. Some people find it helpful when they are breathing quickly because they are anxious. 

  1. Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so
  2. Focus on breathing deeply, specifically diaphragmatic breathing 
    1. Put a hand on your stomach and if it moves up and down you are using diaphragmatic breathing
  3. Once you are breathing deeply
    1. Breath in for the count of two
    2. Hold for the count of two 
    3. Breath out for the count two
    4. Repeat 5 times
  4. If you feel like two is too easy increase the number of breaths to a comfortable pace

Five Senses Grounding Technique:

This skill is helpful to use when you need to focus on your surroundings and ground yourself to the present moment. It’s another great skill to use when you stressed out and stuck in your thoughts.

  1. Get in a comfortable position
  2. Answer the following questions:
    • What is 5 things you can see?
    • What is 4 things you are touching?
    • What is 3 things you can hear?
    • What is 2 things you can smell?
    • What is 1 thing you can taste?


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about finding a therapist and coping techniques. For short, guided meditations that Kristen and her other psychologist friends use and recommend visit: Meditation Minis Podcast.

To read more about Kristen or view her Table Talks interview, click here.