It’s an important yet difficult question to answer. Until I am able to write my own thoughts, I refer you to a couple excellent articles below:
- Here’s everything you need to know about therapy by Farah Zerehi. As of June 2021, she is also an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) in California.
- How to find a therapist who is right for you by Los Angeles Times journalist Ada Tseng from December 2020.
I use the words “therapist” or “counselor” as a shorthand for psychotherapist. In the state of California, a psychotherapist must be either licensed or supervised by a licensed psychotherapist. There are several licenses that qualify. To maintain licensure, psychotherapists are bound by legal and ethical standards. The reason for licensing is to protect you, the consumer. For example, consumers can file complaints with the appropriate licensing board. You can check a person’s license status using the California Breeze system.