West Chester, PA is a dynamic place to live. If you already live here, you probably know that - if you don't live here, you might not have heard of it. We have the wonderful West Chester University right here and an historic downtown with cute shops and great restaurants. With Everhart and Goshen Parks in town and and Valley Forge in our back yard, we sure are lucky to have so much nature at our fingertips.
Finding an Eating Disorder Trauma therapist in West Chester, PA
seems harder than it should be. With Bryn Mawr's Graduate School of Social Work close by, Villanova and St. Joseph's University, not to mention University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore and LaSalle, we have many talented social workers and other clinicians in the counseling profession. So, how do you determine which person will be the best fit for you? Choosing a therapist is a very personal decision. If you are looking for a counselor, psychologist, life coach or therapist - I'd like to help you find someone who can help.
Here are some ways to search
I bet you know some people who are in the mental health field or who know other people who are. Think about asking someone who works for a rehab or treatment center, your doctor or someone at your school. Therapists that come highly recommended are a good way to make sure they have a good reputation.
Type in to Google your town and the issue you are looking for help with. For example, "Downingtown Anxiety" or "Paoli Trauma" and see what comes up. In the top things that come up in your search, you will hopefully see some links to therapists that specialize in your particular need.
What you will most likely see is a result that links to a Psychology Today profile for therapists in your area that have indicated these specialties. Psychology Today is a great site that is most commonly used for therapists to post their profiles and for clients to find a therapist nearby. The great thing is that you can refine your search by specialty. The unfortunate thing is that therapists can indicate that we specialize in as many topics as we'd like. Although a therapist might indicate that they specialize in anxiety, if it's really something we want to work with, we usually spend lots of time talking about it on our websites.
Check out the websites of potential therapists. If you are looking for help with panic attacks and the website you are visiting talks a bunch about panic attacks, that's a great sign! If you are looking for help with PTSD symptoms and you're on a website that doesn't mention them, you might want to keep looking.
Often, therapists will offer a free 15 minute phone consultation for potential new clients. This is a great service and a good opportunity for you to interview your potential therapist. You are going to be spending a good amount of time and money on therapy to help you achieve your goals. It is very important that you find the right fit for you.
Here are some questions to get your started that you can ask your potential therapist on your phone consultation
- What model of therapy do you use and why?
- How long do your clients usually see you for before they start to see relief from their symptoms?
- Why did you decide to become a therapist?
- Do you specialize in my specific need and if so, how do you work with it?
- What can I expect from therapy if I work with you?
If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in eating disorders or trauma, here are some things to remember:
Eating disorders and trauma are very complex issues and require special training to know how to treat properly.
A team of specifically trained eating disorder specialists is usually necessary for successful resolution of eating disorder symptoms.
Genetics loads the gun, circumstance pulls the trigger.
Eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological and social factors. There is no single factor and there are different opinions among experts in the field.
For this reason, many people with PTSD and eating disorders choose to get counseling privately. But how do you know if the therapist is legit? How do you know if they really "get it"? How do you know if they don't just want you to rehash your past rather than provide a strategy to help you get to the other side of it?
Here is a list of questions to ask a potential eating disorder and trauma therapist:
- What method do you use to treat eating disorders?
- What method do you use to work with PTSD?
- How effective are those methods?
- Have you worked with people who struggle with food and body before?
- Do you believe in full recovery from an eating disorder or do you believe you have to abstain from certain foods for the rest of your life?
- Do you get to the root of the problem or work mostly with the symptoms?
- Do you think you can help me and why?
In an ideal world, you would find a therapist who has special training and expertise in the methods that show the best results and someone who has tons of experience working with eating disorders and trauma. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. So you'll need to search a bit further. You'll be searching for someone that you connect with, who you feel comfortable talking to, someone who will be honest with you and you'll know you can be honest with them.
I hope this helps you in your search for the right therapist in West Chester, Pa. If you want some tools to help now, sign up for my newsletter to get some tips and tools for managing PTSD and eating disorders. If you are still feeling stuck, feel free to call me at 610.314.8402 for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am available to listen to what's happening and help direct you to the right person. If you are looking for help with eating disorders or PTSD, you can read more about how I can help here.