Looking for a therapist? Read this first.

In the past month, I probably received at least ten requests from friends and clients asking for referrals for great therapists.


“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung

Whenever these calls come in, I try and encourage my friends to slow down, step back and approach this process with mindfulness and intention. Take your time to get this right; you’re going to be sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with this person. I’m a big fan of psychotherapy as one of many healing modalities. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great Health Realization,  Imago and Voice Dialogue therapy and coaching I received in my 20’s and 30’s. But not all psychotherapists are equal; take the time to carefully vet and choose a therapist who can both honor who you are, see your innate goodness and challenge you in a way that supports your highest growth.

Here are the questions I asked my friends as they begin looking at various options for supporting their mental/emotional health:

  • Do they need to be on your insurance plan or are you open to paying out of pocket (highly recommended to be open here—many amazing folks no longer are on insurance plans)?
  • Why are you seeing a therapist and what do you hope to accomplish? Another close follow-up to this is: do I need a therapist or a coach? This is a tough one as the lines have become very blurred. Best to ask the therapist (or coach) you’re interviewing to describe how they view the differences. For most, this will provide the clarity you need to make a decision.
  • Is it important for you to see someone who honors/incorporates your religious or spiritual beliefs or not really?
  • Do you want to see someone who integrates somatic techniques (somatic means “body based’) such as mindfulness, breathwork, body-sensing, yoga/talk, etc. ? I love somatic work as “the issues are in the tissues.” Take time to examine the therapist’s background/training and areas of specialty here and check out the book “The Body Keeps the Score.”
  • See if you can schedule a short call with the potential therapist before you set an appointment. I like to ask, “What is your philosophy on/approach to therapy?” “Who or what influences your work (other teachers, models, methods, books, etc. )?” And lastly, “What do think is the purpose of therapy?” I think this is key as I believe therapy is not about “fixing” someone-but helping them come into greater awareness and ultimately the highest expression of themselves.

When looking for referrals, ask friends you trust who have similar values for recommendations. Seek out mental health professionals that have direct/specific experience in the area you want to focus on. Don’t be afraid to schedule an initial session or two and then “sit with” the experience for a while to reflect on whether it’s a fit (trust your intuition—how did you feel when you left the appointment?). Don’t be afraid to be direct and share what works/doesn’t work for you with your therapist. Ask them for their vision or plan for working together (duration, etc.). And lastly, be gentle with yourself and give yourself kudos for taking this courageous step. It’s easier to keep doing what you’re doing rather than exploring all parts of yourself.

I feel honored that so many mental health professionals come to my retreats and are part of our RTA-Certified Facilitator Community. There are so many amazing therapists out there doing such powerful work. This can be one of most transformative experiences of your life. Dedicating time, energy and resources to your mental/emotional/spiritual health—whether it’s attending a one-day retreat or receiving ongoing support– should be as important as taking in clean air and water. If our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, doesn’t it make sense to take time to invest in the care and feeding of our hearts?



  • Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal in 2019-2020. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and managing your energy.  My clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com with questions.
  • Find your tribe! Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators  and empower/support women in your community! More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator and join our inner circle ($100 off through 4/30 for training; learn more + includes private coaching with me).
  • Two spring retreats! Join me May 1oth from 9-4 in San Antonio, TX at the stunning, peaceful, 19-acre Cathedral Park at the Bishop Jones Center for our New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat (Mother’s Day Weekend); check out the bring-a-friend specials but don’t delay-this always sells out; learn more.  And join me June 8th in Brevard, NC (outside of Asheville) for a mini New Way of Being Retreat; learn more.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.

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