Finding & Evaluating Therapists

Very helpful resources for your search.

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There are ways to find therapists where you live who have the right experience, training and knowledge.

But first, you should know about good web resources on how to choose and evaulate potential therapists once you’ve gotten some names and numbers.

We strongly suggest reading these articles before seeking or contacting potential therapists in your area. For example, as these articles suggest, it is important to “interview” at least two or three potential therapists, rather than committing to the first one who seems to know what he or she is doing.

The Sidran Foundation has an extensive list of therapists and clinics around the country that specialize in treating people with histories of mild to severe childhood adversities or abuse. See their page About the Help Desk. Again, neither we nor the Sidran Foundation can vouch for every therapist on the list, but they can usually, at a minimum, provide some good leads.

As described elsewhere, EMDR is a therapy proven to help people transform traumatic memories into nontraumatic ones, and particularly suited to men who do not want to talk about what actually happened. It is also practiced by thousands of therapists around the world, many of whom are very experienced at working with men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. You can find EMDR therapists through the Find a Therapist service of the EMDR International Association. EMDRIA’s primary objective is to “establish, maintain and promote the highest standards of excellence and integrity in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practice, research and education.”

RAINN‘s phone hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) can connect you with people who, in many cases, can recommend therapists or clinics qualified to help you in your community – but please keep reading before you use this service. The phone hotline automatically links callers to local counseling centers in their area with trained staff members who know about (a) the effects of unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences and (b) available local services. However, someone answering the phone at a local center may not understand issues and concerns specific to men, and may not know any local therapists or clinics qualified to help you.

Psychologist Listings of The Association of Black Psychologists – Lists African American psychologists around the country and their areas of specialty, including “sexual abuse.” Those without that specialized focus may know African American or other therapists of color (or White therapists) in their area who are skilled at working with people of color who’ve had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood.

The Consumer’s Guide to Psychotherapy, by Drs. Jack Engler and Dan Goleman (author of the best-selling Emotional Intelligence), is an excellent book available in paperback from Amazon, both new and used (some really cheap), and may be in your local library. Though it was published in 1992, and is not up to date on the latest treatment innovations, this book has a great deal of timeless wisdom about choosing a therapist, the nature of therapy, different schools of therapy, etc.

Finally, see Local & Regional under Additional Resources, which may link to an organization or clinic near you.