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  • Writer's pictureRebecca

How to find the right NLP therapist for you: My experience

Trying to find an NLP therapist can be a daunting prospect. There are many websites, individuals, groups and also companies with lists and lists of therapists, it can be hard to know where to begin – which is often the biggest problem most people face.


To help get over that often hardest initial barrier, I’ve put together a list of things to keep an eye out for that should help you to narrow things down. It also emenates from my own experiences in searching for help with mental health and wellbeing across many years of my own life (those of you who have been here before will know I have my own mental health story).


1. The goal: Narrow down your therapist search

Think of it like getting a quote/finding a tradesperson, try to find five you think you may like, meet with or correspond with your favourite three, and eventually, choose one! Here are some pointers to help you do just that…


2. Empathy and Compassion

Although it sounds counterintuitive now I’m at this point in my life, I do have to admit to having had my own scepticism towards therapists in the past and equally concerns about cost too.

I used to feel particularly vulnerable and hesitant to engage in therapy, so it became essential for the therapist I did choose to demonstrate genuine empathy and compassion towards my emotional struggles as well as any pressure on finances that may have been apparent at the time. Many times, I felt people were just so clinical and matter of fact, even 'text book', so it was important that they recognised the validity of my concerns and work collaboratively (as opposed to ‘dictating’/’telling’) to explore the different avenues available to me.

I’m assuming that as you’re here online, that you’re search for an NLP therapist will mostly happen online too. Thus, my first point is;

Pay attention to the language used on the website you are reading. Does it feel welcoming to you, do you feel as though this is a person who would suit your needs and even match your own way of doing things?

I’d also advise to also keep a look out for mentions of anything prominent in your life right now, or specialisms the therapist has that resonates with your inner self.


Two children walking down a track, showing compassion


3. The initial consultation

This is a huge bugbear of mine. I’ve seen countless therapists where I’ve been required to pay a full hour’s fee just for an ‘initial chat’ only for them to then to email me saying we’re “not the right fit”, this can seriously add up quite quickly, and for someone who’s already struggling mentally can cause an additional strain and burden, as well as re-enforcing any underlying feelings of rejection.


Whilst I appreciate that many therapists are self-employed and thus ‘time is money’, some thought has to be given to the other side. For me it must be a two-way street, especially given current circumstances. Afterall, if a therapist is good enough – then the cost of offering a free initial consultation is far outweighed by the benefits of finding new people to help in the longer term. Thus, if the second point (empathy and compassion) seems to be satisfied then my third point is;

Never pay for an initial ‘meetup’ or consultation. The best therapists out there offer no obligation, free consultations ranging from anywhere between 15 – 55 minutes in length.

The initial consultation is of great importance, as it’s your opportunity to ‘suss’ someone out or get a feel for the therapist before taking the plunge and booking in for any paid sessions.


4. Rapport

With the first three points out of the way, go into your consultation with an open mind, but remember that it is you, and only you that is at the centre of all this. The needs or even ‘preferences’ of the therapist you are talking with really come in second to yours. I’ve been railroaded in the past to agree to ‘sign-up’ to blocks of paid therapy sessions with therapists I’ve been 50/50 about – mostly because they’d pressured me into believing that the structure they adhere to (or rather, ‘their’ preferences) were for my own good. So, point four is;

Use the time in your free consultation to see if rapport can be established both ways. You’ll know it when you feel it. If it doesn’t feel right to you afterwards, then it’s most likely not, so my advice would be to go back to your list and try the next person.

I cannot express how important this is. Remember this is the person who you are going to see/speak to regularly, with whom you’re going to entrust your secrets and thoughts. This is the person who you need to feel a bond with because without it, you’re unlikely to experience all the benefits that direct NLP therapy has to offer.


Two gentleman standing back to back with great rapport

5. Post consultation: Patience and Understanding.

As someone who is both price-conscious and once harboured a bias against therapists, I used to feel a heightened sense of scepticism about the value of therapy and whether it was worth the financial investment, however large or small – everything is relative. Therefore, it was always crucial for the therapist to demonstrate patience and understanding as I navigated these concerns. Thus;

If you want to find a good NLP therapist, they’d first acknowledge any hesitations you may have about committing to therapy and help to address those, as well show an appreciation and flexibility towards any financial and/or scheduling constraints you may have at the time.

6. Session time: Gentle Encouragement and Collaboration

NLP at its heart (in my opinion) is less structured than other methods (one of the reasons I fell in love with it). So, it’s important to find an NLP therapist who adopts a collaborative approach to therapy, valuing your input and actively involving you in the therapeutic process. You’ll likely ‘get’ a feel for this after your first one or two ‘proper’ sessions;

A therapist who collaborates with you on setting goals, developing treatment plans, and exploring therapeutic techniques empowers you to take an active role in your own healing journey.

Working together, with you in the control seat, will help grow a sense of self-ownership of your unique journey, which can only enhance the effectiveness of your sessions.


Tailor Made

And this fits in nicely with the importance of your therapy being collaborative. You’re not always going to be able to bring your ‘A-game’ and hey, even your ‘B or C’ game – I know I was never able to, so finding an NLP therapist who can adapt to how you’re feeling each session is something I’d deem important, if not essential.


By example, if I had planned a visualisation session for a person wanting to tackle and be rid of some strong emotions, I’d happily do so. However, if they were to arrive that day (online or face to face) and they are extremely drained, have a lot on their mind, are feeling a bit unwell or simply just cannot face it that time then I’d simply adapt and figure out, working with them- the best plan of action for that particular session.


If you’ve built proper rapport and understanding by this point, then with agreement, some therapists may press through knowing it might benefit you in the longer term, whilst others will not push, and perhaps save the visualisation for another time. Perhaps this is one of the more subjective points I make, but the takeaway is;

However it comes, the session choice should always remain with you, especially when it comes to NLP therapy.

Blocks spelling out "change"

7. Proactivity

This may sound like a more obvious one, so I won’t spent too much time on it. Proactivity must be actively encouraged by the therapist themselves and this is a great fit for most, but also your comfort is paramount, so making sure that you can also take a more relaxed approach, especially for the first few sessions as you get to know each other is a choice that you have.


With NLP, many people are keen to dig in and start using some of the many tools or exercises seen by many as the ‘NLP approach’ in order to make changes in their lives. Others prefer a sounding board, a safe place to offload and many seek reassurance about something they are planning to do but need help getting there.


NLP therapy/coaching is essentially all about change and hence a re-framing towards a ‘can do’ mentality and a building up of natural individual strengths, however insurmountable obstacles may feel at the beginning. Hence;

If you begin to feel like you’re ‘treading water’, it may be time to move on…

In a similar vein, expect your NLP therapist to regularly seek feedback from you about your therapy experience and progress;

A therapist who solicits feedback and adjusts their approach based on your input demonstrates a commitment to your well-being and the effectiveness of the therapeutic process.

8. Flexible options/pay as you go

I’ve already alluded to the monetary side of things as being a personal bugbear of mine and it’s because I’ve been there and I’ve wasted hundreds (if not more) on ‘sessions’ I’ve never wanted, because that was the way the therapist ‘needed’ it to be or it was just ‘how they operated’. Again, it does of course come down to income security for the therapist, but it doesn’t consider your needs.


Sure, a therapist is running their own business, but my view is that it’s not the therapist that needs to be considered and it’s the needs of the people seeing them that are paramount. And besides, deliver a good service, and word-of-mouth will surely make up for the odd ‘lost’ session ££’s that are missed, surely?

Many therapists require their ‘clients’ to book in ‘session blocks’ and even charge if a session is missed. I just don’t believe this is fair. For example, if after the 3rd session for you think… actually this NLP therapist is not right for me, then you should be able to stop right there, with no financial penalty whatsoever.


Similarly, you may just want to take a break or even feel you’ve squeezed as much out of your sessions as you can and want to see how it’ll go if you go it alone. My tip then is;

Always find out, up-front, with no room for misunderstanding, what it is you are agreeing to before paying for/booking sessions.

You may be comfortable booking upfront and in blocks of say 10 sessions, which is fine, but for me, I feel that flexibility is not only essential for the wellbeing of the person seeking therapy, but also fosters the building of trust with your therapist, which is a win-win for all involved.


Bank payment cards on a laptop

9. Finding an NLP therapist: Other Considerations

The above eight points are the most crucial things to consider in my own experience, but here are a few more additional things you may wish to consider too.


Accessibility

Consider the accessibility of the therapist's practice in terms of location, transportation options, and office hours. If you have mobility issues or rely on public transportation, ensure that the therapist's office is easily reachable. Additionally, consider whether the NLP therapist offers teletherapy or online sessions, which can provide greater flexibility and accessibility, especially if you have a busy schedule and/or or limited mobility.


Cultural Competence

It's crucial to find a therapist who demonstrates cultural competence and sensitivity to your background, values, and identity. Look for a therapist who has experience working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. A culturally competent therapist can better understand and address the unique challenges and experiences that may arise within your cultural context.


In Summary

By considering these additional factors alongside those previously mentioned, it’s my hope you can make a more informed decision when selecting a therapist who meets your unique preferences, needs, and circumstances.


I wish you luck!


Rebecca x



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