Bergen County is one of the most populated counties in the nation. This can be beneficial when searching for a psychotherapist. It is helpful to have a large pool of licensed therapists to choose from. Where to start? - First, think about your goals and what you want to accomplish and make a list of questions for the therapist for your first meeting. Some therapists will provide clients with a phone interview in order for you to get to know if you are comfortable right off the bat. - Second, look into your provider directory to see if you have therapists in your area who are covered by your insurance. If you cannot find one through your insurance you might have out of network benefits where you can pay a bit more to see someone outside of your network. - Third, talk to friends, family, doctors, and clergy for referrals. This can be a great way to get some first-hand information about a therapist since relationships are at the heart of every therapeutic relationship. Each therapist will have their own style. It will be up to you to determine whether or not this style contributes to you feeling seen, heard, and respected. Some of the types of therapeutic models are as follows: **Cognitive Behavioral Therapy** This is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy. This therapy gives you tools to find the link between your thoughts and your actions. Often we will find ourselves reacting to a situation or another person without thinking. This is what some might call being “triggered”. When you are triggered you feel something within yourself reacting to what you are sensing without being able to control those reactions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy puts you in charge of yourself by recognizing the connection between your thoughts and your behavior. It requires you to notice your thoughts and question them before they turn into a behavior that is uncomfortable. **Psychodynamic Therapy** Psychodynamic therapy is the original talk therapy. It began with Freud but it has come a long way. The focus of this therapy is on early childhood relations with others. The behaviors we adopted as children to navigate our environment might not serve us well as adults. When we accept where our behaviors and thoughts have come from, we can have compassion for ourselves instead of criticizing ourselves. Therapists who use this modality are encouraging and empathetic. **Humanistic Therapy** This therapy is client-centered. It involves understanding what you believe and developing true self-acceptance. The focus is on the current day to day life, not the past. The therapist believes that you are the expert in your own life. They listen carefully and relay what they are hearing back to you to give you a better understanding of what you are thinking and feeling. Humanistic therapists typically do not make diagnosis a priority and usually do not work with goals in mind. They allow you to determine what you want to talk about each session, believing that you have the answers within. Oftentimes therapists will use a combination of the above models and weave them together to form the structure that will provide the base for healing. Some therapists will also include some type of bodywork to connect your body and mind. The polyvagal theory is one way to use your body to heal your mind as well as yoga, meditation, breathe work, and being outside in nature. Living in Bergen County affords its residents the benefits of having a large number of therapists practicing nearby. When you speak to a therapist take note of how you feel. If you feel safe and connected you are ready to begin your journey, good luck!