Pearlman & Associates

655 Craig Road
St. Louis, MO 63141

Monday – Saturday

5 Things to Look for in a Mental Health Therapist

5 Things to Look for in a Mental Health Therapist

By Dr. Lena Pearlman, Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates, St. Louis, Missouri

“But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.”

Just like Liam Neeson’s character in the movie “Taken”, a great therapist has a particular set of skills, experiences and attributes. It is critically important that you take time to ensure that you find a therapist that is a match for your particular needs and your personality. This will significantly increase the chances of therapy being a successful experience for you.

Below please find 5 things to look for in a therapist:

1.) Experience

Just like a surgeon, an investment advisor, mechanic, or other profession, experience is very important. An experienced therapist will have many tools and strategies that they have used successfully in the past. These tools can be used in combinations to customize an effective treatment plan for you.

2.) Education

Fortunately, in order for a therapist to be licensed, they are required to have a minimum of a Master’s degree. Included in their degree training, they are required to have successfully completed several hundred hours of hands-on practice – not to mention passed a rigorous state assessment.

3.) Trust

There is no degree or test that can provide you this information. However, you can increase your odds of finding a therapist that you can trust by getting a referral from another medical professional, a trusted friend, or by doing research and reviewing feedback.

4.) Positivity and Optimism

You definitely want to find a therapist that is positive in their interactions with you and that is optimistic about the possible benefits of the therapy sessions. If not, it is time to locate another therapist. A great therapist should be able to articulate a treatment plan for you. 

5.) Partnership & Commitment

Participating in therapy forms a bond or a partnership. It is important to know that you are partners in this relationship. It is also critical to know that the therapist is in for the “long haul”. You would hate to start this process and then have your therapist retire or relocate.

Dr. Lena Pearlman is the founder of Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates ( a therapy and counseling practice in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Pearlman has 20 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The practice specializes in depression, anxiety, stress management, relationships, and other mental health related issues. The team of five therapists provides counseling and therapeutic services for individuals, couples and families.


The office is located at 655 Craig Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, Missouri 63141. The phone number is 314-942-1147.

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