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  • Writer's pictureDolphin Tribe

Your guide to finding the right psychotherapist

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Have you recently decided you could benefit from therapy? Taking this first step towards prioritising your mental health is an act of courage. The next challenge is finding a therapist who can help you reach your goals.


Therapy Session with psychologist
Therapy Session with psychologist

A quick Google search will bring up pages and pages of psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists in Sydney. You can find clinic websites, databases, and patient reviews. While it’s wonderful to have so many options at your fingertips, knowing how to narrow down the list can be overwhelming.

As you embark on your search, remember that your counselling experience will rely on the relationship you develop with your therapist. You'll explore your innermost thoughts, confront tough emotions, and aim to change behaviours that are holding you back from living your best life. To do this effectively, you need to be guided by the right person.

Whether you are seeking therapy for yourself or your child, this guide will help you navigate the process of finding the right therapist.

Four things to consider when looking for a therapist


To improve your chances of selecting the best match for you, consider the following key factors:

The psychotherapist’s specialty

Do you struggle with a particular mental health condition? Are you hoping to improve your relationship through couple’s counselling? Do you have concerns about your child’s learning abilities or behaviour? Consider the reason you are seeking out a psychotherapist and look for one whose area of interest and expertise aligns with your needs.

At Dolphin Tribe, we specialise in family focused mental health, with a particular interest in children, adolescent, and perinatal psychology and psychiatry. You can find our therapists’ particular areas of interest on their profiles here.

The clinic location

It’s a good idea to choose a therapist who will be convenient and easy for you to reach. Before booking an appointment, check the location: is it close to my home or workplace? Will I have to battle traffic to reach their clinic on time? Is there a bus stop or parking nearby? Is Telehealth appointments available?

While these considerations may seem trivial, you’re more likely to stick with counselling long-term if getting to your appointment is easy.

Defining features

You don't have to worry about being politically correct when selecting a psychotherapist. Finding the right therapist is a deeply personal choice, and it's essential to choose someone you can speak to openly.


If you feel more comfortable with an individual of a particular gender, age, or personality type, that's perfectly fine. It's also okay to seek out a therapist who shares your native language. Your progress will depend on your comfort level, so reflect on what will make you feel most at ease.

Your psychotherapist’s credentials

Choosing a psychotherapist with the right qualifications helps ensure you receive safe, effective, research-based treatment. In Australia, licensed therapists have undergone extensive training and adhere to ethical standards designed to protect clients. They will be registered with the appropriate governing body, and it is well within your rights to ask any potential therapist about their qualifications, registration, and membership with professional associations.

To check if a psychotherapist is registered in Australia, visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)’s public registry here. Beyond this, registered psychiatrists will belong to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), and registered psychologists will be members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Once you’ve found a psychotherapist that ticks all the boxes, it’s time to book an appointment.

Try a counselling session and see how you feel

It’s a good idea to walk into your first appointment with an open mind, especially if you have never had any form of counselling before. Mental healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it may take some time for you to feel comfortable in this setting and for your psychotherapist to discover which psychotherapy methods work best for you.

Some people feel an immediate connection with their psychotherapist; for others, building this relationship is more of a slow burn. Some people feel a sense of relief or hope after just one session, while others feel overwhelmed and emotional. All of this is normal.

The most important elements of a relationship between you and your therapist are trust, rapport, and shared goals for your mental health, but developing these can take time. So long as you feel safe, unjudged, and listened to, it is worth persevering with a few appointments with any given therapist and investing in the relationship, even if the first appointment left you on the fence.

There’s no pressure to click with your psychotherapist

That said, it’s important to distinguish between the unease of getting to know a new person and feeling genuinely uncomfortable with your therapist. While reviews and recommendations can go a long way, what works for one person may not resonate with another. Think of it like the chemistry between actors in a film: sometimes two wonderful people just can’t connect in a meaningful way.

If after a few sessions you still don’t click with your psychotherapist, it might be time to look elsewhere. At the end of the day, your therapist wants you to make progress with your mental health, even if they’re not the right person to guide you.

Learn more about the psychotherapists at Dolphin Tribe

We have four therapists at our Sydney-based, family-focused mental health clinic in Eastwood, New South Wales. Here’s a brief overview; to learn more about each one, you can visit their profile pages here.

Dr Sangeetha Makielan, our clinic founder, is a Child and Family Psychiatrist Psychotherapist. She brings a holistic and inclusive approach to all her patients, treating a range of mental health issues through both psychiatric care and psychotherapy. She provides short-, medium- and long-term psychotherapy,

Ms Aiping Ong is a Child and Educational Psychologist who loves helping children work through complex thoughts and emotions. She works with children under 12 who have autism (ASD), anxiety, developmental delays, intellectual disability, and giftedness.

Miss Juliana Kim is a Registered Provisional Psychologist passionate about supporting youth in her local community. She works with adolescents and young adults both in one-on-one and large group settings.

If you are interested in booking an appointment with our psychiatrist, please read our psychiatrist appointments page and make an appointment request here.


To book an appointment with a psychologist, please call our clinic on 02 7202 7747 .


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