You're looking for a therapist, you've probably been thinking about this for awhile now and the tipping point has been reached. You're motivated to find the right person. Now what? Seems like everyones on the insurance panel or in the directory, or on personal websites does the same thing: treats anxiety, depression and relationship issues with a sprinkling of grief, parenting, divorce, trauma and sexuality etc specialties. There's literally 31 plus flavors of therapy to choose from: a Jungian, an attachment theorist, a somatic and gestalt therapist, CBT, mindfulness, hypnotherapist, art therapist, inner child, primal wound, EMDR, eclectic.
If you plan on working on a specific issue the game just got a bit easier: look for a specialist in that issue; but know that therapy is not a linear process and most commonly we begin with one issue that leads to a web of other interconnected issues. This is what makes therapy simultaneously beautiful and messy.
As therapists, regardless of our orientation, there is a golden rule: the relationship heals. The cornerstones of therapy are trust, safety, confidentiality and honesty. One weak pillar and the optimal outcome is compromised. Measure these illusive qualities in the gut, where we are discovering, immense intelligence is waiting to inform you, if you are brave enough to trust your intuition. My advise: interview at least three therapists over the phone, ask them about their experience with your greatest concern. Do they listen carefully, are they empathic and respectful, do they give you their time? Now ask your gut: do I trust this person, can I imagine being vulnerable and honest in their presence, are they professional and competent? After each conversation give them a letter grade, and make the next call, preferably in one sitting, or day to minimize variable factors in this experiment.
I hope this helps, and, just for the record, CBT rules and my favorite flavor of ice cream is soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirl. May the best therapist for you win!