Choosing a therapist is an important thing. And there are a few things that can help you in your decision-making process.
First, let me just say, Sarah, that I'm always looking for interesting things to write about. I have (as you all must know by now!) lots of stuff that goes on in my head and lots of things I like to talk to you guys about. But what interests me most to write about is whatever interests you guys most. I'm happiest when I get to write about things you guys ask about.
So... on to choosing a therapist. There are both subjective and objective factors you'll want to consider. From an objective viewpoint, you'll want to find out what kind of experience the person has, and how long he/she has been practicing.
For instance, how much experience does the clinician have working with people who suffer from eating disorders? What kind of training did he/she get in this specialty? What specific education did he/she have in the causes and treatment of these illnesses? What percentage of his/her practice is specializing in working with people who have EDs?
In addition to training/experience, I think it's helpful to know a bit about how they view eating disorders, how they conceptualize treatment and recovery. For example, some people see EDs as addictions, others as at least somewhat genetically based, others as societally or personality based or a combination... You want to work with someone whose philosophy about these disorders makes sense to you.
You might also want to ask if they work collaboratively- do they have a dietitian, medical doctor, psychiatrist, etc, with whom they regularly work?
And then, there are the subjective factors: how does it feel to sit in the room with this clinician? Do you feel comfortable? (you don't have to LOVE the person that first meeting, but you sure shouldn't feel afraid, intimidated, patronized, criticized.... anything creepy)? Do you feel listened to? Do you feel the clinician is hearing you and understanding what you're saying? What does your intuition say about the meeting? What does your "gut" tell you?
When someone new comes to meet with me I encourage him/her to ask any/all questions she can think of. I also encourage people to meet with as many clinicians as they want to, and to meet with each of them several times before they make a final decision, if that's helpful for them.
Someone told me something today that is relevant here (and most other places in life!): life is written in pencil, not in pen. You can always try out a therapist for awhile, see how it goes. It will become very clear to you if it's a good match. If it is, great. If not, continue looking for someone with whom you do have a good connection. Therapy is too important not to get to have a clinician who is a really good fit. So, don't sell yourself short- keep looking until you find who you want to work with. And trust yourself in this process.
Sarah, you've been in therapy, you know things that work and maybe even things that don't. So, trust that about yourself. And don't be afraid to talk to any prospective new therapists about your experience in therapy- what you like, what you didn't, how you work... any of that's fine and good to talk about. It's also totally fine to talk about your previous therapist- sometimes people worry about doing that, but I assure you, it's a good idea- and any competent therapist will encourage you to do so, as much as it is helpful for you. Good luck with the transition! There are a lot of really good therapist out there, lots of people who really want to help.