Picking A Compatible Therapist
I've heard many people say that therapy didn't work for them.
Several factors contribute to whether therapy is successful, but, the connection you have with the therapist is essential. It is the foundation of effective work.
You have to feel comfortable and safe enough to explore what comes up in therapy. Trust takes time but eventually you should be able to talk about almost everything without fear of judgement or criticism.
Psychotherapy varies depending on the approach and personal style of the therapist. Finding these out early can help you decide if you have the right person.
Types of therapy
There are many different approaches to counseling but here are a few to start you off.
- Psychodynamic - focuses on the impact of childhood
- Cognitive behavioral - looks at beliefs and behaviors
- Gestalt - is a more active approach, includes role-plays, and rehearsing
- Humanistic - focuses on the deeper meaning of life, self-actualization
- Holistic/Integrative - non-traditional therapies like hypnotherapy, guided imagery
What to look for:
There are different types of counseling so ask about their approach. On the initial phone call they should be able to tell you how they work with your specific issue. Some therapists focus on thought patterns, childhood, solutions, and/or mindfulness, mind/body, with many variations.
Same goes for the style of the therapist, some are direct and offer solutions. Some have a more gentle, non-directive method. Some are a mixture of both. You will likely need to meet the therapist to experience their therapeutic style although you may get a sense of it during the intial contact.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. You are the consumer - so if you have any concerns let the know up front. How they answer will also give you valuable information.
Here are some ideas:
- How often do they see clients?
- Do they focus on changing behaviors, beliefs or do they focus on the process?
- Will you get specific tools - like how to communicate, handle anger, stay sober?
- If they aren't a match, what happens then?
- How do they describe their approach?
Trust your gut
One more thing...if you get a bad feeling, trust it. Sometimes it's just not a match. Not everyone is compatible. If that is the case, don't be afraid to ask for a referral. If you don't feel comfortable it will effect the work!
If you are looking for a therapist, what's important to you? What kinds of qualities do you feel most comfortable with?