How to Choose a Therapist…
“It’s not too difficult to get the skeletons out of the closet with people, but to get the gold out is a different matter. That is called therapy.”
– Robert Johnson
When you’re looking around for a therapist, really look.
In fact, before you decide on someone, meet with as many therapists as you can stomach. Interview 2 or 3 or 5 of us — more if you need to — and choose the one you feel most confident in. It’s an important decision, and the effort you put in up front to find the right person will pay off.
So how will you know when it’s a good fit? You’ll know. Here are some signs of it:
- You leave your first session feeling hopeful, even surprised
- You have the sense that the therapist really understood you
- You find yourself thinking things like “This person is really good… S/he can help me…”
- You actually want to go back
If you leave your first session with these sorts of feelings, you’ve probably found a good match — at least one that’s worth pursuing further.
If you leave your first session thinking “Well, I guess that person was OK… And s/he came recommended, but…”— then you should probably move on.
Too many people stay with the first therapist they meet even when it isn’t a good match. They have little else to compare with, so they assume this is just how therapy is. But finding a therapist you feel good about usually takes time and a little bit of effort (unless you get lucky on the first shot).
Therapists are all different. Very different. Some say very little; others talk a great deal. Some ask many questions; others mostly make observations. Some suggest exercises and homework; others won’t suggest anything. Some use only one approach, others use many.
Many of us — regardless of our credentials or background or good intentions — just won’t be a good fit. The key is finding someone you respect, connect with, experience as caring, and actually want to work with. To do that, you may need to kiss a few frogs. But it’s worth it. Experiencing good therapy — with a therapist who’s a good match for you — will change your life.