7 Tips on How to Choose your Therapist
Congratulations!! You´ve taken the first and most important step: Deciding to go to therapy.
This cannot be repeated enough nowadays, that you DO NOT have to have the biggest problems in the world, a mental health diagnosis, be on the verge of a breakdown or have suicidal thoughts in order to go to therapy.
Therapy consists of understanding and healing the mind. Just like you want to understand your body and heal it if it´s sick, or if it has an infection, or something more serious and you therefore go to the doctor… Or you go for a check-up anyway just to make sure things are going well, and if maybe you have a vitamin deficiency you get some vitamin supplements. Therapy is THE SAME! Instead of your body, you´re taking care of your mind, and frankly, the mind controls the body, and our perception of life, which therefore affects our mood and way of living, which in turn affects the level of our wellbeing. Wouldn´t you agree?
SO…having cleared that, the next step is finding a therapist who´s a good match for you!
I have to first begin by saying that THERAPISTS ARE HUMAN TOO.
We´re not GOD, or a GENIE, we don´t have magical solutions that can happen from one day to the next.
We also cannot have gone through ALL the experiences of the world, in order to be able to work with you. We cannot be orphans but have abusive parents at the same time. We probably won´t have a near death experience, as well as a dog phobia, as well as a fear of heights, as well as agoraphobia, as well as an extroverted kind of personality disorder. It would be impossible to know what it is being a single parent and at the same time being in a destructive relationship with a partner and having kids.
The examples are infinite.
What we ARE, however, is trained for many years to know how to explore all of Your experiences. Trained to ask the right questions to make you understand yourself better; to help you get to a better place. We guide you with our professional knowledge to where you want to go. We don´t simply take you there. That´s your job. Therapy requires willingness and commitment from your part, because you come to therapy for YOU, not for us. Your therapy is about You, and You are the one leading your life.
Therefore, here are:
7 tips some tips on how to Find the Right Therapist for you!
- YOU BE THE ONE TO CHOOSE
When you are an adult, you become legally responsible for your life. That means your parents or any other person is not responsible for your choices. You are the one going through therapy, and it´s a very personal and intimate space for you, and only you. So, you should be the one to choose who you think you would feel more comfortable with.
- ANY PARTICULAR PREFERENCES?
It´s possible you may already have some requirements about the kind of therapist you want. For example, whether you feel more comfortable with a woman or a man, with a person who´s more similar to your age or not, or with someone who lives nearby or not, or maybe you want a therapist who specialises in a specific area. That can narrow down your options to start with.
I will encourage you, however, to be open to choosing someone you wouldn´t have thought you would, if your intuition is telling you to.
- ASK FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Asking people you trust to suggest someone, can be a great way to choose a therapist. If they are being recommended to you it means those people had a positive experience with that particular therapist, which increases the chances that you might too.
- GET AN INITIAL FEELING
You can do this by looking at a picture of them online or having a quick chat on the phone with them. Again, I want to stress that I am encouraging you to listen to your gut, not to be judgemental. This first contact with the therapist can tell you a lot about how you feel about them.
Remember! It´s not about finding the best therapist. It´s about finding a good match for You. All of this depends on the kind of person You are and what You are looking for.
- HAVE A FIRST SESSION
Meeting someone in person is the ultimate test to see how you feel around them. Careful! It´s important for the therapist to feel comfortable with you too. As I said, therapists are human too with their own history and personality, which means that sometimes for their own reason they may not feel they are a good match for you, OR, they may feel that another professional would suit you better, based on your presenting issue.
Either way, this is not a personal matter. It is absolutely normal to not always ´fit´. Think of it as choosing a hairdresser/barber! Aside from them doing what you consider a good job, you might choose them, or not, for how you feel around them.
- DON´T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE
If for whatever reason you do not end up feeling comfortable, or that the specific therapist is not the greatest match for you, don´t hesitate to change. Undergoing therapy is a process that takes time, in which you share very intimate details, and it´s important you feel good and safe to express yourself around them.
- NOTICE THE CHANGE
Be aware of any changes in yourself, like having a bigger understanding of some of your experiences, feeling like you are thinking of things you would not have thought of on your own, recognising some of your own faults, feeling good after each session and looking forward to the next one, even if they are hard topics to talk about or to accept. If, with time, you are noticing some of the above…Then you´ve found yourself a good match!