Are you looking for a therapist for the first time or because you’ve had a failed experience in the past? Are you wondering what a psychotherapist does and what to look for? Here’s what I believe are the most important considerations in making your decision:
Choose an experienced professional who understands you in a way you’ve never been understood before. Someone who is present, calm, attentive, and focused on really listening; and hearing you. Someone who says things you wouldn’t think of on your own. These are qualities you should experience even in your first meetings.
In fact, here are:
Do’s & Don’t’s To Keep In Mind
DO choose a therapist with good boundaries. A therapist that is ready for your session on time. Provides you with a consistent schedule. Doesn’t answer the telephone during your sessions. And listens carefully to you; saying something helpful each time you meet.
DON’T see a therapist who diagnoses you. Makes you feel judged. Doesn’t focus on understanding your symptoms in a compassionate way; unique to you and your history.
DO choose a therapist who listens openly. One that can adjust his or her thoughts if you don’t agree.
DON’T see a therapist who makes you feel you or your symptoms are hopeless. Either because they’ve gone on a long time. Or because of your age. Or because of some diagnostic box they’ve put you in.
DO choose a therapist who isn’t defensive or pushy if you dispute what they’ve said. If you question them. Or if you are angry.
DON’T see a therapist who talks about his or her personal life. Is self-preoccupied. Or unreliable. Know that you deserve consistency and focus so that you get the help you need.
DO choose a therapist who says things that result in a, “Hmmm, I never thought about it that way before. That sounds right to me.” Or even, at times, in an “AHA!” Moment.
DON’T see a therapist who steps over the line in any social or sexually seductive way. That might, momentarily, feel special, particularly for those who never do. But it isn’t what you need from a therapist.
DO choose a therapist who is fully capable of allowing, meeting openly, and handling comfortably any feeling or fantasy you bring. Just as importantly, about them.
You Made The Right Decision When:
- You understand more clearly why you feel the way you do.
- You feel freer to express yourself.
- You see your life and relationships changing
- You begin to respond in new ways to old situations
- You are less self-critical and much more self-accepting.