What to Look For in a Therapist
What to look for in a therapist? Finding a therapist can be hard. We might reach out to a therapist to find out they are not accepting new clients. Or we find one we like but they do not take our insurance. what to look for in a physical therapist? Now let’s say you have narrowed down your list of potential therapists to those who have the clinical experience to treat your needs. You note that their website lists they specialize in the issues you are currently facing. Their rate is in your price range and/or you find that your insurance can support you with out-of-network costs. But now what?
We need to know what to look for in a therapist. If you have not connected with a therapist yet, check out our Approach Therapy therapists or our article with tips to help you find one. Unfortunately, there is no online profile or survey that will 100% guarantee if a therapist will be the perfect fit for you. This means that finding a therapist can require introspection and patience. It may even take a few sessions to test the waters before you decide to continue treatment. Below are some ideas to consider in your first sessions with a therapist to help you find a quality match.
They respect your boundaries
The cornerstone of therapy is trust. Even though trust takes time to develop, it is fostered when your boundaries are respected. So, when meeting with a new therapist, observe the dynamic between the two of you. Below are some questions to help you with this. If the answer is yes to the following questions, your therapist is likely respecting your boundaries. This will help the two of you build trust over time.
- Do you feel comfortable asking them questions or
- Does it feel okay to disagree on something?
- Do they understand when you aren’t ready to talk about something?
They value your opinion
Your therapist should respect and value what you have to say. This creates a collaborative environment where you can work together as a team. If your insights are not heard and explored, it will make it increasingly difficult to feel confident in your ability to face new challenges. Look for someone who empowers you to take control of your life inside and outside of therapy sessions. Your therapist should:
- Strengthen your ability to cope with life’s stressors
- Help you manage uncomfortable emotions, and
- Increase your ability to problem solve.
Notice how your therapist responds to your insights. Are they listening to your thoughts and feelings without judgement? Or are you feeling guilty or ashamed after your session because of what they said? Trust yourself in your observations while continuing to keep an open mind!
They offer suggestions, not advice
People seeking therapy are often looking for a neutral sounding board. If they wanted advice, they would speak with a friend or family member. A therapist’s role is to help people live authentically and develop solutions to manage their symptoms. When a therapist is offering advice, they are pushing their own agenda at the cost of their client’s treatment.
Simply put, the ultimate goal of therapy is for clients to no longer need therapy. When a therapist is always in the driver’s seat, it can complicate treatment. It creates a dynamic where clients struggle to navigate the circumstances that brought them to therapy in the first place. If your therapist is often telling you what to do or explaining how they would manage your situation, you might want to discuss it in your next session.
Hopefully, this article provided you with some ideas to keep in mind while you search for a therapist. If you have an interest in our services at Approach Therapy, please get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to discuss how we may be able to help you.
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