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What to Look For in a Therapist

Okay, I got it. You finally did it. Finally made the big jump and decided to either start or return to therapy. Congratulations, you are technically past the hardest 80% of the equation in this process. understanding the benefits of therapy will bolster your self-confidence and improve your mental wellness. However, to improve your outcomes and experience, you will need to choose the right person to be your therapist.

Therapists are individuals. They are unique and have different experiences and educational levels. Therapeutic alliances are just as distinct as the therapist. In general, therapist are congruent, empathetic and attempt to display unconditional positive regard. Even with the basic set of counseling skills, personalities differ, and you should choose someone that you can relate with.

Here are some helpful tips to finding your next therapist:

  1. Be confident in ideal characteristics that you relate to. If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in a specific area, get busy and do your research. Therapy areas include families, chemical dependency, grief or trauma. If a particular area stands out for you; look for a therapist that can specialize.

  2. Use your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if employed. This resource is often the most underutilized benefit that companies offer.

  3. Be open-minded. Experiences in the past can influence the present. Consider how you would feel if you could not find a therapist that looks like you, dresses like you, and has the same hair as you. What if, that is not a possibility for you? Do not allow your preferences to block your healing because of the unavailability of therapist that matches your similarities. Find a therapist; attend your sessions with an open mind and an open heart. In the interim, continue to seek someone you may feel more comfortable working with.

  4. Seek out a non-threatening therapist. If you feel uncomfortable with your therapist, will you really be honest with him or her? The best part of therapy is a non-biased, non-judgmental opinion. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to be honest, do you expect to get accurate feedback? I doubt it. Happy therapist searching.

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