8 Signs You’ve Found the Right Therapist
It can be difficult to know, especially at the beginning, that you have found the right therapist for you. There is a difference between a good therapist and a therapist who is right for you. The first person you meet with might end up not being a good fit. The second, third, and fourth therapists might not be a good fit. Here are eight signs you should look for that will help you know that you have found the right therapist for you.
1. They do not sound like a television therapist.
We’ve all watched a television show where a character goes to therapy. Even if the bit is played straight, you are likely going to hear the same phrases over and over. “Tell me more about that,” or “And how do you feel about that?” might be enough for characters on a television show, but it is not enough for you as a real human person. The right therapist will never make you feel like you’re sitting in a sitcom therapist’s office.
2. They do more than dispense advice.
Sometimes, when you see a therapist, you’re not even looking for advice. Most of the time, you do want some suggestion for improving your situation, but sometimes, all you want to do is talk and have someone actually listen to you. The right therapist will not just dispense advice right and left and assume that they are helping you by doing that. If all you wanted was a random list of ways to improve your life, you probably could find that online. The right therapist will listen to you and provide advice that is tailored to you and your situation.
3. They are not trying to be your friend.
While you obviously want to have a positive relationship with your therapist, you should not be paying someone an hourly rate to just be your friend. It’s natural for people to try to build relationships with one another, but if they are spending time trying to get your approval or praise, or are spending time that you are billed for, talking about their own hobbies or goals, trying to be your buddy, this might not be the right therapist for you. While there’s nothing wrong with your therapist sharing an instance from their personal life that is relevant to your situation, you want your therapy session to feel like therapy, not like getting drinks with friends.
4. Your therapist gives you homework.
Therapy that actually works usually requires more than simply showing up and talking for an hour. A great therapist will give you assignments that they will expect you to do before you come back for your next session. You should leave your sessions feeling excited about working on the tasks they have given you. A therapist who assumes that all you need is to sit and talk is probably not the right therapist.
5. They ask for your feedback and actually listen to it.
Sometimes the right therapist is not actually the right therapist when you start out. But if someone is willing to ask for your feedback and adjust the sessions to better meet your needs, you know you have found someone who genuinely cares about you and your progress. The right therapist will want you to say something if you do not feel comfortable, whether it is participating in a treatment or speaking your mind in their presence. Sometimes, the things your therapist asks you to try will not work. The good ones will ask if it worked and if it didn’t, adjust their methods.
6. They are actually interested in listening to what you have to say.
Nothing is more disheartening than trying to talk to someone about your life who obviously could not care less about your life. A therapist, more than perhaps anyone else, should be curious about you, your motives, your thoughts, your goals, and your dreams. If they seem more interested in what they are going to have for dinner than you and your life, that is not the right person for you. However, if they genuinely care about you and what is going on in your life, you know you’ve found the right therapist.
7. They work both inside and outside your comfort zone.
A good therapist will understand that progress is gradual and that shoving someone outside of their comfort zone prematurely can be detrimental. They understand that many people hold a set of beliefs from which deviation may be difficult, but when it is time a good therapist will challenge you to try something outside of your comfort zone.
8. You almost always feel better after a session.
Sometimes, a session is going to be difficult and you just are not going to feel good when you leave it. If, however, you almost always feel good when you leave a session, you know you’ve found the right therapist for you. There’s a difference between someone who calls you out and someone who seems to be trying to actively highlight your flaws and imperfections. The right therapist will find a way to help build you up without making you feel like you are completely broken.