Picture this: You’re sitting in your therapist’s office, in an uncomfortable chair gripping the edges of it thinking in the uncomfortable silence as your therapist taps her pen against her notebook waiting for you to spew out something for her to write down.
You’re not sure you connect with her, but she was highly recommended. Or perhaps you don’t think she really connects with you.
This example may be a little dramatized but finding a therapist you connect with is vital to your healing. If you don’t feel any better talking to her, even after several sessions, it’s quite possible this therapist isn’t the right one for you.
It can take anywhere from three to 10 sessions for the patient to feel better or conclude it’s a bad fit. On the other hand, anything over ten sessions can turn into a dead-end relationship.
In fact, according to a study of 2,000 people in treatment (published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology), 88 percent of people who underwent counseling for one to 12 sessions had improved after just one session. But the rate fell to 62 percent reporting improvement after more than 12 sessions.
No one wants to waste their time, money or energy like that, which is why I’ve compiled a few things to consider in determining if your therapist is the right one for you.
1. They “see” and listen to you
It should feel like your therapist is there for you and he or she is listening. That means that they are giving you direct eye contact and open with their body language, making you feel welcomed and comfortable. They shouldn’t be doing something else while listening to you, such as reading their email, on their phone, or looking anywhere that isn’t in your direction.
2. You feel a sense of relief
The point of your seeing a therapist is to feel a sense of ease and comfort once you are done with your sessions, like you are accomplishing something. You do not want to leave feeling confused, stressed or negative toward your therapist. With your therapist you should feel safe with a sense of relief and comfort.
3. They are experts in your concerns
Your therapist should specialize in or have a deep understanding of your issues. Maybe you need someone who can focus on toxic disassociation, for example, not just a general therapist who was recommended to you by a friend. Your therapist should be knowledgeable in your area of concern.
4. You connect with them
This should go without saying, but you know you have found a good therapist when you feel a connection with them – like “good chemistry.” You do not want to feel stressed while talking to them. If you feel a connection with your therapist, then this can lead to better results in your sessions and potentially faster results.
5. They have references
Ensure your therapist is well-regarded in the market and industry and that you can find information about him or her online. Do they have testimonials on their web site? Are they active on social media or are there reviews available online? Do some homework before your first appointment.
If you are experiencing anything other than these things, you might want to consider a switch. Breakups of any kind may be difficult, but staying with someone who is not fully helping you can lead to undesired results.
If you’re interested in seeing if you and I re a good fit, contact me. I’d love to connect with you.