Tips & Tricks: Finding The Right Therapist
1 cup each of Empathy, Reflective Listening, and Collaboration
2 tbsp Assertion
3 cups Knowledgable
Let's face it. Finding a therapist that works for you can be a challenge. It’s not as easy as a blueberry muffin recipe, and for some of us (I'm the “some of us”), that’s not even easy! Sometimes we don’t quite understand when we need to see a therapist or for what reason, we just know we’re not feeling like we used to and we want to feel good again.
Did you know most therapists have specialty areas? You wouldn’t want to eat a peanut butter cookie if you hate peanut butter. The same principle applies to therapists! If you’re feeling anxiety or depression, you may want to start your search with therapists that specialize in those fields. If you’re looking for holistic treatments, search for therapists who practice this type of work (fun fact, that’s us!)
Need help deciding when to see a therapist and how therapy can help you? We recommend checking out our blog post from July, “How Can Therapy Help Me?” It’s just the right tool to help you prepare! Now that we’ve prepped, let's get started by reviewing some helpful tips!
Tip #1: You can’t spell Mental Health without ‘Me.’
Therapy is about you. When you sit down on that hopefully extremely comfortable chair, you want to feel exactly that; comfortable. Therapy is a safe space where you want to feel like you can share what you're experiencing without judgment or fear. Sharing your story would make anyone anxious. That’s normal and that’s okay. What we want to remember in our sessions is that we’re seeing a therapist for their empathy, expertise, and help with navigating a road that’s a bit bumpier than usual. If you’re not feeling a connection with your new therapist, that’s okay too. Talk about it with them and see if something can be done to make the fit a little better for both of you. If it’s just not working, that’s also okay. If you’re not feeling a connection after the first meeting or even the consultation, try someone different. Ask your therapist if they can recommend others that may be more aligned with your needs.
Tip #2: Discouraged? Not I!
So you’ve done your first consultation and intake session. You’re not sure why, but something just isn’t aligning with you and your new therapist. It could be their body language, tone of voice, methods, or even just their face! Many people have their own specifications for a therapist and that’s just fine! You’ve thought about Tip #1 but you may feel anxiety or apprehension with this potential confrontation or ending. Remember, therapists are here because they care. A great therapist will want you to find the help you need so you can thrive!
If it doesn’t work out with a therapist, we may feel like maybe therapy, in general, won’t work.That’s not true. When meeting a therapist and it doesn’t work out, keep in mind it wasn’t a good fit with them but it can be with someone else. Tip #3: Knowledge is Power!
When looking for a therapist, it might be a good idea to do some research on the specific therapist you might be leaning towards. Here are some things to consider on your search:
How long they’ve been practicing.
If they’ve accomplished any major projects within their field.
What their therapeutic focus is.
What degrees and certifications they have.
How much they charge.
If they accept Insurance or Medicaid.
Where they’re located.
What their availibility is.
These could all be important deciding factors on whether or not a therapist will be the right fit for you. Knowing this information ahead of time will create less of a headache later! We recommend making a list of 3-5 potential matches and starting with a consultation. Typically, consultations are free and they’re great for seeing if they might be a good fit! Consultations are like a little window into what therapy might be like with your therapist. They can last approximately 15-20 minutes and the purpose is for you and your therapist to learn more about each other. Many therapists even do them over the phone!
Tip # 4: Old Dog, New Tricks. Okay, so maybe you’ve been with your therapist for a few weeks (or even months!) and you’re not seeing the progress you want. What to do now? Thankfully, there’s a simple strategy to solve this problem; communication! Oh, how I can hear the eye rolls! I know, I know… communication is something a lot of us struggle with these days. It’s important to remember Tip #1, therapy is about you. If you’re struggling with communication, start by being honest with your therapist, and let them know you’re interested in trying other techniques.
Therapists are typically very flexible with their methods and the good ones will have a Mary Poppins (or Hermoine Granger, depending on the generation that’s reading) size bag full of ideas to tackle nearly anything! The therapeutic process is trial and error. Know that therapists expect this and they’re usually equipped and ready for this scenario.
Tip #5: Let it Go, Let it Go… Our last tip is to let it go. If you’ve seen a therapist for a few weeks/months now and you’ve vocalized your feelings and it’s still not a match, let it go. If they’re not aligning with your views, you guessed it, let it go. Here are some red flags that might indicate you need to let it go:
🚩They’re judgemental or make critical comments.
🚩They tell you what to do or are pushy.
🚩They don’t include you in the collaboration process.
🚩They don’t listen to what you are saying.
🚩They impose their own beliefs on you.
🚩You feel stressed out by the idea of going to see your therapist.
🚩They’re unreliable, unresponsive, or constantly rescheduling with you.
🚩They talk too much about themselves.
Of course, this isn’t a full list and some of these things may not be deal breakers for some people. Either way, it’s always a good idea to know your values and what you want out of therapy. Most people want to be seen and heard in therapy, if you’re not feeling that way, it mae time to consider moving on and trying something new.
Would You Like to Try Something New?
Be Your Best Self & Thrive is there for you. We value the client experience more than anything else and our therapists always want what’s best for you. We strive to create a space through thoughtful intention and empathy. We always explore the tools in our tool belt with a client and are able to admit when something else might better serve you. That’s one of the greatest qualities I personally value from BYBS & Thrive. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times. Therapy is about you. Would you love to see if we’re the right fit? We would certainly love it! Schedule a free consultation with us here.
Warmly & Fabulously, Rochelle.