How to Choose a Good Therapist
If you’ve made it this deeply into my website, chances are you’re considering booking a counseling session. Fantastic! However, maybe you’re worried that we won’t be a good match. All you have to go on right now is some words and images on the Internet. Even if someone referred you, how will you know that any therapist is a good fit for you? Well, let’s talk about it.
First, trust your gut. Period. Pay attention to how you feel when talking with a counselor. Are there body sensations you notice? Maybe you feel your chest expanding as you sense that you’re being listened to by someone who cares. Do you feel as if this person takes you seriously? Do you feel respected? At the same time, sharing your story with a stranger can feel uncomfortable. Those vulnerable feelings are often part of therapy, especially at the beginning when you are still building a relationship. That’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is vibes. Vibes, as in I don’t know I just get a good feeling about this person.
You can trust your inner guidance system is the point.
Now, maybe you’re saying to yourself Kerry, I’m really not into vibes. In fact, this is making me uncomfortable. That’s okay! And good for you for being honest about your needs. It’s another important element in a good therapeutic relationship.
So, what else? Well, how about some practical things such as any preferences you have around the therapist’s gender, age, and religious or spiritual orientation? How flexible is your work schedule? Would you feel more comfortable if you knew your potential counselor’s stance on social justice in counseling? Ask.
Don’t hesitate to talk with your potential counselor about their education and licensure. What the heck do all those letters behind their name even mean? Every counselor I know would happy to geek out with you about their training and their theoretical orientation. And if you don’t know what theoretical orientation means, that’s okay, neither does the average person. The takeaway here is that you can feel free to ask about anything you don’t understand.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the fees and how they are collected. If you are unable to pay what the therapist charges and they are unable to offer you a sliding scale, ask for a referral to a low-cost counseling clinic. Virtually all counselors truly wish to help people, regardless of whether they become clients.
I look forward to answering your questions and seeing if we might be a good match.