Is My Therapist Right For Me?

You’ve finally found a mental health therapist that is accepting clients. You had your consultation call and asked all the questions you could think of. You’ve scheduled your first session, met your therapist, and everything went well. After three or four sessions, you may be wondering - how do I know if this is a good fit for me? Is there something I’m missing? A past supervisor of mine once told me that finding a therapist is like dating - sometimes it takes a couple meetings to feel if you’re a good match. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. There’s nothing wrong with seeing more than one therapist in your life, though we wouldn’t recommend seeing more than one therapist at the same time. If you’re wondering if your current therapist is a good fit for you, ask yourself these three reflection questions: What is their approach? There are a variety of approaches, philosophies, and modalities mental health clinicians use. Some clinicians are psychodynamic and focus on the subconscious. Some are behavioral and are oriented towards your actions. Some want to talk endlessly about your childhood and family of origin. Most clinicians are a mixture of some or all of these. Ultimately, you’ll want to meet with someone whose approach appeals to you. If you’re focused on cutting down on substance use, you may want someone who will help you tackle your current habits instead of someone who will analyze your dreams. If you want to talk about your past trauma, you may not want someone that is focused on behavior change now. A good fit therapist is one whose approach matches your goals. Do they provide affirmation? Affirmation in the therapy room can mean many things. For starters, affirmation means holding space for the client. It entails actively listening to your experiences and reassuring you that your experience is universal, everyone struggles, and life is hard sometimes. It also means affirming that you’re trying your best to heal. In a cultural sense, affirmation means not being dismissive of your experiences. If a mental health clinician tries to explain away sexism, racism, homophobia, or other brands of oppression, this is a major red flag.  A multiculturally-minded therapist is affirmative of your run-ins with discrimination; that experience did happen to you, and your feelings about it are valid.   Do they have aptitude in my area of concern? Finally, your clinician should be trained and informed in your area of concern. This is a great question to ask during consultation - does your clinician have any extra training in your presenting problem? Has your therapist worked with other people in a similar scenario before? Ethically, if your clinician is not competent in your area of concern, they should refer you to a clinician that is. If your therapist is having a hard time keeping up with your particular problem, they may not be for you. I hope this blog helps you determine if your therapist is a good fit for you! If you’re looking for a good fit, Therapy Beyond Healing may be for you. Reach out today by emailing to schedule your initial appointment, or check out our website to learn about our approaches and aptitude by using the link in our bio. We look forward to hearing from you soon!