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Therapist - November 22nd 2018, 04:27 PM

So I'm working on finding a new therapist. I've seen one so far and am going to try and meet a couple more before I make a decision on who I want to work with.

What are some things you guys require from a therapist? What kind of questions do you ask them to make sure they're a fit?

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Re: Therapist - November 22nd 2018, 05:08 PM

I usually have to see them more than once to make a decision. The important thing is that they make an effort to listen a hear me and their style of therapy and how they plan to work with me.

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Re: Therapist - November 22nd 2018, 08:26 PM

I have someone I am very comfortable with now but before I found him I usually went for at least two or more sessions to make my decision. It wasn't so much about asking particular questions for me, but how they interacted with me and things like that.

Something that is important for me in particular is a therapist that allows touch in therapy. Some do and some don't; depends on the therapist and the client but I do like hugs or sometimes I'd grab my therapist's hand when I couldn't stay present. Similarly, I like out of session contact when necessary as an outlet (I don't usually need a response unless I am unsafe)

Lastly, at least thinking off the top of my head, I like a therapist who engages in the conversation with me. I need an active participant in my therapy as opposed to someone who smiles and nods and lets me solve it all. And of course, I love humor so any humor in therapy is appreciated.

I also look for what the therapist does - EMDR and hypnosis are important for me since I need to work on EMDR and I use hypnosis to keep calm.

Once I was talking about my abuse in an initial session and the therapist was like "Excuse me, but do you even have a psychology degree?" Yeah, she was a no.

Maybe you can think about what you want or need in your healing and then ask questions based off of that.

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Re: Therapist - November 22nd 2018, 08:55 PM

For me it's more about personality fit and the feeling I get when I meet and talk to them. I'm either comfortable with them, mostly comfortable with them and willing to give them a chance, or know pretty quickly that it's not going to work. I need to be able to open up to them or correct them if needed. I'm very verbal and somewhat self-directed, so I want it to feel like a conversation rather than me sitting there and either being stared at or having therapy "done to me." I know that I'm not good with direct or harsh confrontation. I'd rather be gently questioned and allowed to explain my thinking rather than be "challenged" as if I'm wrong, especially early in the relationship.

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Re: Therapist - November 22nd 2018, 09:29 PM

In a nutshell, if they don't remind me of Violet from Private Practice then they are fine.
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Re: Therapist - November 24th 2018, 05:22 PM

So a big one for me is that the therapist actually has to practice therapy... I've seen people who have an MSW, but all they know how to do is talk therapy and are, consequently, bad therapists; they would probably work well for someone who's, idk, considering quitting a job and stressed out, but not so good for someone who's got actual mental illnesses. So what I look for is a therapist who can say they utilize multiple theories or practices, such as EDMR, CBT, play therapy, music therapy, sex therapy, etc and can clearly tell you how they apply those areas to various issues.

I also look for a therapist who can be vulnerable without being inappropriate. I once had a therapist who hugged me after a particularly emotional session and then made a big deal out of it when I didn't reciprocate (I'm not a big hugger). She then made it her mission to give me a hug after every session so that I'd get ok with it, which I never did, she just put me in a position where I didn't feel like I could say no. In retrospect, it was her issue not mine (e.g. I think she felt rejected and decided to "fix" my issue because of her own reaction to it); the way to handle it if someone is uncomfortable with physical contact isn't to force it on them, but rather help them identify why they feel that way and how they can improve it on their own. That's really bad therapy she did. On the flip side, another therapist I saw was really good about sharing about his own life without making everything about him.

Make sure the therapist can actually help you with what you want. You shouldn't have to pay for 4-5 sessions before you have any idea of what the plan will be. Even though it's totally ok build a plan, you should be able to have a working theory, some strategies (e.g grounding techniques) to practice while a full plan is developed, as well as knowing what their thoughts are, as this is all part of building the client-therapist relationship and you can't do that if they're not communicating with you when you want info/explanations or anything like that. A really good example is my dietitian (who I see in conjunction with my therapist due to a history with bulimia). She makes sure I don't weigh myself and helps me with avoiding numbers overall (e.g. calories)
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Re: Therapist - December 2nd 2018, 02:24 PM

It is hard for me to really give a good answer to this question cuz I feel a therapist is different for each person. So what I am saying is one therapist may be awful for me, but great for you. I think if you feel comfortable expressing your feelings to he/she and you feel the feedback you are getting is being helpful that is a great sign that you are going to have a pretty good relationship with your therapist. Another thing is a therapist should never come across as pushy. If you don't feel ready to talk about something they should say it can wait. The bottom line is they know techniques to pretty much know what is going on if they are good at what they do and are paying attention to what you are talking about.
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