After you have decided to find a therapist, and you meet them and you begin. How do you know you have a good therapist? How do you know that what you need from them is going to be met?
Therapists are human beings, and they make mistakes. They say something too deep too quickly, or make an assumption, or look a little glazed over for a moment… This can happen from time to time. But the experience of being in therapy is much bigger than these little moments between you.
Your therapist should be open to your questions about their practice. What is your therapist’s theoretical framework? What is your therapist’s approach to helping people with your particular concerns? Where did the therapist get their training? If you get a sense that the therapist doesn’t want to answer or is impatient with you, keep looking, especially if it bothers you.
Your therapist should have an idea how long treatment should take, ideally.
Your therapist should check in with you about how treatment is going, on a regular basis.
Your therapist should, at least on the surface, appear to be organized and grounded, as a person. As I said before, they are humans, they’ve had bad experiences, they have problems too, but their problems should not spill into your therapy.
Your therapist should seem like an individual person, rather than a textbook. You should be able to get a sense of their personality in sessions. They use themselves in sessions.
Your therapist is not dominating the conversation with anecdotes about their own lives. They should spend most of their time listening and encouraging you to speak, explore and process.
Your therapist should adhere to ethical rules and guidelines. They don’t invite you to parties, or accept your invitations to barbecues or make uncomfortable suggestions. In Colorado, it is illegal to have a dual relationship with your therapist, including dating and sexual relations. They are in a position of power in your life and it would be exploitative and abusive to engage you in non-therapeutic activities.
Your therapist should inform you prior to the start of treatment of the above, to make sure you are going to be a good fit to work together. Your therapist should be confident enough to say, “we might not be a good fit, I can help you find someone who is.”
If you think I am a good fit for you – give me a call and put me to the test! www.aliceriley.net