Therapy helps millions of people every year feel better and achieve more than they thought possible. But it can be intimidating to open up to a stranger. To get the most out of your therapy sessions, you need to feel comfortable talking about and exploring your fears, anxieties and other challenges.
That’s why it’s so important to find a therapist who is a good fit for you. When you find a therapist who is the right fit, it will feel like talking to an old friend. They will challenge you in all the ways you want and sit with you when times are tough.
So how do you know if your therapist is right for you? Unfortunately, there is no all-encompassing checklist. However, here are four general questions you can ask yourself, based on my own experience both as a therapist and as a therapy client
- What does your gut tell you? It may not be scientific, but listening to your gut is essential. If you do not feel like you can trust or be open with your therapist, you will not see the full benefit of therapy. If your gut is telling you this is not a good fit, try to determine why. This will improve your chances of finding a better fit with someone else.
- What does the office “say”? The office environment is an important but often overlooked cue for your comfort level. Is the lighting appropriate, or is it too dark or too bright? Is the office sterile and bare, or is it crammed with too much stuff? I look for a middle ground in which the therapist is willing to visually share something about their personality without being overbearing.
- Do you feel heard? We all have different life experiences. It’s likely that your therapist has not had the same background or struggles as you. However, they should listen and empathize with your situation. If your therapist is not responsive in a way that makes you feel heard and understood, it may be time to move on. The same is true if your therapist frequently interrupts you or turns the focus onto themselves.
- Do you feel supported? Your therapist should validate your emotions while also helping you see your situation from a new perspective. At times this may feel challenging. That’s a normal part of the process. However, you should never feel belittled or judged. If your therapist uses language that makes you feel demeaned or not respected, it may not be the right fit for you.
If something feels off, consider talking about it with your therapist. Being open and honest about what you are feeling or experiencing will help your therapist better meet your needs. Keep in mind that it usually takes three to five sessions before you start to feel like you are making progress.
If you still feel like you are not connecting, or if you’re not comfortable talking about it with your therapist, it’s OK to move on. It’s also OK to “shop around” for the right therapist before committing. If you do this, be transparent with your therapist(s) so they know what to expect.
Finding the Best Fit at Mindfully
Therapy should be unique to you because you are one of a kind. At Compass Point, we do our best to connect you with the best fit from the start. When you call or request an appointment online, you will answer a series of questions about who you are and the type of help you are seeking. We use this information to match you with a specialist who can see you within three days at your preferred location.
More than 90 percent of our clients are satisfied with their therapist. But if it turns out that your therapist is not the right match, we can help you find a provider who is a better fit.
Schedule an appointment today.