FOUR SIGNS YOU'VE FOUND THE RIGHT PSYCHOTHERAPIST
It is not easy to set yourself apart in the virtual world, so I am going to do my best by showcasing my skills in a series of blog posts. This introductory series covers various topics related to initiating counselling and psychotherapy.
This post is about how to tell if you've found the right psychotherapist.
Finding a counsellor or psychotherapist is easy. If you are willing to pay enough and wait long enough anyone could get a psychotherapist. But your time and money are valuable. And you don’t want just ANY psychotherapist, you want the psychotherapistthat is going to help you the most. Keep reading to find out what to look for when searching for the psychotherapist that is right for you.
1. You Feel Heard
How do you feel after your session? Aggravated or reflective?
Feeling heard is an important part of counselling and psychotherapy. There are times when the client is the listener, like when the counsellor is providing education or insight, but a major part of attending counselling is to have someone listen to you. We listening to help you sort through your priority issues. We listen to try and understand your experience.
Friends and family have their own problems to work through and often aren’t able to focus solely on you. If your psychotherapist is a good fit, you should leave your session with a sense of feeling heard.
2. You Feel Safe
Eventually. In order for psychotherapy to be effective, there must be a therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is one that consists of respect, trust, and authenticity. Many seek counselling because of feeling unsafe or having few (or no) supportive (ie. healthy) relationships. Establishing trust takes time but it is necessary that, eventually, you feel safe with your psychotherapist.
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It is important to feel safe because you need to speak freely without fear of being judged. In so many areas of our lives we have to watch what we say or do to maintain the peace or our public perception. At work, at home, with friends. If you’ve found your psychotherapist, then after a few sessions you should feel safe enough to speak your truth.
Please note that sometimes psychotherapist and client just don’t connect. Maybe the psychotherapist reminds the client of a toxic person in their life. Maybe the client reminds the psychotherapist of a traumatic client experience. Whatever the case, a lack of connection should not be taken personally. It’s part of the process of personal growth so take your time to find someone who helps you feel safe.
3. You aren't Afraid to Disagree
Like the therapeutic relationship, it can take time to reach this point in counselling. When I started counselling I remember wanting the counsellor to feel they were a good counsellor so I would agree with insights whether they felt true or not.
I was afraid to disagree because I couldn’t handle the disappointment that came with it. Like many others, I needed to learn that disagreement should not result in disappointment. Like many others, I need to learn to let others own their disappointment.
Learning to disagree with others is a skill we all need and psychotherapy is a safe space to learn this skill. If you’ve found the right psychotherapist, after a few sessions you should have no fear associated with disagreeing (or speaking honestly.)
4. You are Making Progress
Like most things in life, progress in psychotherapy can take a while to get established. Overall, however, you should be making regular progress. It isn’t always the progress you hope for, or the progress you expected, but, if you have the right psychotherapist, they should be helping you reach your desired goals.
It’s important to know that lulls are normal. Sometimes it means you need to reassess the problem or maybe you need to address a new problem altogether. Possibly you need to take a break from counselling.
Whatever the case, regular progress should be made, regularly. A plateau may mean it’s time to terminate the relationship. This is part of the normal ebb and flow of psychotherapy .
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Finding a psychotherapist that you connect with is an important part of being successful in counselling. It is a decision worthy of a little effort. Read profiles, and take advantage of their free consults. Don’t be afraid to look for another psychotherapist if the connection isn’t there.
Finding a counsellor that you connect with is an important part of being successful in counselling. It is a decision worthy of a little effort. Read counsellor profiles, and take advantage of their free consults. Don’t be afraid to look for another counsellor if the connection isn’t there.
I believe everyone would benefit from counselling and psychotherapy, but not everyone is ready for it. The timing matters. Motivation matters. Now might not be the right time, but if you feel ready to try psychotherapy, contact us at your preferred coordinates (online, email, phone) or click here to book your free consultation today.
LAH Counselling is not a crisis service. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, mental health crisis, or there is a concern you may hurt yourself or someone else, contact 9-1-1 (for residents of Ontario) or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You can also click here for a list of crisis services.