Entering into therapy can be a daunting and sometimes even scary process. Finding a therapist that you believe can understand and help you is essential to the success of the process.
Here are three ways to know if a therapist is a good fit for you:
1. Does the therapist understand you? He or she should ask relevant questions to make you feel heard and help you further understand or clarify your own thoughts and behaviors. Is he or she able to remember what you have shared previously and expand on that topic or dig deeper with you? The therapist should also be able to help you make connections and see patterns in your life. Feeling heard and understood is critical to a successful therapeutic relationship.
2. Does the therapist respect your boundaries? Therapy can feel like a dance between therapy and client, with each taking turns leading. This can be a sign of an effective therapeutic relationship! The therapist pushes you to explore a particular topic when the timing is right and you are most able to manage residual feelings or urges. Then the therapist steps back and helps you reorganize or stabilize before continuing with a particular topic. A therapist that is a good fit will instinctively know the difference. Good boundaries also include being on time and limiting distractions and personal stories.
3. Do you feel a bit uncomfortable? If so, you are likely in the right place! Therapy is a process of helping you uncover the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are keeping you stuck and allowing you to repeat unhealthy patterns. The act of moving out of a comfort zone that you are familiar with will probably make you feel uneasy. If you are able to manage this shift because you and your therapist have designed resources for you, then your therapy is working well. Trusting in the therapist’s ability to help you recognize when the shift is too much is an important part of the process as well.
If your answers to the above questions are “yes,” then you have found a therapist that is likely a good fit. If the answer to even one of the above questions is “no,” then you might want to talk to your therapist about your concerns. A combination of faith in the process, a healthy relationship and the belief your therapist can help you is essential to success in therapy.