In life, things can go from good to bad in seconds. During those moments, it is nice to have someone here to help you out. A therapist could be just that person.
There are many great therapists with varying types of credentials and skills. But, what is important is that you find a therapist that is good for you.
Below are nine signs your therapist is a good match.
- They listen to you.
Therapy is not just listening. A good therapist should be an active listener. They should engage with what you say and understand what you are saying. Some people find it difficult to expresses themselves, so a therapist should be able to listen well.
If you feel like your therapist is frequently distracted or is not listening to you, then maybe you should consider getting a new therapist.
But, if it happens once or twice, then talk to them. Your therapist might be dealing with something. Therapists are humans too.
- You feel comfortable around them.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, including the one you have with your therapist. A 2019 study showed that trust is vital to working through problems together with your therapist. Although it takes a while to build up trust, you should trust your therapist enough to feel comfortable around them.
After one or two sessions, you should be able to gauge whether you trust your therapist. One way to know if you have begun to trust them is that you should feel like you can tell them anything without fear of judgment.
- They validate you and understand what is best for you.
Along with listening, a therapist should validate what you are feeling. You should feel like your thoughts, emotions, actions, and experiences are validated. But, do not confuse validation and approval. Validation is an acknowledgment and respect towards something. Approval is based on judgment. Hence, a good therapist avoids passing judgment on what you say or do.
- They check in with you.
Due to the type of relationship between you and your therapist, you might feel uncomfortable pointing out areas of improvement or giving feedback on your treatment. Your therapist should initiate regular check-ins and adapt according to your feedback.
- You view them as an ally.
Your therapist is not your best friend, no matter how much you want them to be. They are a guide and an ally. Think of it like this. A therapist is like a friendly wizard or resource person in a videogame that helps you with your quest.
- They take time to educate themselves.
A good therapist will take time to educate themselves about a topic that might come up during your session. While therapists have studied many years and are experts in their field, they don’t know everything. Some of the things might be new to them. If so, they will not be afraid to let you know, but they will do their best to find an answer.
Committed therapists are constantly expanding their knowledge and willingly share it if it is pertinent to your treatment.
- They don’t rush your treatment.
Another sign that your therapist is a good match is if they don’t rush your treatment. You and your therapist should be on the same page regarding treatment. You should never feel pressured or surprised by something in your treatment.
As time goes on, you and your therapist must sit down and evaluate your treatment. If any changes need to happen, your therapist should communicate them to you. A good therapist shows flexibility and adaptability to your needs.
- You notice a change in yourself.
Lastly, a sign that your therapist is a good match is if you start noticing positive changes in yourself. You might not recognize any changes right away because change takes time. It takes approximately 15 to 20 therapy sessions for you to notice a difference. However, do not go to therapy with that mentality because change depends on many factors. Just trust the process and evaluate your progress with your therapist.
Therapy is a tool. It is there to help you grow or get back up after life has knocked you down. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist whenever you need help.
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de Lorenzo, C. (2018, August 9). How to tell if a therapist isn’t a good fit for you, according to experts. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-tell-if-a-therapist-isnt-a-good-fit-for-you-according-to-experts-10011169.
Feldman, D. B. (2017, October 30). Five questions to decide if a therapist is right for you. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/supersurvivors/201710/five-questions-decide-if-therapist-is-right-you.
Tartakovsky, M. (2016, May 17). Therapists spill: Red flags a clinician isn’t right for you. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/therapists-spill-red-flags-a-clinician-isnt-right-for-you#1.
Vandergriendt, C., & Legg, T. J. (2020, September 30). 17 signs of a good therapist. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-a-good-therapist.