Almost half of all Americans will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life. Finding a good therapist can be a lifeline in times of need and it could be one of the most important, personal decisions you will ever make.
Well, there are a few signs that can tell you whether the therapist you are seeing, is right for you. Read on to see if you have got the right professional in your corner.
Here Are 10 Signs To Determine If A Therapist Is Right For You Or Not
1. Do You Feel Listened To?
Do you feel like the therapist focuses intently and listens to what you are saying? Do they consider what you are saying and process it in a way that makes you feel understood?
This is perhaps the most important element in finding a therapist that truly listens to you and your needs. If you do not feel heard and seen, you will be less likely to open up and process difficult emotions.
2. Do You Feel Safe?
During your first three sessions, have you noticed your body reacting in any way? Have you felt uneasy at any time? Do you feel anxious about meeting with them again after three sessions?
In all fairness, some patients do have post-traumatic stress disorder which can make you feel unsafe around your therapist and other people in general. Do not use this as a barometer for whether you should move forward. Instead, look towards any signs that you do feel safe, before deciding.
3. Do You Feel Like They Really Care About You?
This is more fundamentally important than you can imagine. A good therapist really connects with their client. Therapy is a relationship and a good therapist will make you feel like you matter, and you are important. If you have a therapist that cannot do that, I am suggesting they may not be the right person to work with.
4. Do They Answer Your Questions?
It is not reasonable to assume a therapist can answer every single question you may have, but they should be able to answer most of them. If you feel like for the most part your questions are answered to a satisfactory level, even if you disagree with their answers, then it is a safe bet you can continue working with them.
5. Do They Become Unnecessarily Defensive?
This is a huge red flag. Defensiveness in a therapist could indicate covert narcissism. However, it could also mean they are new, inexperienced, dealing with insecurities, or have other problems. Keep in mind, not everything is pathological.
If a therapist gets unnecessarily defensive or seems angry, it might be a good indication you should continue your search.
6. Ask Them To Do Something For You And See How They Respond.
If you say to your therapist, “I really want you to listen to what I have to say and help me understand why so many people seem to treat me like I am invisible,” they should answer with compassion, but pay attention to their response. You should also feel confident and unafraid when asking them a question.
If they pull the, what we would call the Carl Rogers response (the father of client-centered psychotherapy), and say “Well, how do you feel about it, what do you think?” that is the standard response. However, it could make you feel even worse. So, be sure to ask plenty of questions and listen up to how they respond, and feel your reaction to it.