Have you recently decided that it’s time to talk to someone? Maybe you have reached out to friends and family in the past but have decided that seeking out a therapist is the best step for you right now. A therapist can help you to talk through problems, fears, anxieties, difficulties managing your moods, or perhaps help breaking patterns, maybe you’ve realized similar issues keep arising in relationships, for example. Perhaps you do not want to burden or reveal these things to friends and family and have concluded that utilizing a professional with a confidential space for yourself could be the best way to overcome your “stuckness.” You may have even asked for a referral or found a group practice of therapists you would like to meet and attend a free consultation. Now you might be asking yourself, “How can I determine if I have found the right therapist for me?”
Goodness of fit with a therapist is paramount to success in therapy. Finding someone that you are able to establish trust with and feel comfortable with often leads to the best outcomes. When you are able to share personal details and experiences and feel a level of mutual respect and appreciation for what is happening in the session, greater change and resolution is possible. As a client, it is important to not put on any sort of a front or improved version of yourself and instead, be open and forthcoming with your therapist, so that you can get to the heart of what you are coping with and be able to work through the issues together.
The following are a few questions to ask yourself as you begin to look for a therapist and as you start working with a new therapist. These questions are intended to help you to find and assess the “goodness of fit” that enables greater discovery and change over the course of therapy. It may benefit you to address any concerns that you may have with a prospective therapist in order to collaborate and ideally overcome some of these barriers and also to determine if this is a person that you feel is knowledgeable and has the specialties required to help you succeed. By being forthcoming, you may also achieve a stronger rapport and deeper trust with your therapist.
Questions to think about and ask yourself:
- Personal connection: Do I like my therapist and feel comfortable speaking with them? Does it feel like this therapist is listening, really hears me, understands where I am coming from? Do I feel that I can be honest or forthcoming about how I am doing? Does this therapist feel trustworthy?
- Environment: Does this office space feel inviting and comfortable to me? Can I see myself coming here more than once?
- Competency: Does this therapist seem to have credibility and know what he/she/they are talking about? Is my therapist giving me too much advice or direction rather than allowing me the space to come to conclusions on my own? Is my therapist paying attention and engaging with me during my hour?
- Direct questions for a prospective therapist: Do you think you can help me? Do you have ideas for where we can begin or go from here? How do you start building momentum with a new client? What happens if we run into something that you do not know or are unfamiliar with? What happens if I or we feel stuck? Will you tell me if our therapeutic relationship is not working or helping? How do you determine when we are finished?
Whether you are looking to start therapy for the first time or looking for a change, we highly recommend finding someone you feel really gets you and who has the background and specialties you need to achieve your goals. If you decide to start at the Catalyst Center, our admin team will help match you to someone in our practice and schedule you for a free 30-minute consultation. The majority of our new consultations are recommended to us by former clients. Call or submit a contact form now and find out why!