A good therapist is hard to find. I can’t count how many times folk say to me ‘oh I’ve tried that’, ending in what a crappy therapist they saw. All I can say is KEEP TRYING. Just like I keep trying to find a decent car mechanic…lover…plumber…
Hopefully these pointers might help
*A good therapist is properly qualified.
Real qualifications from within the field of health care. And no, a weekend or two of re-birthing/rieki/ reflexology doesn’t cut it.
*A good therapist is professional in their approach
Little clues will tell you this. Punctuality, an uninterrupted comfortable space, a focus on you without distractions. It doesn’t matter if your therapist doesn’t where a suit (better I reckon) or seems a little weird or different, what matters is that the therapeutic space they have invited you into is safe, about you and meets professional expectations such as confidentiality and ethical practice.
*A good therapist is not a mate
A therapist should create an atmosphere whereby you feel valued, safe to talk of anything whatsoever, secure and going somewhere. Whilst you are in therapy and for sometime post this therapy the therapist should never ever step out of the therapeutic relationship into a personal relationship. If they do, run. You may have little emotional needs inside you that would like this but please believe me this person will do more harm than good
* A good therapist should not be speaking of themselves
Look, self disclosure is essential in the development of true warmth and connection within the therapeutic relationship. And certainly the whole concept that a therapist must ‘have it all together’ is nonsense. Without my own trails and tribulations, failures and heart ache how could I ever relate to anyone else?
But self-disclosure is a skill. You are not there to learn about the therapists’ world. You’re there for you. In this relationship you can be absolutely selfish and expect it will be about you!
* Therapy is not fun
That’s not to say there won’t be moments of laughter but overall the process of self-revelation can be painful and always is hard work. You’re wasting your time and money if it’s otherwise.
A good therapist is not fixated on one particular model of therapeutic analysis.
If one theory, one model worked for everyone then we’d all be happy little possums wouldn’t we. The fact is a therapist must be eclectic in their approach or extremely clear at the first session that they only use one type of therapy.
*The six week test
If, in six weeks you feel that you have no more insight into the being you are then its time to move on. Note I didn’t say you had to feel good. Nor can you expect resolution in this time no matter what CBT therapists tell you. The human mind/heart/soul is a beautiful complex beasty with many an onion layer.
But you do need to feel like the therapist ‘gets you’, and that you yourself are making internal discoveries. I remember reading years ago how Woody Allen had been in therapy for twenty-five years. Somebody needed to tell him it wasn’t working. The therapist certainly should have.
A good therapist has to keep getting new clients because the old ones don’t need her/him anymore!
I hope these pointers help. It makes me sad to hear that people give up on finding a decent therapist. You are far to valuable for that! Remember the therapist is your employee. Get your monies worth!