Updated: Jan 18, 2019
If not every therapist is right for me, then how do I pick one?
Often when my clients come to me, they tell me they have tried a number of different therapist that have not been a good fit! Although, I am happy to have connected with this new client, I always feel somewhat sad and frustrated they have had to go through this process in order to connect with their "right" therapist. So, why does this happen? And how can it be avoided?
All therapists are different, so do your research!
Why do people usually try more than one therapist before finding the "right" one?
There are many reasons this happens, but most often when I hear about it, it is because the individual didn't know what they should be looking for in the first place. Many people think all therapists are the same and will practice the same things. THIS IS NOT TRUE! All therapists are different. They all have different specialties, different personalities, different training, and have different philosophies.
Another reason this often happens is because the person might not know what they specifically want to be working on in therapy. Many people believe the therapist is going to direct the therapy and will tell the client what they should be working on. This is also not entirely true. The therapist will be able to give a diagnosis of the presented issue, but this doesn't mean they know what is best for you to be working on.
How can I try to avoid getting with the "wrong" therapist first?
Now that we know why this happens, let's talk about how to avoid it. Remember, all therapists are different so, this means you will have a better fit with some and not others. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Think about what you are looking for in a therapist: Male or female? Sees children or doesn't? Specializes in family therapy or not? Also, look at what type of treatments the therapist uses: Do they use evidence based treatments or alternative? Also, see what specialty areas they have: Groups? Trauma work? Exposure Response Prevention? These are all good questions to ask yourself before scheduling a visit with a therapist.
Lastly, have an idea of what you want to be working on. Make sure the therapist you are going to see has experience working with the issues you might currently be facing. Remember, you should be the one leading your therapy, not your therapist.