Finding the Right Therapist - Part 3

There are many things to consider when choosing a therapist who would be right for you when seeking counseling.  Individuals who seek a counselor need to feel good about their interactions with the therapist and the environment in which they will be having therapy.  The relationship between the client and the therapist begins with the initial phone call.  How did you feel when you spoke with the therapist?  Did you feel comfortable talking to them?  Did you feel that they listened to you and showed concern for your issues?  Was the therapist polite and courteous in your conversation with you?  In addition, the environment where the therapist practices has a huge impact on how someone feels when coming to therapy.  Is the lobby comfortable, calming, and peaceful?  Is there a positive and relaxed ambience to the environment?  Was the location easy to get to and easily accessible?  All of these are good questions to answer when selecting a therapist.

One of the key factors in having a successful outcome in therapy is the client's relationship with their therapist.  Having a good connection with him/her will result in the client being more likely to return for future sessions.  From the beginning, a good therapist is primarily concerned with making sure that you, as the client, feel comfortable, safe and secure in order to establish a feeling of confidence and trust in your therapist.  If this does not exist, clients will often stop coming to counseling or will not make a return appointment.   A therapist who discusses the importance of confidentiality is critical and emphasizing your need for privacy shows deep respect for you as a new client.  

Another thing to consider is how the therapist interacts with the client.  Do they really listen to you?  Do you feel heard and understood?  Do they provide you with education and insight regarding your specific situation? Is your therapist able to provide you with some tangible recommendations and practical suggestions of things that you find helpful or that you can consider working on, as you go through therapy?  For many clients, it is helpful to have "homework" to do outside of session, so that they can feel they are making progress in-between sessions.  Having someone who truly cares about your progress and also who hold you accountable are signs of a good therapist.

Finally, the atmosphere of the therapy office is often a consideration when finding a therapist.  How do you feel when you go to the office?  Is it warm and inviting?  Do feel comfortable and safe there?  The environment can invite or distract from the therapeutic process, so be sure that when selecting a therapist, you notice how you feel, not only about them as a therapist, but also how you feel in their office setting.