How would I know if I have the right therapist?

How do you know you have the right therapist for you?

How would I know how to "train" my therapist to be able to give me what I need from treatment?

Jennifer Molinari
Jennifer Molinari
Hypnotherapist & Licensed Counselor

Finding the right therapist for you is very important and can sometimes be tricky. It can sometimes take a number of sessions to get a good sense of whether you and your therapist are the "right fit."  The first couple of sessions are generally spent on gathering information, formulating a plan of treatment, and building the client/therapist relationship. The client/therapist relationship will be very different from other relationships you have experienced.  You will know you have found the right therapist when you notice there is a good rapport between the two of you.  You will get a sense that the therapist "gets you" and understands the issues being presented. If you feel that you can trust your therapist and feel comfortable opening up and providing feedback during your sessions then you know it is a good fit. 

In terms of "how to train your therapist how to give you what you need from treatment" the therapeutic relationship is collaborative so the two of you will be working together as a team. During your sessions, the goal is for you to feel comfortable giving feedback about what is working and what is not working in your sessions. When you express your needs to your therapist then the two of you will discuss the best ways to get those needs met in order to maximize the effectiveness of your sessions.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kelly Garrity, LMFT
Kelly Garrity, LMFT
Creative Counseling for OC Women and their Families

Finding "the right therapist" is about both feel and fitA skilled therapist should be at a minimum 2 things:  

  • An accurate mirror
  • A good explanatory voice

As an "accurate mirror", he or she should be able to help you clarify your thoughts, feelings, values, etc - helping you gain perspective on relationships in your life, as well as a greater depth of self-awareness.

As "an explanatory voice", a knowledgeable, well trained therapist should be able to help you understand your troubles or past emotional injuries in such a way that shame, blame, resentment or excessive guilt no longer interfere with you facing life challenges successfully.

But more than these qualities, a skillful therapist, should be able to coach you in improving your capacity for self-regulation and help you develop greater resilience within.  While at the same time, he/she should be a kind observer, rooting for you along the way as you develop the needed skillfulness to eventually no longer need this therapist along your side.

A good therapist will not need to be "trained" to give you what you need in treatment.  Within the very first session, you should have a sense - a feeling of being felt, seen, and heard.  By and large, I believe this to be the most important determining factor in choosing a therapist that is the right fit for you.

And last but not least - Trust your instinct and listen to your gut.  A good therapist will continue to give you reason to entrust your emotional wellness to their care.

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Rachele Epp
Rachele Epp
Rachele Epp, LMHC

Find a therapist who is experienced in the issues that bring you to counseling. When you interview your therapist or during the initial session, you will want to share with the therapist what your expectations are for therapy. Share with them what you need for therapy to be helpful to you. An important part of your first sessions will be setting specific goals for therapy with objectives on how those goals will be accomplished. These are your goals, not your therapist's goals. These goals and objectives should be written in a treatment plan and shared with you for approval. You are welcome to make changes in your treatment at any time.

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Kelly Freeman, MS, LPC
Kelly Freeman, MS, LPC
"Change Your Thoughts and you change the World." -Norman Vincent Peale

You'll know you have the right therapist when after the first few sessions you feel comfortable enough to tell them things you wouldn't tell anyone else. It's important in therapy for that rapport to be built from the beginning and that you as the client feel comfortable enough to share what you need to share. You shouldn't feel judgement from your therapist and you should be able to trust the advice your therapist provides. Therapy isn't about advice, don't get me wrong, but to truly implement the changes that need to be implemented to improve your life you need to trust the person giving the advice. Your therapist should have your best interest at heart and truly listen to what you have to say. The therapist should be willing to meet you where you are in your world and attempt to see the world from your perspective to truly understand what you have been through. You need to feel comfortable in therapy to be yourself and say what's on your mind. Therapy shouldn't be something that should be dreaded but it can get uncomfortable depending on the depth of the things being discussed. 

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Jason Lynch, MS, LMHC, LCAC, ADS
Jason Lynch, MS, LMHC, LCAC, ADS
Individual & Couples Therapy

Unfortunately, finding "the right" therapist isn't as easy as picking a name from a list provided by your insurance company or based on Google search results. The process begins with doing some research. Online directories such as Psychology Today and CounselChat are a good jumping-off point. Start by selecting search parameters that are important to you such as the gender of the therapist, issues you want to address in therapy, the therapist's therapeutic orientation (i.e., cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR, dialectical behavioral therapy), online versus in-person appointment availability, and the distance you are willing to travel. Once you have the results of your search, take time to read each therapist's profile and visit their websites. When you begin to contact the therapists, ask if they will offer a free telephone or Zoom consultation. This gives you the opportunity to ask specific questions of the therapist, to share details about your reasons for seeking therapy, and clearly express your goals. Spend some time preparing for the call. Because the calls are usually time-limited (mine are 15-minutes in length), it can be helpful to make some brief notes about the issues you wish to discuss and the questions you would like to ask the therapist. 

Approach your first session with an open mind. Therapy can be uncomfortable, intimidating, and even scary at first. It's not easy to be vulnerable, especially with a stranger. A good therapist will take their cues from you. If a client isn't ready to discuss trauma or a particular subject just yet, that's okay! Therapy is a process and a collaborative one at that. The best way to "train" your therapist is to openly communicate your needs with them. If, at any time, you don't feel as though your needs are being met or you are progressing towards your goals, let your therapist know how you are feeling. A competent therapist will appreciate this feedback and work with you to change course.   

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Peter Cellarius
Peter Cellarius
Couples Counseling & Trauma

Such a good question!  Sometimes, clients will feel like they are not connecting with their therapist and will put it on themselves.  In truth, the bond between therapist and client is the #1 predictor of positive outcomes in therapy.  Ask yourself these questions: does it feel like this person can come to care about me?  Do they remember from week to week what we touched on?  Do I feel compassion from this person? Do they allow me my difficult and painful feelings too, or do they try to rescue me?  

On your other question - I suggest you ask your therapist what goals he/she has for your treatment.  See if they respond with interest and participation, or if they become clinical and distant.  Ideally, you and your therapist jointly develop your goals, and check on your progress on a frequent basis.  I don't know if you can actually 'train' your therapist - we can be a hard bunch to train! :-)  - but you can definitely tell your therapist what works for you, and what didn't work, at the end of each session.  How they react will also tell you a lot about whether this is the right person for you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Laura Zane-Nwagbaraocha
Laura Zane-Nwagbaraocha
Empath, Authentic, Therapist, Wife, Mom

Hi, A good fit should have expertise in your issues. Generally, if you read their profile it should resonate with you...like they are talking directly to you. When you get into the therapy sessions, a good therapist will adapt their style to match your needs, they have done years of training to make sure they can help, so you should not have to "train your therapist" :) If you do, they are NOT a good fit. The idea of coming to therapy, is that you are there to get a different perspective and change what is not working for you, by that definition, you may not know what you need from therapy and that is where your therapist should be guiding you. That being said, in order for your therapist to give you the best service possible, they do need for you to be honest and let them know if you are willing or unwilling to incorporate the strategies they are offering. They need you to be willing to try things that are uncomfortable. A good therapist will also challenge your beliefs, make you question what you have done before...occasionally you should leave lighter, sometimes heavier, sometimes happy, sometimes lost in thought. If they are a good fit, you should feel like you can be your authentic self and feel safe, even if it is not easy. If you leave their office feeling like they are just a friend and you are not growing, they probably are not a right fit. If you leave their office feeling constantly frustrated, they are probably not a good fit. If they are not, let them know. A lot of times they can change their style or refer you to someone who is a better fit. It is okay to let your therapist know it does not seem to be working for you. 

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Catherine Caba
Catherine Caba
If your're feeling 'stuck', I'm you're person!

Like with any helping professional, you need to feel comfortable and heard.  If the therapist is not the right one, you will definitely know during the first session.  There is no 'training" a therapist.  I believe there has to be an openness in communication and a clear understanding of goals and treatment expectations.

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Lori Kolb
Lori Kolb
Adolescent and College age Expert

This is a great question!  I imagine people wonder this all of the time, as it's a conversation I have had with many of my clients.  One thing to think about is advice that I give regarding many different types of relationships: what brings you together has to be more than what draws you apart.  In this case, therapy will likely make you uncomfortable at times and feel difficult.  But the right therapist will always help you to feel safe and supported through that. 

As far as "training" your therapist, I encourage you to think about it from the perspective of how you can best be assertive about what you're looking for- and what you're NOT looking for! Most therapists will be happy to talk about their approaches or beliefs to help you better understand their work and what you might be doing with them in your time together.  If these conversations don't feel satisfying, feel free to move on.  Not everyone is the perfect fit, and that is okay. 

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Audrey ONeal
Audrey ONeal
Bi-lingual Psychotherapist and HeartMath Certified Practitioner

The question about identifying the right therapist is a compelling one to be sure.  The therapeutic relationship is based on trust and confidentiality is the cornerstone of the profession. Therefore, it is essential to seek a therapist who practices ethically, is empathetic, and has the capacity to be objective as well as non-judgmental. It is also important to seek a therapist who specializes in your particular issue and has clinical  experience as well as a passion in striving for toward the best outcome. You will not need to train your therapist as a competent therapist will help you explore the sources of your distress, or limitations in your belief system and so forth. A competent therapist will be able to suggest a variety of treatment approaches and together you will decide which approach is best for you. However, you also have to decide what kind of therapist you envision being comfortable with. Some clients prefer a more directive approach and others a more collaborative one.Most therapists offer a consultation which is a good opportunity to ask questions and get a sense of the therapist's treatment approaches, training, credentials,  style, ideas and so forth. You may be able to gauge from the consultation whether or not you are a good fit.

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Toni Teixeira, LCSW
Toni Teixeira, LCSW
Your road to healing begins here

This is a great question. I think that as a client it is important to educate yourself on how to look for a therapist. I think the process of looking for a therapist can be intimidating for some people and they may just pick the first therapist they find who takes their insurance. I think if you take a little more time, you will be able to find the best therapist for you.

The most important thing is probably to create a list of therapists you are interested in working with. You might get referrals from friends, or check out some websites. You want to see that the person you are working with mentions working with people with the issues you want to address. You also want to see what they say about how they work with their clients. If they only do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and you don't feel comfortable with only that modality, then keep checking out other therapists. You want to definitely call a few therapists to talk. Don't just make an appointment with the first one who answers their phone! 

See what each therapist feels like to talk to over the phone. Do you feel comfortable? Do they make you feel at ease? Do they use a lot of jargon? Not every therapist may be the right match for you. Ask questions. If they say they use a certain modality and you have never heard of it, have them explain it to you. Do they explain it in a way that makes sense to you? Keep listening to make sure you feel comfortable and feel like they "get you."

The best way to "train" your therapist is to be upfront about what it is you need. Let them know what is working and what isn't working. Learning how to communicate with your therapist will not only make your therapy more productive, but it is usually a good way to practice the new skills you will be developing.

Best of luck on your journey!

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Shandra Patrick, MFT
Shandra Patrick, MFT
“Creation Starts Here”
One of the first things you should feel with a therapist is a safe and non-judgemental space. As a therapist, my number one goal is to make my clients feel comfortable with sharing the darkest parts of their life. The next thing you should recognize is the therapist challenging you to think beyond your current scope of focus. 
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Maria Anisia Cocan
Maria Anisia Cocan
Couple and Family Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology

You have to feel listened by someone emphatic and compassionate who is willing to make a therapeutic plan from the beginning and explain to you what are the most suitable therapeutic approaches for you. Based on each person needs this can be done working hand in hand and making certain agreements on the plan. Goals should be considered and the therapist should support you in achieving them and keep an eye on the progress and obstacles you've encountered. 

You can't "train" someone in offering support for your needs , you can ask specifically what you're looking for and see if that person can meet your expectation. 

Hopefully this answer will be helpful ! 

Best wishes ! 

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Gayle Weill
Gayle Weill
Specializing in relationships and parenting - additional certifications in Child-parent psychotherapy, Circle of Security-Parenting program, adoption competency, hypnosis, and EMDR

You know that you have the right therapist for you if you feel comfortable confiding in them, and you feel that they are able to help you feel understood and that you are gaining from their therapeutic services.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Melissa Jones
Melissa Jones
LMSW, ACHP-SW

Studies have shown that the most successful therapy is a result of a strong therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist. So, you want to pick a therapist that you feel a connection with and communicates with you in a way that is relatable. The fact that you're using the word "train" leads me to believe you're really wanting a therapist that meets your needs, and you have very specific needs in mind. But, in a therapy/client relationship neither is the trainer. It's an open, collaborative relationship with you as the client voicing your needs and the therapist learning what your strengths are, analyzing your situation, and helping to guide you on your journey offering suggestions based on their education and expertise on possibly better ways to cope. You can ask your therapist about interacting in a way that works best for you, for example just talking, or talking and taking notes, or wanting handouts and homework, using an interactive app, etc. You can also talk to your therapist about wanting a brief, solution focused approach to a particular problem. This is the model most insurance companies prefer. Say you want to knock out a short term, specific issue in 6 sessions. But, depending on the issue, on average it takes a couple of months to see improvement and some people with more chronic, complex concerns may need therapy for years. So, you see why "train" won't work it's really about picking someone you can bare your soul too and that you feel you want a therapeutic relationship with for the long haul while you get help tackling the toughest stuff life has thrown your way.

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Jenny Stevens
Jenny Stevens
Resident in Counseling at Sunstone Counseling

Finding the right therapist is a crucial part of the therapy process-- and one that can be intimidating or daunting despite increasing ease of access to individual therapist profile matching services. The right therapist will allow you the space to give them feedback on how you are most comfortable with the counseling process as well as adhere to the right pace of sessions and disclosure that feels most comfortable to you.

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Danielle Palmer
Danielle Palmer
Relationship & Individual Counseling
If you've found the "right" therapist for you, you probably feel comfortable being vulnerable with them. Ideally, you feel connected to them in a way that leads to you feeling understood. In order to get what you need out of your treatment, it's important to be open and honest with your therapist about what you are seeking. Are you looking for coping tools? What are your goals and how are you planning on reaching them? Those questions need to be talked about in therapy to make sure everyone is on the same page.
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You will know when you have the right therapist if you feel like it is a "fit" for you.  Trust your intuition!  It is often accurate.  However, if you are used to unhealthy relationships, the therapeutic relationship may feel uncomfortable at times.  One of the best ways to "train" your therapist is to educate him/her about you.  If something is important to you, tell him/her.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jim Ciraky PhD., LPC
Jim Ciraky PhD., LPC
Expert Anxiety Counselor

A colleague and I were discussing the characteristics of successful therapists. I gave him some traits, some of which were listed by Robinson (2012). The therapist should be able to listen to your story, build rapport, establish a relationship, demonstrate empathy, adapt treatments to the client/situation, use effective communication skills, exhibit confidence in use of therapeutic techniques, and repeatedly update skills with ongoing education and research.

You should talk with the therapist. In addition to asking the therapist about his/her experiences and specialty in treating the issue you want to address; you will gain a sense of the therapist’s ability to connect with you in your first phone call or meeting with him/her. This is why I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can use the above criteria to gauge the therapist’s ability to do the following: Hear you, join with you in understanding the issue, and indicate some ways in which the issue may be treated.

I specialize treating anxiety and relationships and would like to talk with you if you have questions about how I may be able to help you.

Jim
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dr Traci Kochendorfer
Dr Traci Kochendorfer
Time for you to " Claim IT" with over 15 years in health and wellness, Ph.D Psy.D D.D. F.P.L.C. recognized on TV and Magazines,

As we all need coaches and everyone including all of us on here had one or still does cause it is about your desire to be the best you can in your life goals.  People you connect with come into your life based on desire or a manifestation.  You will know once you have a few sessions with them and once you achieve you might move on to another expert.

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Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers
Que Sera Sera Counseling

If you are not able to build a rapport even after many sessions, thats when you will know that the therapist is not right for you. Also, you dont have to train the therapist regarding the treatment plan. The therapist alone cannot decide what's needed for the client without client taking the driver seat !

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

There is no such thing as a therapist that is "right" for someone. Outside of getting a "bad" therapist who shouldn't be in the industry almost any counselor should be able to make the appropriate choices. Remember counseling is a process, you and the therapist work together for the common goal of your mental health. The best way to train them for what you need is to communicate. "What you said last time was really helpful", "I don't think this homework is something I'm ready to commit to". "I like learning more about skills" or "I just have a lot on my mind this session and I really just want to be heard".

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jennifer Jenkins-Boitnott
Jennifer Jenkins-Boitnott
EMDRIA Approved Consultant & Certified EMDR Therapist

Finding the right therapist means finding one that feels like a good fit for your needs in therapy and your personality style. The therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in therapy being successful or beneficial. When you have found a good fit, that means -  you feel comfortable with the therapist, feel you have a connection with the therapist as a person, think that they will be someone you are able to open up to, feel that they may be someone you can trust to help you through therapy, and that has experience in the clinical areas that you are seeking treatment for. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dwight Norman
Dwight Norman
High Quality Psychology

The most important thing when looking for a therapist is the comfortability you have with that person. If you do not feel comfortable when your in session then it is more likely you have the wrong therapist for you. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Michele Ramey
Michele Ramey
MRTherapy, LLC- Because Help Is One Of A Kind

I love these questions! You will know you have the right therapist for you because you resonate with them and you feel better after each treatment. The second part to question two, is that first, you have to allow your therapist to learn about you and you have to be honest and open to their expertise. You are not paying for help from yourself, but you should be paying for someone who makes you feel better as well as someone who also looks past what you have been trying to get or what you think you need from therapy because hopefully they give you a new perspective of what you thought you needed, which is what we call an "aha moment." You will want to have those in your sessions. Because you are paying to decrease whatever the issue is, but also you are paying for getting better, or more confident in who you are or who you want to become! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Philippe Bower
Philippe Bower
Healing with Philippe

The relationship between yourself and your therapist is one based on trust, respect, and understanding. The best way to determine if a therapist is right for you is to ask. Does this therapist respect my journey? Does this therapist respect me as a human? Does this therapist understand the unique factors contributing to my mental health? Do I trust the therapist with my most intimate details? If you find that any of these answers are no, you may want to talk with your therapist about your concerns. 

In the end, only you are able to determine if your therapist is a great fit for your personal needs. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Eric  Rhinehart, LMFT, LAADC, CCMI-M, CIP
Eric Rhinehart, LMFT, LAADC, CCMI-M, CIP
ER Interventions & Therapy Services

Choosing the right therapist and finding the right fit is difficult.  There are many therapists from all walks of life that use different styles and modalities. I think the connection established between therapist and client is key to the entire therapeutic process and may require more than one session to truly feel out if one therapist is the right fit. It's important to feel comfortable around your therapist.  Try asking the therapist questions about their background history, credentials, experience in the field, etc., to truly get a gauge on what you think about starting this journey with this therapist.  You can view this as almost like you interviewing someone for a specific job and trying to find the best person and most qualified to address your needs. I find this has been helpful for my clients who choose to see me.  As we all know, therapists are ordinary people too with differing personalities. Taking the first step to participate in therapy takes courage, so go into it with an open mind and see if the connection happens organically and if it doesn't after a few sessions than it's ok to seek out another therapist. Feeling connected and safe is important in our work together as therapist and client. Remember it's not a sprint it's a marathon.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Ashley Bryant
Ashley Bryant
Restoring the mind, the couple, and the family.

You will know when you have the right there is when you have been able to establish a trusting relationship with this person, there's a level of honesty and transparency within this relationship, and this person challenges you on different levels to come out of your comfort zone and to grow.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kennedy McLean
Kennedy McLean
Trauma Specialist, Therapist in Private Practice

This is a big question. Whenever you are in the position to choose your therapist, it is a good idea to do a consultation first so you can get a feel for them and see if you think your personality might match well. Sometimes it is difficult to tell in a very short meeting however and it can take a session or even a few to know this. Really, the "right therapist" is probably someone that you feel somewhat comfortable with or someone with who you could see yourself becoming comfortable even if you have difficulty trusting others. It is likely someone who you do not feel judged by. Part of the work in therapy is also being able to ask for what you need and voice your concerns which means telling your therapist if they do or say something that upsets you. This is part of the repair process and therapy is a safe space to practice this skill so you can do it in the real world when this happens in relationships. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Laura Chandler
Laura Chandler
Christian Counseling Services

I believe that most people usually know right within the first couple of sessions if they have found the right therapist. You would want someone that you can trust and someone that you feel comfortable talking to.  You would also want someone who has the experience and skills to help you with your situation.  You can verify your therapist's skills and experience by asking them about their credentials, certifications, and training. 

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Stacey Hoth, MA, CADC
Stacey Hoth, MA, CADC
Stepping Stones Counseling LLC

This is a great question.  Most therapists offer a free consultation and you should take advantage of this.  During this conversation, you will know if you have a connection with them.  If they are easy to talk to and know how to help, they are the one for you.  As far as "training" them, this is something that you should not have to do.  Treatment is a team effort and a plan should be made during the beginning of treatment on what you want to accomplish during treatment.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shanice Stephenson
Shanice Stephenson
You Are Your Biggest Breakthrough Yet!

The right therapist can sometimes be tricky especially if this is your first experience seeking mental health services or assistance. Finding the right therapist means considering what issues you would like to address and which therapists has specialities in what you are seeking. 

When searching for a therapist reach out to those in your support system who have had experiences with a therapist and find out their likes and dislikes. Use some time looking via search engines for therapists in your area and allow your curiosity to lead you to therapists directories where therapists are displaying their philosophy of how they help client's heal. Consider whether gender and race/ethnicity is a preference and who you would feel the most comfortable with sharing your concerns that "gets you." Also do not hesitate to ask about free-consultation calling services that further allow you the opportunity to provide a bit of information about yourself and allows you the benefit of asking additional questions about the therapist, their services and offerings and whether you are ready for treatment or rather search for other options.

In regards to "training" your therapist, remember that therapy is a collaborative approach involving both client and counselor. This will depend on your needs, goals for therapy and the overall objectives. A licensed therapist that is trained will be knowledgeable to assist you in your journey through treatment. As a trained therapist, one will assist in clarifying of your current situation(s), work out past experiences that may hinder your improvement and provide the necessary skills to assist in your progress throughout. If you believe that you are not receiving these things voice your concerns with your therapist, ask for recommendations and/or referrals for a better fit. That's perfectly okay!

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Viviana  Diaz
Viviana Diaz
Licensed Professional Counselor

When looking for a therapist, ask some questions about their background and modalities of treatment. Before meeting a therapist, have an idea of specifics about your therapist preference (Male, Female, Language Preference, of issue specific, (Religion, gender supportive, LGBTQ issues, Trauma, Grief/Loss, Divorce, Coparenting ) Also, it will benefit you to know your goals for therapy, and the difficulties that you are facing. Ask questions about his/her rates, if he/she are currently accepting insurance, and if offering currently tele therapy. Take advantage of free consultations and get a sense if you feel comfortable with therapist, and do check therapist profiles (Psychology Today, Latinx Therapy among others). Different therapists have different niches and specialties feel free to explore the person who matches more with what you want to accomplish. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. I would definitely encouraged you to start a conversation with her around your concerns from a place of love and care without judgment. Try to listen her perspective, and if she also is aware of the impact in her mood. If she is concerned about what is going on in her life, then you can offer and specialist to support her in the process. If not, continue checking in with her. You did not mention her age, but if she is a minor (Under 18 years old) you can also bring it up with general doctor to have an anxiety/depression assessment that can lead to more specific data about her difficulties and referred to a specialist.

I always say finding the right therapist is a little bit like dating--when you date to find the "right person," you often date several people who are perfectly nice, but are just not the right fit for you. It may take several tries before you find "the one." Finding the right therapist is a lot like that. You may have a therapist who is perfectly nice and qualified, but they just don't feel like the right fit. 

You need to find someone who you feel comfortable talking to and who "gets" you. They should have a clear understanding of what you need help with, and should be able to explain to you some of the ways they are going to help you. You can help your therapist give you what you need from treatment by telling them exactly what you need, and by letting them know when what they are doing isn't working for you. Clear communication is key! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson
treating adult anxiety in MI & NY

It is incredibly important that a person feels that their therapist is right for them! The importance of this is not only because they will be asked to be vulnerable and honest during sessions, but also because it can impact treatment outcomes. Having confidence in your therapist and the therapeutic relationship can help foster success in therapy!

Generally speaking, it is a good fit if the therapist has expertise with your particular problem, you connect the "feel" or “vibe” of the therapist, and you like their treatment philosophy. In order to find out if it’s a good fit, you may have to directly ask the therapist about their expertise and treatment philosophy. Many people are arbitrarily matched to a therapist or believe that they have to see the first therapist with an available appointment. It is important to remember that you have a choice in who your provider is!

As far as “training” your therapist, there are caveats here. Your therapist is responsible for providing ethical and competent services without you having to train them (such as maintaining appropriate boundaries, maintaining confidentiality, etc.). Assuming they are meeting those minimum requirements, the hope is that they are also demonstrating respect for you (such as starting session on time, providing consistency, and being non-judgmental). If you do not feel respected or you have concerns about their judgements, I recommend you bring this to their attention. While the therapeutic relationship is unique and is not like other relationships in our lives, it is still a relationship. It may be uncomfortable to tell them how you feel about their behavior, but there can be immense therapeutic value in these conversations.

If your therapist is providing ethical services, competent services, and demonstrating respect for you, it’s a good start. If you are not getting the results you hope to get from therapy, it is still not your job to “train” the therapist, but it would be beneficial to bring this to their attention. Ask them about that goals and objectives that you are working on and ask for clarity on the direction of treatment. These conversations can be incredibly beneficial to the therapeutic relationship and the trajectory of treatment. Alternatively, if you are not feeling good about the provider, their vibe, the goals, or the direction, it may be time to seek a consultation with another therapist. “Starting over” in therapy does require quite a bit of emotional energy but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
PATRICIA STEPHENS
PATRICIA STEPHENS
Individual, Couples and Family Therapist

How do you know if you have the right therapist?   First you must do your homework regarding what your needs are. Once you determine what your needs are you can narrow your search down to gender, age, background, what they specialize in.  Once you have that information you want to choose a few therapist to interview to get a feel of their communication style and if you feel safe with the therapist.  Sometimes you may have to meet with several therapist  before making a decision.  The key is you feel emotionally and physically safe.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Marianne Cook, EdD, LICSW
Marianne Cook, EdD, LICSW
Psychotherapy for Higher Education

I always recommend that people have a brief phone call with a few potential therapists before deciding to meet one in person. Tell them a bit about whatever is going on with you, and then ask them how they would approach those issues. This should give you an initial sense of how comfortable you feel around them. Do they make you feel heard and understood? Do they give you a sense of relief and hope? These are some questions to consider in that very first phone call, and ones you can continue to ask yourself once you select a therapist and begin working together. There are certain issues that benefit from specific treatments (e.g. Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD) but in most cases, the therapeutic relationship is the biggest influence on how much improvement clients will experience, so it's essential that you get the feeling this is someone you can trust and someone who genuinely cares about you.

If you're not getting what you need in therapy, I would encourage you to offer that feedback to your therapist. Therapy is a collaborative process and requires your input. Your therapist should be able to take your feedback constructively and help you consider ways those needs could be met. This might mean changing tack in terms of therapeutic approaches, addressing something in therapy that is getting in the way, or even referring you to someone who has different expertise. Please know that most therapists welcome these kinds of conversations -- our primary aim is to help you feel better!

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Kevin Mimms
Kevin Mimms
Building Better Connections

This is a tricky question. If you have the right therapist, there should be some mutual patience, as it can take time to develop a positive relationship. Sometimes things seem to click right away, but I wouldn’t be discouraged if an instant connection was lacking. 

Bring up these concerns with them, and a competent therapist will help you to process your fears and your doubts. This can be risky though, especially if the therapist isn’t very experienced or struggles with these competencies. 

It may even be worthwhile to have trust as a stated goal early in therapy with your counselor, especially if this is something you struggle with often. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Zach Leezer
Zach Leezer
It's hard to live a happy life if you constantly bully yourself. You would never dream of calling your loved ones "failure," "worthless," or "incompetent," yet you call yourself those things every day. Let's talk about that.

Studies show that the most important determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. It is very important that you find the right therapist for you. If you feel that your therapist understands you, doesn't judge you, or is someone you can trust, these are all good signs that you have found the right therapist for you. It may take a few sessions for you to know whether you're in the right place or not, but if you decide it isn't working for you, there is no shame in telling your therapist. We want you to get the care you need, and we know we can't be the right fit for everyone.

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Larry Baumgartner
Larry Baumgartner
Real Life Solutions for Real Life Problems

The conversation on the phone is critical.  it goes both ways, sometimes you just feel in their tone and words that you could be a match. Ask the Therapist questions if you have them. Not every Therapist is a good fit for every client. Not every client is a good fit for every Therapist.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Joyce Cooney
Joyce Cooney
Licensed Professional Counselor

Choosing the right therapist is important, Take the time to ask a few questions before setting up the first appointment to determine if you feel it is the right fit. Typically you can tell within the first few minutes of a conversation.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Judith  Rose-Wilson, PhD
Judith Rose-Wilson, PhD
Couple’s and Relationship Counseling

Having a good rapport with your therapist is of vital importance. Your therapist should create a space where you feel safe, comfortable, and judgement free. If you are able to build that strong level of comfort with your therapist, you will feel safe to ask for what you need. It is also important to feel empowered to try a new  therapist if you are not feeling connected. As a therapist, we understand that people have different needs that we may not be able to effectively address for whatever reason. But above all, make sure you get what you need for you. You first!!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Abigail Eck
Abigail Eck
I'm so grateful you're here. Finding a therapist is scary, so I'd like to make this comfortable for you.

This is a great question! When you look forward to sessions because you feel calm, comforted, supported, and growth -- that's how you know you found the right therapist. Therapy can be uncomfortable simply because you start looking at parts of your life and yourself that you've been avoiding or hiding. BUT, a therapist shouldn't make you feel attacked, judged, dependent, or weak.

A good therapist will "train" themselves to best suit you and your needs. I truly hope you find your match!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Finding the right therapist isn't as easy as looking in the phone book and choosing someone who is close-by or is inexpensive. The therapist who feels like the best fit is someone who you feel comfortable being vulnerable with, provides a environment (physical or virtual) that feels safe to try and take risks, and who focuses on your needs in the time you spend together. The right treatment options may vary depending on what you are going through in your life at the moment, and may not be the same from challenge to challenge. A good therapist for you will communicate with you and give you feedback, but also encourage you to grow and be able to utilize the tools you've acquired in your real, every day life.

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Jane M Floyd, PsyD
Jane M Floyd, PsyD
Our life is shaped by our mind for we become what we think; lets get started making progress in life

A therapist should be willing to have an initial conversation to determine - both of you - if there is a good fit. Fit will be determined in ways such as do I feel a connection with this therapist, do they have skills in an area that I am struggling with, do I feel heard and listened to when we talk, are you making the progress you are seeking. Each therapist may have a different style but I have found the best way to work together is through collaboration, providing input to your needs and feedback when things are going well or if things need to change identify that as well 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Tara Dixon
Tara Dixon
Freedom from the past, control of the present, and hope for the future

There are lots of very good therapists out there–doing all types of therapy. However, studies show that more important than the type of therapy, the biggest indicator of client success is the therapeutic relationship that develops between the therapist and client. In other words…there needs to be a ‘good fit’.

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Shirvington Hannays
Shirvington Hannays
Certified Addiction Counsellor
How do you know you have the right therapist for you? The honest and authentic answer is that you may never be able to say for sure you have the right Therapist.
However, you can be guided a few session of your meeting and you sharing the reason(s) you seek counselling. Then you feeling that both you and the Therapist have invested some time together being venerable, establishing trust, and both being willing to come from a place of respect for each other. Especially from the therapist to you, that you don't feel judged. That said, it is hoped that in time and with time (varying form each set of client/therapist teams) there develops and forms a therapeutic alliance that natural fosters and encourages change and growth for you the client.
All of the above said, how do you find this out? You will have to be will to invest some time getting to know the therapist, his or her style; therapy mode and approach base of training and expertise. here are still qualities of a professionally sound and empathetic therapist. They have clearly shown over time they actively listen to you, clarify and confirms highlights of your sharing, your fears, concerns and challenges that lead you to seek out counselling at this time. While you being as honest and forthcoming in your sharing for an assessment process to be conducted. Which allows for the establishment that you both may be a good fit to foster and maintain a therapeutic working alliance.
How would I know how to "train" my therapist to be able to give me what I need from treatment?
If this truly is an intention and motivation to explore treatment by you having the misguided information that you need to train your therapist to meet your needs, you clearly are not ready for treatment at this time.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Josh Kellar
Josh Kellar
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I think the right therapist will lead you toward answers that work. “Right” simply means they are helping you accomplish your goals for counseling.

If I understand the question, training your therapist should really just mean being transparent about what you’re looking for. Most therapists will offer a treatment plan that should let you know the process they are taking to help you meet your goals. If you don’t feel like the treatment plan is what you need, be honest with them and collaborate to come up with a process that better suits you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Ashton Sullivan
Ashton Sullivan
Dialectical Behavior Therapy and EMDR

I would look up therapists who speak to what you are going through on their website or directory listing and seem to align with your values (some people want a therapist of the similar faith, gender, or cultural background).  I'm not saying that they should have these traits but for some people that's important and helps them to feel more comfortable.  When you find one that seems to fit on their listing or website, try the free consultation that most therapists offer.  Ask them about their experience in treating your problems and how they might be able to help.  I would try them for a few sessions and see how well y'all mesh.  Ultimately if you don't feel like you're getting anything out of it then I would suggest either letting them know if you need something different or try a different therapist.  Your therapist needs to fit like a comfy pair of shoes!  Sometimes that does take a few sessions though as the first stage always involves getting to know each other and building rapport. 

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Angelia Worley
Angelia Worley
Transformative Counseling Experience

Finding the right therapist is a lot like looking for a primary care doctor or family physician. You may have more than one in your life and also, if it does not work out, you can find a provider that is a better fit. 

You want to find someone who you believe will respond to your needs and help you accomplish your goals. That being said, it is very helpful to know what are you trying to accomplish in counseling. Therapists will open up the floor for you to discuss and will set treatment goals with you to move towards what you are accomplishing. This becomes the road map. The map keeps both the clinician and client on course. 

In addition, being very honest about your needs and providing feedback about sessions can be helpful. If you did not like something, make sure to speak up about it, so that it does not negatively impact the therapy relationship. If something works, make sure you speak up about that too. This can help the therapist to know if therapeutic changes need to be made. Similar to a doctor, if a medication is not working, it would be important to let them know so that adjustments can be made.  

Therapy is a journey that is unique to each person. Talking about the therapy relationship is a part of that journey. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Danielle Thomas, LMFT
Danielle Thomas, LMFT
Finding Safety through Transparency

What a great question. There is no one size fits all to the answer unfortunately because it is based solely on what draws a connection between the two of you. Deciding on a therapist is not an easy process just as deciding on a physical health practitioner. I would suggest first inquiring about areas of specialty and alining this with what you desire to obtain from therapy. Secondly, I would suggest requesting a consultation to engage in dialogue to aid you with getting a feel of your comfort level with speaking to him or her. Lastly, I would suggest asking their level of experience with whatever your presenting concern is. 

I hope that I have offered you some sense of direction. Good luck to you. Be safe, and don't forget to exercise some form of self-care routinely. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jessica Fealk, MA, LPC
Jessica Fealk, MA, LPC
www.dalycounseling.com (Michigan)

You will generally feel a 'click,' or 'connection,' with a counselor through their bio, website, and/or on the phone during a consult (if one is provided).  Counseling is about the true you having a safe place to come out.  With the right therapist you will feel safe to be your true self, in all your glory! 

In order to get what you need from treatment, be clear with what you are looking for.  I believe a great counselor is person-centered and partners with the client, inviting the client to determine the goals, and where they would like to get to.  Then the therapist and client work together to get to the client's desired destinations! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Ryan Holliman
Ryan Holliman
You deserve more, let me help you get the life you deserve!

I think there are two major things that are necessary for a therapist to be helpful.  The first is that you must feel comfortable with them.  If you feel like the counselor was interested in your life and was caring during the first session, that's a good sign.  If not, then run!  Trust your gut on this one.  

The second important thing is that you have to trust your counselor.  Your counselor can be kind, but if they just sit there and nod, without providing you anything, its probably isn't a good fit.  Just like when you go to a medical doctor, you're putting your care in their hands, so you need to feel like there is expertise.

If you not getting those things, I would encourage you to voice your needs (though I know that can be hard).  If you counselor listens to that feedback, it's generally a good sign, and if they don't it may be a sign that this isn't a good fit.  The important thing is, that you have to find a good fit.  Just like any other relationship, not everyone is going to be a perfect match together. 

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Chaya Lerner
Chaya Lerner
Grief Therapist

Your therapist will show up for you not only keeping your appointments but s/he will listen to you. S/he will use your language. Also s/he will respectfully confront you when appropriate.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Patrick Santilli, LPCC
Patrick Santilli, LPCC
Telehealth Therapist in Ohio

Finding the right therapist for you can be a stressful process but is important. I often explain it as buying a new car. "We need to test drive the new car to understand how it handles, looks or feels, etc." It is common for clients to know their therapist is the right fit after the first few minutes of speaking with them. Other times, it doesn't happen until a few sessions. Finding what criteria are important for you in a therapist is a good way to see if the one you are working with fits. Example criteria may include their gender, age, specific training or expertise, certain life experiences, tone of voice, conversation style, projection of empathy, approach to sessions (more question asking or problem-solving), or overall personality compatibility. There is nothing wrong with changing therapists if you do not feel it is the right fit. Feedback always helps with the therapy process if you feel like it is a right fit but the therapist may not be giving you what you need at that time. We are trained to understand this is a part of the process and can provide great resources for clients to find someone else if that is what is needed.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

This is an important question.  The right therapist does not necessarily need to share all of your views, but they do need to share your goals.  I cannot over-stress the importance of setting goals with your therapist.  They may change over time, but you and the therapist should be on the same page.  There is nothing wrong with being upfront about what your needs are, and the therapist should be able to help you do that.  Keep in mind that what you need in the beginning may be different than what you need in the end as you grow and change throughout the course of therapy.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amanda Samuels
Amanda Samuels
Co-Parenting and Infidelity Couples Counseling

How do you feel when you meet with your therapist?  Are you comfortable?  Do you feel safe?  Do you feel like you are gaining something from the experience?  Therapy has its ups and downs, it is hard, and sometimes it won't feel good- that is when you are growing and learning the most.  If you feel comfortable, safe, like you can tell your therapist anything (after getting to know her/him- not in the first session), and that you are getting help with what brought you in; then you might have found the right therapist for you.  I always say, its just a feeling- you'll know.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Michelle Huczek
Michelle Huczek
LPC-IT, MS

Setting expectations for treatment at the very beginning would help you to know if you have found the "right one" for you. This is how you'd address "training" your therapist to give you what you need. However, the therapist is not there to fix you, that's your job. A therapist is another set of eyes on your life and the presenting issues you come in to discuss. Sometimes you may not like what the therapist has to say, and just maybe that is what you "needed" that day. Therapy also takes time, it's not a quick fix. If there's a certain type of therapy you'd like, then again you'd discuss that in the very beginning. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Here's what I'm already picking up on from you: 1) you are motivated to advocate for your needs, 2) you value connecting with your therapist in some form, and 3) you have at least a basic understanding of what you want/need from therapy.  

Finding a therapist that fits can be a difficult task.  Every counselor has their own style and some just tend to mesh well with certain personalities--factors beyond our control.  If you look at it in terms of specialties, many therapists will identify those on their company's websites and/or during an intake.  It is important to know what your therapist is competent in because you are sacrificing so much time, energy, and finances into the process!

Figuring out if your counselor is a match for the issues you present with can be relatively quick to discover (usually this happens during intake when the counselor informs the client about their areas of expertise). On the other hand, it may take a few sessions to learn whether or not you feel a connection with your counselor.  In the research we have on clinical outcomes, it is shown over and over again that the relationship is key--treatment techniques alone play a very small role in client change when the counselor-client bond is lacking.  

I wonder if maybe there is a fear here that your therapist may not understand you or may guide you in the wrong direction.  When I have a client with these fears, it's crucial we process their expectations of and goals for therapy, as well as realistic ways I can help support them in those goals that fit their individual needs.  You may find that some therapists don't meet your needs and that's OK.  It's normal to feel discouraged about therapy not working out, but it's important to continue to search for the best match for you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Nykke Grunstein
Nykke Grunstein
Meeting the Needs of People In Need
It is not a matter of training your therapist, they should now how to illicit the needed information from you to help you. 
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Lucia Smith
Lucia Smith
Therapy For People With Anxiety

It's kind of like an audition.  You need to find someone who you feel comfortable with and respect.  Many therapists provide short, free, consultations.  That is a good way to see if they seem to understand and empathize with you in a way that puts you at ease.  If you have specific issues that you need to work on. look for someone who specializes in what is troubling you.  The therapist should be able to provide evidence-based treatment and should discuss with you why they think this is the best way to proceed.  Every counseling client should feel free to have input on their goals and desired outcomes.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
RUTH SANTOS HOWE
RUTH SANTOS HOWE
Trained Telemental Health Provider

I think the most important to be the right therapist to you, is being able to make the click. It means to combine my years of education and training with my personal experiences, and how those could help you to figure it out your exploration about yourself, help you process them in the way that you may be able to learn how to deal with life's difficulties. On the other side, that would be important in your process, is that you can trust in me as one who has been learning for my own process of life. Also, I have been in your place as a counselee, and I know how important is to get help. I was once divorced and I understand the pain of loss. I was a victim of domestic violence and I am a survivor. I am multicultural, I am multiracial married, I am a mother of adult children, I understand the development process from the cradle to the marriage, and have watched them grow in their careers. I have values and principles rooted in the knowledge of divine wisdom and that life has much more meaning when we live a mindfulness life. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Leah Elvitsky
Leah Elvitsky
Helping you thrive and not just survive.

If your therapist is attentive and compassionate to what you are sharing then you will know you have a true connection with him or her and that he or she is the right match for you. Having a therapist who has a good location and inviting office is also a good sign that you have the right one!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Christianne  Porta
Christianne Porta
Understand. Heal. Grow

When you find the right therapist, you will feel understood on a deeper level.  You'll feel that they not only understood what you were saying, but that they were also able to catch the "in between the lines" part and put into words what you have not been able to.  The relationship with your therapist should be collaborative, there should be a fundamental element of safety and trust.  A strong relationship with your therapist takes time to cultivate, but by the second or third session, you'll know if that therapist genuinely see's the world from your perspective and has a plan to get on how they will support your growth through this journey.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kayla Moore
Kayla Moore
Counseling for Innovative Millennial Professionals and Couples in Tacoma, WA.

The most important agent of change in therapy is your relationship with your therapist. It is so important for you to find a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable enough to just lay everything out there and be vulnerable with. Therapy is really building a safe and healthy relationship with a professional that can then help guide you in some of the most intimate and emotional parts of your life. This relationship does take time to build, but usually you can get a sense of a therapist's personality and approach from their bio and website. Once you have found someone that you think you could really connect with, then it's about looking at do they have the expertise you need. Do they have training in relationship counseling or in working with anxiety, depression, or trauma? It is important to find an expert in the field so you are getting the best care possible...just like if you were to go to a general family doctor versus a specialist. I hope that is helpful! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jennifer Barajas, MS, LPC
Jennifer Barajas, MS, LPC
E-Counseling so you can access counseling where you are in life.

You know have the right therapist if:

  • Your counselor specializes in what you are seeking help for or they have experience with treating people with similar issues.
  • They are ethical and are able to understand your culture or religious norms.
  • They are licensed in your state.
  • They are able to provide you treatment that is tailored to your needs so that you can meet your goals for therapy.
  • They are non-judgmental and can show empathy to you.
  • They can meet you were you are in your journey of healing and understand you.
  • The location of the office or use of technology to hold sessions is something that you are comfortable with.

Recognize that a relationship with a counselor is like a relationship with any other person, sometimes you mesh well and sometimes you do not mesh well. A counselor should never take any offense if you do not feel like a good fit with the counselor, just be honest with your counselor about how you are feeling about the relationship. If you feel the need to change counselors, feel the freedom to change counselors as you will get more from therapy if you feel like you make a good team.

To "train" your therapist:

  • Be honest about your needs, expectations, barriers and about your situation.
  • Know thyself and share that with your counselor. 
  • Create attainable goals for yourself with the help of the counselor.
  • Set the pace that you are comfortable with.
  • Feel comfortable to share an agenda for each session.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shauntai Davis-Yeargin
Shauntai Davis-Yeargin
Personalized, private online counseling for individuals and couples

When you have the right therapist you just know, as evidence of the help that you have received, the progress that you have made,  from the rapport and partnership that you have gained with your therapist, and from if you feel supported in a way that is helpful to you, as well as if your therapist has a good understanding of what your needs are and what you desire to gain from your therapy experience. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
JanaLee  Wagner
JanaLee Wagner
Hope through life's complications.

This is a great question.  A good therapist should first be someone you can trust and second, someone who encourages you to be honest with yourself.  Therapy is a time to learn new coping skills and learn more about yourself.  You have the answers you need within yourself,  but it sometimes takes a keen ear to lead you to those answers.  This can't happen without trust and honesty. You may not always leave therapy feeling energized. Therapy can be hard work. But, you should always feel you have gained something to ponder that will help you better understand yourself. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dr. Melissa Valentina
Dr. Melissa Valentina
Honor Yourself and Live Your Truth

If you connect with your therapist and can say whatever you want to say and not be judged.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Reanna Waugh
Reanna Waugh
Waugh's Holistic Wellness Center

Having the perfect therapist can be the key to any fruitful relationship. My private practice uses Life Coaching, though I am professionally qualified in many therapeutic modalities. The therapeutic relationship is the initial step of any treatment program or goal attainment process. We can discover an appreciation of having discovered the best character to show you on this journey in excellent communication. Does the person “get you” and are you on the same page in the therapeutic process? The therapist should have considerable experience that combines professional instruction on the matters that you need guidance to overpower. If the therapist doesn’t have all the fundamental experiences, is he/she prepared to locate the suitable means that you require or have the capabilities to recommend you to someone while following up and continuing a prosperous and beneficial relationship with you.

If for some reason you are required to continue with a therapist and advance on this relationship, make certain that the communication areas are consistently transparent. Express yourself openly in disclosing your objectives and purpose. Try to find a commonality with the therapist that encompasses various pathways of motivation for them to learn and grow while maintaining a focus on your present accomplishments. Optimal Communication is consistently the key to a healthy relationship.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dr. Timothy Paul
Dr. Timothy Paul
'man'; Online - "Natural Health Consultant and Coach"
The right therapist is [a] man or woman with whom you see an immediate and continual improvement in your issue, up until the point when you no longer need them anymore.

Think of them as a mechanic who should be able to fix your car relatively quickly; and, if he doesn't fix it, you fire him :)
If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call...  (more)If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. All written by 'i': 'man'; is [My] Property;
Christopher Michael, Ph.D.
Christopher Michael, Ph.D.
Claremont, CA Psychologist

One way is to bring one's concerns or desires to the therapist directly, rather than trying to subtly 'train' them. Here's why I say that: 

One quite important healing factor in a psychotherapy is discovering that problems in the therapy and the therapeutic relationship can be solved together

It is a safety zone or bridge for practicing that. If it can be done with a trained, usually safe person (the therapist), the client might think, wow--what are the implications for my outside life and relations? Could I get what I want outside of therapy, too, even if it feels not as safe?

If the therapist can deal with feedback (and any good therapist should be able to), this can be very productive. Cooperation in this way, in the moment, with a live person who is supposed to have authority and knowledge in these matters, can be profoundly healing.

If the therapist can't take feedback or doesn't want to--or does nothing to act on it--maybe we could say the client has the wrong therapist.   

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Susan Haberkorn
Susan Haberkorn
Online Christian Counseling for Women

If you are seeking personal development and challenge resolution in a Christian context, I am the right counselor for you. I will balance the needs of your temperament with scripture, prayer, and cognitive therapy techniques.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Rachel  Tramonte
Rachel Tramonte
Therapy for adults, couples, and teens

You should feel generally comfortable with your therapist.  Your therapist should be able to challenge you when necessary, and be able to provide support at other times.  I don't know if you can really "train" your therapist to give you what you need from treatment.  Definitely let your therapist  know  what you need or want from treatment and see what they have to say about your ideas. Do you think you are or at least will be able to make the progress you want to make with your current therapist? There isn't one "right" therapist for you.  There should be a few therapists in your area you will work with well enough. If you can have a productive, open dialogue with your therapist and you feel comfortable enough then you may already be in the right place.  If you are having lots of doubt about your therapist being the "right" one interview other therapists.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Cristina Treadway
Cristina Treadway
Insight Life Counseling

Your comfort with a therapist is one of the most essential aspects of a quality therapeutic relationship.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the therapist’s approach and background.   Do you feel heard and understood?  Do you find the feedback helpful and directed toward achieving your goals.  Ensuring open communication with your therapist is primary to making sure you have the “right” therapist.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shannon Gonter
Shannon Gonter
Be who you are, not who the world has told you to be.

You should like and trust your counselor. Sounds like a big ole “DUH”. But you will not believe the number of people I have met with that have described their past counselor as “totally opposite than me” or someone who “didn’t get me” or “had totally opposing beliefs as me”. Suggestion to the masses, do your research prior to entering counseling! If you are someone who often cusses and is abrasive, you might not want to pick the counselor who is highly professional and uses sophisticated language throughout their site. Pick someone who is more in line with your personality and wants for your future.

And even if you do your research beforehand and figure out you aren’t vibing after a few sessions, that’s okay! Let your counselor know this, and who knows there might be something that can be done to make you feel more comfortable or maybe there isn’t. But the good thing to note is that there are thousands of human helpers in your city and your counselor would be happy to provide you with a referral to a better fitting therapist.

View full post here: https://www.therapybyshannon.com/blog-2/2019/1/14/7-things-counseling-should-and-shouldnt-be 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Josh Kaplan
Josh Kaplan
OCD, Trauma and Anxiety Specialist

I think it's crucial that a person finds the "right" therapist. Questions, questions, questions! First I would ask them if they have experience and training in whatever the primary issues are that you are wanting to work on. You want to make sure the therapist has the skills and experience to help you. It's okay to ask "have you worked with these issues before?" and "Can you tell me what methods you use to treat these issues?" and "Are the methods you use evidenced-based?" Then I would ask what expectations the therapist is going to have of you the client. Do they expect you to do homework, come with something to talk about each session, or keep a journal? See if their expectations align with what you are looking for. And lastly, I would schedule a session and "try out" the therapist.  See if you feel comfortable and safe.  As for "training" your therapist, I would suggest you be the leader of your therapy, ask for what you want, be direct and do hesitate to tell your therapist if you feel you are not getting what you need. They can't read your mind and would likely find that information very valuable. They want you to feel better and to make progress, and if they are going down the wrong path you should let them know.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Malia Doss
Malia Doss
Counseling for Couples, Individuals, Families

The first thing I would ask yourself is how do you feel when it is time to go to therapy? What do you notice inside your body? Are you sick to your stomach? Neutral? Dreading it? Your body will give you indications as to how safe you feel. Your relationship with your therapist is like any other relationship...you need to feel safe, accepted and understood. You want to see someone who you look forward to sitting across from and feel comfortable talking about whatever is on your heart and mind.  What are you preferences? Do you feel more comfortable with a male or female therapist? Does their age matter? What kind of therapy do you want to do? Do you know? If not, you might want to talk to friends or family who have done therapy and ask them what they liked or didn't like, what worked for them and what the process was like. You can always talk to a prospective therapist about all the questions you have (Have they worked with others with your issues? Have they ever been in therapy? Where did they go to school? What kind of training do they have? Etc.) You may not know in the first session or two if you have the right therapist but pay attention to how you feel while you are there. Your therapist should check in with you and ask how you are feeling. If it's not a good match for you, your therapist should try and help you find someone who will be a good match. Your trust and connection with your therapist is the biggest indicator for success in therapy. Both of you should be concerned about your alliance and any good therapist will want you to find the best therapist for you!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. At the end of each session, you should feel like you have gained some insight regarding the issue you are facing. Also, you should feel comfortable sharing with your therapist. The more comfortable you become, the more trust you have with your therapist.
Christina McGrath Fair
Christina McGrath Fair
"Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean." -Thich Nhat Hanh

You can certainly ask the therapist questions such as their style or issues they have experience working with. You can also determine whether a therapist is the right fit if you feel a connection or alliance and feel that you are working together toward your goals. It is important to be open and honest with your therapist about what you are looking for in counseling. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Delia Berinde
Delia Berinde
Looking Forward Counseling, Denver, Co

Though this varies from person to person, I think finding the right therapist involves finding someone who you're comfortable opening up to and speaking your mind, including your preferred areas of focus for treatment. It's important to be aligned with your therapist's general approach and, to find someone who you feel genuinely attuned to, both in practice and also, with who they are as a person. Bringing up your needs for treatment is key and finding someone who validates your needs, listens and welcomes feedback are all important building blocks for creating space for a great working relationship that promotes personal growth, openness and invites adaptable approaches in session, based on your individual needs.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
David Klein
David Klein
Humanistic, LGBT-Affirmative Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples

How do you know anything is "right" for you? I think it's an intuitive process, and not always based on the objective expertise of the therapist, either (most psychotherapy research has concluded that the client-therapist relationship is the strongest factor in success in therapy.) But, in my view what is important to check-in with yourself around whether or not the therapist can hold space for all that you come in with (for example, not expressing discomfort with things you might talk about is a big "run away"), challenge you enough where you feel like it is challenging you to grow, but also where there is some part of you that does look forward to the sessions.

How to "train" your therapist? This could be a session in and of itself I must say:) The therapist-client relationship can resemble many of the relationships in your life, or those that you seek out. A therapist, like anyone else in your life, won't be able to give you what you need 100% of the time and then expect that you will be able to function outside of the space. That can turn into a highly enabling process that won't help your other relationships. However, what the therapist can do, and help you deal with, is to tell you what they can and can't give you, and then process the disappointment that you feel when they can't be everything you might feel you need.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amy Belval
Amy Belval
ChatterSoupe! Helping Worried Women Unwind

Hello and thanks for your question!

It's important to have the right therapist. I encourage you to start by checking out the website of the therapist. Their blog articles will reflect the kind of work they do and the approach they may take while working with you. If there's an email listed, go ahead and reach out. Ask the particular questions that are on your mind. Share a little of what you are looking for in a therapist. Are you a goal-direct, solution-focused individual who is looking for someone to listen and ask questions? Are you less self-directive and desire a therapist who can give you the consistent push to move forward? Are you interested in intertwining certain theory approaches? Maybe a cognitive-base or experiential? Art therapy or engaging in exercise while talking? Your therapist is out there. It's OK to try out a therapist for a session or two. Interview them as they interview you. It's also OK to change therapists; ask your present therapist for a referral. He or she should be willing to provide you with names of other providers and there's no shame in asking for it. You deserve to work with someone who fits your style!

I imagine there's already enough things happening in your life if you are searching for a therapist. Do you really want to "train" your therapist? After all, you are paying them for their knowledge and expertise. It does take time to develop a relationship and developing one with your therapist is vital to your growth and satisfaction. Participating in therapy, for the most part, should be a time you anticipate and not avoid. Can you be honest with them? Are you trusting of the confidentiality they provide? Has this person clearly shared with you the limits of confidentiality if using insurance versus paying privately? Is there any part of you that "just isn't sure"? It's okay to assert yourself in therapy. As a therapist, I invite you to assert yourself as it's a way to develop self-confidence and resiliency.

Not everyone thrives in therapy by sitting in an office or lounging on a couch. Some folks benefit by challenging themselves in various environments, or are more comfortable in their homes, online, in the community, at a retreat, etc. Give yourself a gift of spending some time finding the person that can work with you towards what you are searching. Although there's the convenience of the local non-profit agency in your area, it may not be what you need. Also, limiting yourself to the names of providers listed on your insurance may not lead to the "right one". There are many forms of therapy that insurances refuse to cover. When this happens, many times you can be reimbursed for your expenses by your insurance or you can use a Health Savings Card or Flexible Spending Card, there are many, many options. Therapy is about exploring yourself. Go ahead and feel free!

If you feel as if you need to "train" your therapist, it seems that person is not the right fit for you. Engaging in treatment should be quite comfortable from the outset of treatment.

Many independent practitioners or small group providers offer a free consultation to start the relationship. Perhaps that's a place for you to begin? Good luck and I wish you well!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Denisha Forch
Denisha Forch
Marriage and Family Therapist in CA

The most important part of therapy is finding a therapist who is the right fit and you feel you can connect to. Feeling comfortable with your therapist and feeling that you can be vulnerable is what will assist in helping you find what you want out of therapy. It also sounds like discussing with a potential therapist your expectations for therapy. Also, I would read up on what the therapy process is like so that you are aware of the role the therapist is supposed to play in your life. As long as a therapist is ethical and not breaking any ethical practices, find someone you connect with and can share with. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Finding the right therapist for you may take time - or you may find one the first try. Two important things to think about when first finding a therapist are “do I feel safe?” and “do I feel heard?” The first time seeing a therapist can be anxiety provoking. It may be uncomfortable. Unless there are giant red flags about a therapist (things beyond meeting someone for the first time and answering uncomfortable but important questions), I always suggest seeing a therapist 3-4 times before making a decision to try another. It may end up that you feel like your therapist isn’t the best fit for you, but again, I encourage you to give them a couple times before moving on. When you get past the initial sessions of paperwork and gathering information, you can gauge the client - therapist relationship better, and when you find the right person to work with, you will know it.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jim  Ciraky PhD., LPC.
Jim Ciraky PhD., LPC.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Quick Way to Assess a Great Therapist

 

A colleague and I were discussing the characteristics of successful therapists. I gave him some traits, some of which were listed by Robinson (2012). The therapist should be able to listen to your story, build rapport, establish a relationship, demonstrate empathy, adapt treatments to the client/situation, use effective communication skills, exhibit confidence in use of therapeutic techniques, and repeatedly update skills with ongoing education and research.

 

You should talk with the therapist. In addition to asking the therapist about his/her experiences and specialty in treating the issue you want to address; you will gain a sense of the therapist’s ability to connect with you in your first phone call or meeting with him/her. This is why I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. You can use the above criteria to gauge the therapist’s ability to do the following: Hear you, join with you in understanding the issue, and indicate some ways in which the issue may be treated.


Regarding training a therapist, just ask the therapist if he or she can comply with what you are looking for, or what has worked with you before if you have had prior counseling. If you just like a therapist to listen, you are looking for a non-directive therapist. If you want one to be more active in guiding you, choose a directive therapist. You can also ask them with which type of client/issue they work best.

 

I specialize treating anxiety and relationships and would like to talk with you if you have questions about how I may be able to help you.

 

Jim Ciraky PhD

Licensed Professional Counselor GA, USA

AdventHelp.com

404.293.5654

 

 

 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Tracey Poirrier
Tracey Poirrier
Polaris Counseling & Consulting Services PLLC

The therapeutic relationship should be collaborative.  The client is the expert on their life, and the therapist is the expert on helping the client to develop their sense of being. Growth occurs as a result of challenges. Therefore, I would suggest not looking to train the therapist, but rather to find one that will help you develop into the you that you desire to be. Finding the right therapist is like finding a pair of black heels. Not just any black heels will do. But when you find them, you just know that your search is over. It is also wise to expect that they won’t always feel comfortable. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Rebecca  Brown, LCSW
Rebecca Brown, LCSW
We all have our own shine. Working together, we will identify what has been dulling your shine, and explore ways to polish it off so that you can strut your stuff!

Finding the right therapist can be difficult, especially if you've never tried it before. Things to consider are location, availability and what specifically are you looking for. Some practitioners specifically only work with a certain type of issue (i.e eating disorders, adolescents, anger management, life transitions, anxiety...etc) and others can work with a variety of concerns. 

As far as training your therapist, you can't. You simply let them know what you are looking to work on or what you think may be an issue for you. Depending on the way they practice(their style of working with clients) is how they will then decide to make a treatment plan that works best for you. 

You can always ask them their specialty practice population, the problems they generally help others with and what type of mental health provider they are (Psychologist, social worker, licensed mental health counselor). 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Francesca Steele MS, LMHC, CHT
Francesca Steele MS, LMHC, CHT
soulspeak wellness florida, inc.

Choosing the right therapist can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. I know many people come to therapy with hesitations and potential fears but a therapist should be there to help you along the way and support you as you build a trusting and collaborative relationship. You won't have to "train" your therapist to give you what you need. Through open dialogue and feedback you and your therapist, together, can determine what works best for you. But do remember that being able to trust your therapist to guide and support you is key. So if you're having a hard time connecting with your therapist after 3-4 sessions, you will want to bring it up to them so you can discuss any barriers and if needed, request a referral for another therapist. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Joshua Weinreb
Joshua Weinreb
Cognitive Behavioral & Mindfulness Based Counselor

Counselors do not expect to gain your trust during the first session. Trust is earned and gained through the therapeutic process. You may know you have the right therapist if you feel a lack of judgement or even unconditional positive regard for the choices you make in therapy. Good counselors will keep you accountable for your actions without making you feel ashamed of the choice you made.

Counselors already have the training to give you what you need in treatment, and if they don't they are ethically obligated to refer you to a provider that does. That being said, the first few visits with your counselor will be goal oriented- creating realistic and obtainable goals that will allow you and your therapist to see positive change when it is made.

Susan Resnik, M.Ed, LMHC
Susan Resnik, M.Ed, LMHC
Oxford Counseling Services

You will know you have the right therapist when you feel at ease and comfortable to share deep feelings.

You do not hold back and feel total acceptance and validation by your therapist. Listen to your feelings and let

them guide your decision.

Your therapist and you will work together to decide what is best for you with regards to the type of treatment, frequency and

duration. It is about collaborating and deciding together on the treatment plan that will help you to achieve your counseling goals.

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Ingrid d
Ingrid d'Aquin
I am offering new possibilities in life. I help people find RELIEF and HOPE..

The most important thing is it has to feel right.  While that sounds vague and not very scientific it is the most important part of therapy.  Us counselors call it therapeutic rapport and without it therapy is not very effective.  You want to know you can trust your therapist, that you are not being judged, that they respect your privacy, that you feel comfortable talking to them about the good and the bad.  You want to feel heard and know you therapist is genuine . Not all therapist are a good fit for everyone.  Go with your gut :) As an added note I recommend going with a therapist who has done their own therapy!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Krista Harper, MA, LMFT
Krista Harper, MA, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Georgia and Hawaii

What an important question! I think one of the first things to assess is this: Do you feel comfortable with your therapist? Do you feel like you can talk openly about what's going on in your life without feeling judged? Do you experience your therapy as a safe space to process your thoughts and feelings? Feeling comfortable with your therapist is a crucial factor. 

Once you feel comfortable with your therapist, you can have a conversation about what works for you in therapy. Tell your therapist what is helpful, and what you don't find helpful. A skilled therapist can shift his or her style and techniques to meet your individual needs, and this may be an ongoing conversation that the two of you have during therapy. 

Oftentimes, there is just an X factor between client and therapist that either makes the relationship work or can make it feel like something is missing. This is no one's fault, it's just that not every therapist will be a perfect match for every client. 

If you feel uncomfortable with your therapist or feel like that x factor is missing, it is a good idea to keep searching for therapist who is right for you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Linda Abdelsayed
Linda Abdelsayed
Change is the only constant in life

This is a great question. Finding the right therapist can be tricky because you don't really know how someone will be like until you meet them. A few ways to prescreen are to:

- Visit the therapist's website, psychologytoday profile, social media, etc...

- Have a phone call with the therapist prior to your first appointment

Once you meet your therapist it is important to be clear with your wishes and expectations. We are trained in helping you thrive in your life but we cannot mind read so if you don't tell us, we won't know. Don't be shy about what you like and what you don't like. A good therapist will listen to your needs, process them with you, and create a customized plan that works for you and your life. A good therapist will also not take anything you say (even criticism) personally. 

Coming to therapy is hard and often times you might not want to go. What makes a good therapist is someone who understands this and tries to make you feel as comfortable as possible while you address uncomfortable topics. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Fenny Goyal
Fenny Goyal
‘Sahara’ means support and that is what I will do to help you meet your potential

I believe that the right counsellor will help you feel empowered, supported and understood. You should feel comfortable opening up and not be concerned that they will judge you for what you say or decide to do. I find this important to let my clients know during intake that they will never be judged for the decisions they decide to take while going over options in sessions together with me. 

In terms of what you need from treatment, please feel comfortable to open up to your therapist and tell them what you need from them. For example, do you prefer them to challenge you with questions, listen to your story and ask questions throughout or near the end, give you work to do outside of sessions? The therapy sessions will work best for you if you can help them support you in what will work for you.

It can sometimes take a few trials of different therapists to find the right one so please do not give up if you feel disheartened! You should feel proud of yourself for taking the first big step in asking for help, that is not easy to do and you are on the right track already!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. Beginning therapy is a positive step in the right direction so good for you! As far as how one would know if they are seeing the “right” therapist, it would depend on several issues. For starters, does the therapist have a strong background in the area you are experiencing struggles. If the person specializes in LGBTQ issues and you are not seeing them for that purpose, then that might be a problem. Secondly, are you being upfront with the therapist about what is truly going on for you? Honesty is what is needed during session. Lastly, therapy can make one feel uncomfortable. That is, there are times you might walk out of the office and feel as though you revealed “too much” or “cried and didn’t want to”. Be open to the idea that to get through a problem, it will feel uncomfortable but let the therapist know. Hope that helps!
Stephanie C
Stephanie C
Stephanie C. Mental Health*Addiction Psychotherapist

 This is a great question. There could be a few ways to “know” that you’ve found a good fit and you and your therapist are therapeutically compatible. First, I would recommend listening to your intuition and pay attention to how you feel, if there are feeling-indicators that you are comfortable, feel safe and willing to open up and share your story.  Second, do you feel the therapist you are considering will support and challenge you in ways you need.  Some therapist offers a free consultation.  This might be a good opportunity to take advantage of.


Stephanie C, MA, LADC, LPCC (pre-licensed) 

www.stephanietherapy.com

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Good question!

The client's job is to concentrate on stating the details of their problem and to thoughtfully engage in a dialogue about these areas with the therapist.

The most difficult job for a client is willingness to self-examine, hold oneself accountable for relationship and life situations, and honestly feel the difficult, often painful feelings and insecurities which troubling situations create.

The client doesn't train the therapist.

If you feel you are with a therapist who requires you to train them, then politely decline continuing to pay for their services.

Then find yourself a different therapist who feels secure and knowledgeable enough in their skills to not require training by their client.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Laura  Rodriguez
Laura Rodriguez
Online Counselor

Thinking whether or not you have the right therapist can be overwhelming if you are not sure what you want or need. But think of this, you feel safe and comfortable that you share what you’ve never told anybody. You feel understood and listened to. You feel their support.  You trust them. Do you believe they can help you? If you do not, then that might make it hard for you to want to open up.

As far as how would you how to train your therapist to help you. If you know what you need all you have to do is share this with your therapist.  If you don’t know then therapy is a collaborative process so both you and your therapist will work together to figure out your needs and how to best meet them. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dawn M. Reilly, Psy.D.
Dawn M. Reilly, Psy.D.
It's never too late

The "right" therapist is a combination of expertise in the areas where you require, and fit as far as how comfortable you feel in speaking and sharing with that person.  People generally are quite good at determining whether or not someone fits well with their personality and style; and another key to know whether therapy is working is to ask yourself:  "Do I see that changes have come about since working with this therapist?"  Do I feel better? Am I reaching goals that I set at the onset of therapy?  Are difficult situations becoming easier by how I handle them? Training a therapist really isn't necessary, as all it requires is open and honest communication in order to give effective feedback that will in turn be helpful to you and your goals.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Michael Greene
Michael Greene
Therapy That Focuses on Root Causes

You have the right therapist if you feel safe with that person. Safety consists of feeling that who you are and what you say is valued. The right therapist is not an 'all knowing person you must obey'. He or she is a person with skilled knowledge who respects you as a partner in your self discovery. The right therapist is also one who is kind

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Janna Kinner
Janna Kinner
Flourish Christian Counseling

This is a really important question, because you don't want to waste your time and money with a therapist who is not a good fit for you.  I think the most important factor that makes a good therapist match is trust-- do you trust this person to be able to help you meet your therapy goals?  There are few things you can do upfront to test this out, without spending a dime.  First, ask for personal recommendations from friends or others.  If you know someone who had a great experience with a certain therapist, you'll feel more confident in that person right off the bat.  Second, do your online research.  Google the person's name and read everything you can find.  Many therapists are starting to develop more of an online presence because they know that's a way future clients can develop trust without even stepping in their door.  See if they have a blog, social media posts, or even just read the tone of the content on their website.  This might give you a glimpse of their therapy style.  Finally, you can call or email potential therapists and provide a brief overview of your presenting problem and describe what you're looking for in your ideal therapist.  It sounds like you have a specific idea of what you're looking for... most therapists will be honest if they don't feel they're going to meet your expectations.  Some therapists offer free short phone consultations which can help you both decide if you would work well together.  Do your homework upfront, and you'll be well on your way to finding a great therapist for you!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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