How Do You Know if a Therapist Is Right for You?
A female psychologists taking her notes during a mental therapy meeting with a teenager in a stylish office
Not Every Therapist Is the Right Fit
According to the American Psychological Association, 20% of clients end therapy prematurely. Some studies
report up to 57% dropout rates after the first session. A client may discontinue therapy for a variety of reasons, including the inability to afford therapy.
However, a person who drops out of therapy after just one session is likely experiencing a disparity in expectations and reality. The client may not want to change, can’t face their problems and emotions, or any range of reasons; however, one reason people drop out of therapy is very simple: the therapist isn’t the right fit.
How to Shop Around
Finding a therapist that works for you may not be easy; it may require multiple sessions with the same therapist to determine if the fit is right, or it may take seeing several therapists until you find someone that works for you. When looking for that right fit, however, consider what qualifies a therapist to be right for you. When looking for a therapist with the right qualities, you might want to consider these things:
- Is the gender of the clinician important?
For some the gender or sex of a clinician may not matter; however, many clients feel more comfortable disclosing certain topics with someone of the same gender. However, a client may seek the opposite gender if they are working on overcoming specific difficulties with this gender. Regardless of the reason, gender and sex may play a role in your selection of a therapist,
- What therapy style is best for you?
Consider your learning style. Do you have lightbulb moments when you talk aloud? Do you make the most progress when practicing a subject with homework.? How you answer these questions may help you choose a therapist based on their specialties. Some therapists are excellent listeners who will help you come to your revelations through pointed questions. Some therapists will help you make concrete progress in problem areas with homework assignments. Research on the types of therapy a clinician offers before signing up for a session with them.
- What are your treatment goals?
Similar to considering the type of therapy offered, it’s also important to consider what you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re looking for help with body dysmorphia, find a therapist who specializes in that area. If you’re seeking help to overcome social anxiety, be sure your prospective therapist is trained for anxiety disorders.
- How do you feel when you’re with your therapist?
Ideally, you should feel unjudged and listened to. Some therapists are more outwardly compassionate, some don’t portray emotions at all. Depending on what you need, a therapist’s demeanor and attitude may resonate more with you and your needs. If something feels off, it could benefit you to have additional sessions to know if your nervousness or theirs was affecting your initial perception. It’s also wholly within your rights to move on to another provider and see how you click.
What Constructive Therapy Looks Like
The person in the chair is a major consideration for therapy outcomes, but there are some things involved in the therapeutic process that is almost always required for a person to receive the benefits of therapy. In your sessions, ask yourself if these needs are being met:
- Have you set treatment goals with your therapist?
- Do you feel better after sessions?
- Do you feel motivated to continue going to therapy, even on hard days?
- Is your therapist asking for regular updates on treatment goals?
- Is your therapist modifying treatment to meet your changing needs?
- Is your therapist transparent with you about how they’d like to adjust your treatment?
The primary consideration for effective therapy is symptom alleviation. When you go to therapy, you should feel better in the short and long term. This may be difficult to quantify; keeping a journal of your symptoms and struggles may help keep track of your progress.
Communicate Your Expectations
Your therapist and their skills are of significant importance, but even more important is your level of commitment, your honesty, and your communication with your therapist. If you feel like something isn’t working, rather than switching therapists, try telling your therapist what you’re not liking about the sessions to find out if a resolution can be made. Communicate what does and doesn’t work, and make sure you’re honest. If you aren’t committed and don’t give your therapist an accurate reading of your progress, it is unlikely that any therapist will be able to get you to your treatment goals.
A therapist is an important tool in reducing symptoms and making progress toward better mental health, but your involvement and communication with your therapist are even more important. If something about therapy isn’t right for you, be sure to communicate this with your therapist. Don’t be afraid to transition into someone else’s care who is a better fit for your needs. At Casa Recovery, we want to help you find the kind of treatment that will be most impactful to you. With over fifteen different therapy modalities, a highly qualified team of mental health professionals, and daily meetings to assess your progress, we are committed to finding a treatment that will work for you. At Casa Recovery you are in charge of your mental health goals, and we want to facilitate your progress toward achieving them. Our individualized approach will put you in charge of your mental health journey. To discuss our treatment options, call Casa Recovery at (888) 928-2272.