If you are considering therapy for yourself or for your relationship, one of your first priorities might be to find a therapist who ‘suits you’. You might have even gone as far as to imagine what your therapist looks like, sounds like, and how they behave and make you feel.
Some people might envision their therapist as a nurturer – even a parental figure. Others imagine a more domineering Freudian character – challenging your status quo and revealing powerful things to you about yourself. Some might imagine a friend and ally, there to act as a sounding board.
Your expectations of therapy can have a huge influence over how you relate to your therapist, So, which one am I? What can you really expect from me as a therapist and what happens if it’s not quite what you imagined?
I’m here to explain to you what to look for (and how to respond) if you are wondering whether I am a good fit.
Therapy is many things
Dozens of highly reputable therapy models exist, from Freud’s psychoanalysis to Dr. Aaron Beck’s cognitive behavioural therapy and a multitude of approaches in between. There is no obligation for a therapist to stick to just one model, and most (including myself) will integrate a number of theories and practises to achieve positive therapy outcomes. For this reason, no two therapists are the same. It’s important to remember this when deciding if we are the right fit for one another. If you have had therapy before with someone else and it is nothing like the therapy you now have with me, it’s important to talk about this, as there’s every chance different methods are being utilised.
Therapy is what happens in the room
If we have already begun therapy and you are considering whether or not I am the right fit for you, it’s crucial to consider what’s happening in the room and why. What happens in the therapy room – the ‘therapeutic relationship’ between you and me, can tell us so much about what’s happening in your broader life. This is, in part, called ‘transference’ and ‘counter transference’, which refers to a redirection of unconscious feelings from their original object to a new object (in this case, the new object is your therapist).
Remember, many people feel a mixture of interchangeable feelings about their therapist and these feelings can be clues into your true inner self – let’s discuss and explore them!
The importance of ‘Challenge’
In my experience, some clients can decide I am not the right fit as soon as they experience challenge in a therapeutic context. This often happens in couples therapy, when one partner is not getting the outcome they personally wanted, or is having their own behaviour challenged and explored. What’s important to remember is that challenge within the therapy context is extremely helpful and will help lead you to a more authentic and helpful outcome. If you are uncomfortable about a challenge, it’s important that we discuss that.
Flexible therapy approaches
When we begin working together, you might feel uncomfortable about some of the more practical areas of our therapy. This might include the location of therapy, the way we sit, the frequency of therapy or how we communicate. If this is the case, adjustments could be made to ensure you feel more comfortable. For example, if you do not like the rigidity of weekly therapy in a defined location, you can subscribe to therapy on subscription, which allows you more flexibility in when and how we communicate. Talk to me about any discomfort arising from how we conduct sessions.
Red flags to never ignore
If you have not yet started therapy but are considering doing so, there are some more fundamental aspects to consider to ensure your chosen therapist is the right fit. These include:
- Qualifications – ensure that your therapist has all the credentials to conduct psychotherapy. Remember, some other professions can sometimes disguise themselves as psychotherapy (such as life coaching, CBT or hypnosis). These professionals are not trained psychotherapists. If your therapist is unable to produce their credentials – you would be wiser not to hire them.
- Violations – if you have become aware of a therapist violating their code of ethics, (for example, they breach confidentiality, do not store data properly, or practise inappropriate boundaries with their clients), then they are best avoided.
- False promises – A credible therapist will never promise that you’ll achieve specific things – such as getting that new job you want, or getting a husband. It would be unethical and dishonest for a therapist to imply they can magically fix you. A reputable therapist will, instead, offer to support you in your own growth, so that you can achieve your goals yourself.
Getting the support you need
We can also go for a walk.
Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.
Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.