Searching for a right therapist is like searching for the right pair of jeans. It can get frustrating and tiring, but when you finally do, the discovery is more than worth it. It doesn’t matter what modality your therapist uses, be it counseling, psychotherapy, expressive therapy, hypnotherapy or assessments, you need to find someone whom you can trust, someone with whom you are comfortable enough to share your feelings and deepest thoughts.
It is important to build a strong therapeutic relationship with your therapist. Sometimes, the bond is the most important factor. Here are some sample questions you can ask yourself before actually engaging fully in a therapist:
• Does the therapist really understand you?
• Does the therapist really care about you and your problems?
• Does the therapist accept you unconditionally?
• Does the therapist listen to you and give you full attention?
• Is the therapist judging or biased?
• Do you feel comfortable and safe with this therapist?
• Can you be honest with the therapist and not hide any information from him/her?
People skills are definitely a must in psychology and mental health. However you also need to check the background of the therapist before you start sharing your secrets with him/ her. Below are some vital points you need to be aware about:
• Experience: Paper qualifications are important, so are years of experience and practical work. Search for a therapist who has experience working with clients who has the same issues as yours. Eg: a therapist who specializes in phobias will have loads of other case studies and can definitely assist you better.
• Be aware of treatment plans: Ask your therapist what he/ she is planning to do with you. You are entitled to know the treatment styles. Most therapists use a variety of treatment options which could also lengthen the whole procedure.
• License & Qualifications: Make sure you go to a reputable and licensed practitioner. It would be good if you could check for word- of- mouth referrals. Unfortunately in most Asian countries, regulations aren’t too strict about practicing rights, therefore, do your homework to avoid visiting a ‘quack’.
• Trust your instincts: Go with your gut feel. At the end of the day, you have to feel comfortable with that therapist. If you feel that the therapist doesn’t really care about you or is all about $$, allow yourself to evaluate the situation and do the right thing. No one should ever force you to do something you do not want.