Talk therapy can have far reaching benefits for your mental and physical health, but it is only effective if there is a solid foundation with a positive relationship between you and your therapist. One thing that many patients will forget is that therapists are people, and not all people will click for one reason or another. So, you may find that your therapist isn’t necessarily a great fit for you, even if they’re qualified on paper. If one therapist is not a good fit, there are many more out there who might be. But, before you start scheduling appointments, take the time to think about whether your current therapist is really working for you.
You have a professional relationship.
You will share some of the most intimate details of your life with your therapist, so it’s important to feel comfortable. However, there is such a thing as feeling too comfortable and feeling like you are developing a friendship with your therapist. While your therapist may be friendly and kind, he or she should maintain a professional distance and establish clear guidelines for what is and is not appropriate in terms of contact outside therapy sessions. In addition, therapy should not feel like a two-way street. Your relationship with your therapist should be one-sided.
Your therapist has expertise in the areas you’re struggling with.
Just like other medical specialists, not all therapists treat every psychological condition. So, if you are struggling with depression, make sure that your therapist has expertise in treating depression and related disorders.
Your therapist utilizes evidence-based methods.
Along with finding someone who can treat your specific concerns, you should find a therapist who employs methods that you are comfortable using. These should also be evidence-based strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Don’t hesitate to ask for the logic behind an exercise your therapist wants to try and ask for alternative strategies if something does not feel effective.
You can see your therapist on your schedule.
Even with the most compassionate, caring therapist, you may struggle to feel any better if you aren’t able to make appointments when you need them. Be sure that you’ll be able to set appointments on a schedule that works for you and find a therapist who is open to emergency or short-notice sessions, should the need arise.
You can be honest with your therapist.
As we discussed earlier, talking to your therapist is not like talking to a friend or family member. And part of that means that you should feel like you can tell your therapist anything, even things you would keep from your loved ones. If you feel like you can’t be honest in your sessions, it is going to be difficult if not impossible to truly grow and heal from them. Therefore, you might seek a different therapist if you aren’t open and honest with your current one.
You feel good after your sessions.
Finally, it’s important to reflect and think about how you feel after you see your therapist. While you may discuss some challenging subject matter in your sessions, you should leave with a plan of action and some clear goals—possibly even a more positive outlook. If this isn’t the case, then it’s time to reevaluate.
With MeMD’s behavioral health services, it’s easier than ever to access a therapist who can address your unique needs and provide the appropriate tools and resources in your sessions. It just takes a few minutes to get started, and you can connect by web, phone, or app.