I recently read a blog written by a fellow counselor called “Dating your Therapist”. This title caught my attention and I was intrigued about what it meant as the boundaries between client and therapist are strictly professional and should never be blurred or broken. The blog went on to suggest that looking for a therapist that is a good fit is appropriate and good. As I read the blog, I realized I agree with the sentiment. Sometimes, to get the best possible outcome it may mean trying several therapists. Therapists each have their own philosophy of counseling, temperament, experiences, and training. My goal is to do my best to connect with each client and help them achieve their goals. Sometimes this may mean helping a client or potential client find a counselor who can meet their needs more effectively than I can. This is difficult to explain, I can only describe it as a feeling of connection and rapport. I went to a counselor many years ago. After three sessions, I didn’t feel any connection or that he “got” me. Thankfully, this led me to search for a better fit...which I found. Switching to a therapist that saw my needs really impacted the trajectory of my life.
Finding the right therapist may mean a little extra leg work on your part. Ask friends for recommendations, look at the therapist's website to get a sense of who they are and their style of counseling. Things to consider when looking for a good fit are: What gender therapist do I prefer? Do I want them to have experience or training in a specific area? Do they accept my insurance? What type of personality would be best?
I also recommend seeing if you can talk with a potential therapist on the phone for 5-10 minutes before you schedule. This can often be a clarifying conversation. Initial phone conversations can often feel awkward and uncomfortable so don’t necessarily write off a therapist after a five minute phone call. I personally wanted someone who offered a warm demeanor and felt safe. Another way to clarify is to ask yourself “what type of personality and environment do I need to feel heard and make the changes I want to make? Taking the extra steps asking for help are worth it. For me, it was a key to helping me become unstuck and changing my life.
Sara Hoekstra | Ma, LLPC