Nearly half of Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. Finding a good therapist can be a lifeline in times of need and may be one of the most important personal decisions you will ever make.
Mental health services in particular Psychotherapy It is not a “one size fits all” service. So How can you be sure you’ve found a good therapist?
Well, there are some signs that can tell you if the therapist you’re seeing is right for you. Read on to see if you have the right professional in your corner.
Here are 10 signs to determine if a therapist is right for you
1. Do you feel like listening?
Do you feel that the therapist is focusing intently and listening to what you have to say? Do they think about what you’re saying and process it in a way that makes you feel understood?
This is perhaps the most important component of finding a therapist who truly listens to you and your needs. If you don’t feel heard and seen, you will be less likely to open up and deal with difficult feelings.
Related: 10 Reasons Why People Refuse to Talk to Healers
2. Do you feel safe?
During the first three sessions, did you notice your body reacting in any way? Have you ever felt uncomfortable? Worried about meeting them again after three sessions?
In all fairness, some patients experience PTSD which can make you feel insecure about your therapist and other people in general. Don’t use this as a yardstick for whether you should move on. Instead, look for any signs that you feel safe before making a decision.
3. Do you feel that they really care about you?
This is fundamentally more important than you can imagine. A good therapist really communicates with his clients. Therapy is a relationship and a good therapist will make you feel important, and you matter. If you have a therapist who can’t do that, I would suggest that he might not be the right person to work with.
4. Do they answer your questions?
It’s not reasonable to assume that a therapist can answer every question you might have, but he should be able to answer most of them. If for the most part you feel that your questions have been answered to a satisfactory level, even if you do not agree with their answers, it is a safe bet that you can continue to work with them.
5. Do you become unnecessarily defensive?
This is a huge red flag. Defensiveness in a therapist may indicate hidden narcissism. However, it could also mean that they are new, inexperienced, dealing with insecurities, or have other problems. Keep in mind, not everything is satisfactory.
If the therapist becomes unnecessarily defensive or appears angry, this may be a good indication that you should continue your search.
Related: Top 4 Things I Learned From My Therapists
6. Ask them to do something for you and see how they respond.
If you say to your therapist, “I really want you to listen to what I have to say and help me understand why so many people treat me like I’m invisible,” they should respond with compassion, but pay attention to their response. You should also feel confident and fearless when asking them a question.
If they pull up, what we call the Carl Rogers response (the father of client-centered psychotherapy), and they say “Well, how do you feel about that, what do you think?” This is the standard response. However, it can make you feel worse. So, make sure to ask lots of questions and listen to how she responds, and feel your reaction to them.