Pick me, pick me!!
So you’ve made the courageous decision to go to therapy and now you’re online looking at the first few websites that popped up on your google search. Perhaps it’s kind of fun looking through all of the profile pictures and judging us by these photographs, which if you’re like me took a million headshots before you found that one that said “Pick me, pick me! Look at this caring, friendly and professional face.” While our profile picture or website may be the first impression that you have of us, learning about our experience, approach to therapy and specializations may further encourage you to make that long needed appointment.
Connection, connection, connection!!!
Sure, our education, experience, and of course profile pictures, are important, but nothing is as important as the connection you feel with your therapist. Research in this area has consistently found that the quality of relationship between the client and therapist is a strong predictor of how effective therapy will be. This highlights the importance of choosing a therapist who is a good fit. Perhaps your first indication regarding compatibility with your therapist comes during your initial interactions. This is when you’ll get a feel for the personality and therapy style of the therapist that you’ve chosen. It’ll take time to develop trust, safety and comfort; however the therapeutic alliance that you develop will allow you to benefit from your future meetings together.
As you progress through the course of therapy you may experience moments of vulnerability and find yourself disclosing personal information that is difficult to admit to yourself, let alone to another person. This is when an authentic connection and strong therapeutic alliance with your therapist will help you process your experience in a meaningful manner. While the client-therapist relationship is unique in its conception, due to the exchange of monies and services provided, it is an authentic and meaningful relationship that itself allows for growth and change. The patient-therapist relationship is generally representative of the nature of all other relationships the client may have and provides the opportunity to explore expectations, feelings, patterns in relationships, and practice resolution of conflict while maintaining connection.
Don’t judge our whole profession on one bad experience!
I hope that by now I’ve made it quite clear how important the client-therapist relationship is, so the best advice I can give you is that if you don’t feel a connection with your therapist after a few sessions, move on! Don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings, I’ll get over it! You may find your “right fit” right away or, unfortunately, need to try a couple different therapists before finding a match. I encourage you to be persistent and not give up. It’s incredibly disappointing to me to hear that some people have a bad experience with therapy and judge our whole profession on that experience. Of course, if you keep searching without finding a good fit, then there may be an underlying reason that may suggest resistance. I know that finding the right therapist can be time consuming and frustrating, but by taking the time to find the right fit early in the process your therapy experience can truly be life changing. Good luck!!!