Each week, Your Therapist Friend answers the internet’s questions about mental health, relationships and how to get the most out of going to therapy.
Research shows that the client-therapist relationship is the biggest predictor on whether or not therapy will be successful. But if we’re new to therapy … how are we supposed to know if THIS relationship is the right one? That’s a lot of pressure! How do you know if your therapist is a good fit?
Before going to grad school to become a therapist, I had been in my own therapy on and off for throughout my 20s. And during that time I’ve had 7 different therapists … so as you can imagine, not all of them were the best fit for me.
Some of the those early relationships ended due to no fault of my own or the therapist’s—a college counseling center, a community clinic with limited sessions, moving cities—but there were definitely a couple that were not a good use of my time or much help.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to know if your therapist is a good fit and whether or not you should seek someone new.
Question 1: How do they make you feel?
It’s important to have a therapist with whom you feel comfortable being as honest as possible about everything on your mind … even the things you are afraid or ashamed of.
Without a doubt, it takes time to warm up to someone and build a relationship where you feel comfortable confiding in them. But check in with your body. It’s okay to be a little nervous, especially in the beginning, but does your gut tell you that this is someone you can open up to? Do you feel comfortable in their presence?
Even if you don’t have a concrete reason why, it’s totally okay to change therapists because your spidey-senses tell you that you can’t quite trust them. It could be that they remind you of someone in the past who hurt you, or maybe there’s something they are doing that is causing you to feel unsafe.
Even though your therapist is the expert on mental health and behavior change, at the end of the day, you are the expert of you. So when in doubt, check in with your gut. You should be with a therapist you feel you can trust.