When people are considering engaging a therapist for mental health management issues, they often do so quite intuitively. At a conscious, intellectual level however – what might this look like?
For some when researching – it’s easy. They know, or become aware of someone they trust who has enjoyed success working with a therapist – and they provide a word-of-mouth referral to the seeker.
For the rest of us, we might choose to consider the following points – from a less than exhaustive list:
- price and affordability
- location and premises
- website and content
- a ‘feel’ for the service offered – and the person to work with
- trust and ability – to create a working relationship
Once a Collaboration Begins
Does this relationship contain…
- a therapist who allows the individual to be truly heard and acknowledged?
- a therapist/supporter who has an unconditional positive regard for their client?
- empathy – does the therapist show you they get what your experiencing?
- patience? Issues brought into the therapy room have often been adopted over a lifetime!
- a feeling for the client for their individual needs, emotions, cognitions and behaviours; (and that these are outside of any judgemental attitude)?
- consistent service; the therapist is ‘congruent’?
- encouragement; the client feels unique and is encouraged to grow?
- appropriate communications adapted to the preferences of the client?
There are many, many more points worthy of mention, the list above provides just a notion. Ultimately, it is about obtaining a ‘feel’, and maintaining a watchful eye over meetings; challenging the therapist with concerns or questions, if you are unsure. A good therapist will welcome the opportunity to try and address barriers to your success – and will ultimately help you find another provider, if necessary.
It is also critical that from the outset – and at subsequent meetings, expectations are expressed, understood and agreed. If the therapist is unable to achieve overall value, he/she needs to explain this, and offer any possible solutions. At times this can bring great relief to clients, giving them permission to clear the air around what may – or may not be working for them. It could be anything from the colour of the paint on the walls – to communication styles!
Worse before better!
A classic reason for early exit before success from a therapeutic relationship is where the communications failed to cover the possibilities of how some clients will feel during the process.
For many, they feel ‘lighter’ and more free after just one of two meetings. For others, after two or three – or more sessions, they may feel temporarily worse as much held back emotions are released; this is where the therapeutic alliance comes into it’s own. The therapist can ‘take your hand’ and guide you through to acknowledgement, acceptance – to finally letting go of that which has been holding you back.
If you were considering finding a therapist, what else might you look for?
What might you disagree with in this post?
Was it helpful?