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Any tips on choosing the right psychotherapist?

(4 Posts)
workingtitle Mon 17-Nov-14 13:55:34

I have a 'shortlist' of three therapists who look like they might be able to help me, but I'm filled with anxiety at the thought of actually approaching anyone and starting the process. I've been looking at their online profiles for months now, but not actually emailed or called.

Do you approach more than one person? If so do you let them know that you're speaking to other people? How do you assess their ability to help you?


InVinoHumiliatas Tue 18-Nov-14 14:35:18

I would call all three and ask a few initial questions - some will offer a free mini phone consultation, etc, but you should be able to ask and have answered a reasonable amount of questions whether they do this or not.

Have you researched the modalities they use? While I am a firm believer in it being the relationship that heals rather than the modality per se - it is good to know about what their background and education is. For example, CBT and me are not a good match, so I would not choose a CBT therapist.

Ask about boundaries. I would not see a therapist who has a blanket ban on all outside contact. I find it immensely valuable to have in between session contact. Check whether there is a fee for emails/ texts.

I'd also ask about scheduling - if you need an extra session, if it is likely that h/she will be able to accommodate you, or not.

Another thing to consider might be whether they take a more traditional 'blank slate' approach, or whether they (appropriately) self-disclose at times. Again, I would find it useless to attempt working with a therapist who tells me absolutely zero about their own life challenges. I would imagine that they had a perfect life, dealt with all problems effortlessly, and couldn't relate to my wild scrambling over life's obstacles grin So I work with somebody who shares some of her own pain and triumphs, and that helps to strengthen my resolve and make me optimistic. It works for us. I'm sure my therapist has other clients who don't want to know her stuff and so she does not share it with them, but if you get a therapist who has a flat policy of no self-disclosure then that doesn't allow for the likes of me who really benefit from it, if you see what I mean.

mypip Fri 21-Nov-14 20:46:16

dear working title, if you give one a try, you may find yourself explaining your problem, while the therapist listens, then feel he or she understands you but who then goes onto treat you according to their own modes (as the reply above notes). you may be upfront about the problems but the therapist may not disclose exactly what he or she will do with you or the nature or quality of the treatment he or she is minded to pursue. this is how it has happened to me. sorry to be negative, but I hope you get the best help you deserve.

fivecupsoftea Wed 26-Nov-14 16:35:41

I started seeing a therapist a few months ago. I saw two therapists for an initial visit. I was really nervous of doing it, I could have easily cancelled the first appointment, but I did go through with it. I didn't like the first one, the second seemed ok, so I stuck with her. I didn't think she seemed particularly great at first, I found it really hard to talk to her (which was down to me not her, I think I would have found it hard to talk to anyone), but now I think she is great and really skilled. I don't think you can really tell till you get started.

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