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How to Find a Great Therapist Match


Even when you think you might be ready to start or return to therapy, you may wonder about finding a therapist who’s a good match. In these days of tele-therapy, it can be both easier and harder to find someone. The field is wider, providing greater selection, but that also may make it more difficult to narrow down your choice.

It may surprise you to learn that I started therapy (by choice) when I was 14 years old. I’ve had some half dozen therapists over the decades—fair and great ones—and learned something from them all. If you’re in the market for one or are evaluating your current therapist, here's some excellent advice about how to make this important choice from “Not making progress in therapy? Make sure you and your therapist are a good fit.” 

The author encourages you to do the following:

  1. Don’t expect your therapist to fix you. Make sure you practice what your therapist suggests and take your skills out on the road. Remember that a session is a small fraction of your week and that it can’t do the changing for you but can spur it on. Between sessions, consider what you and your therapist discussed. Better yet, take notes and reread them often to remind you of what you talked about in session.
  2. Be upfront about abuse or trauma. Although you may be ashamed of things that happened to you, remember that seasoned therapists (I wouldn’t go to any other kind) have heard scores of stories about abuse and neglect in the course of their careers. They won’t be shocked, nor will they judge you for whatever you say. If you don’t trust the therapist right off the bat, say that you have some issues to talk about, but it may take time to disclose them.
  3. Prepare to be uncomfortable. Because awareness and discomfort lead to change, you may feel things in therapy you haven’t felt or felt strongly before. Your therapist’s job is to validate your feelings, but always to keep you stretching you a bit. “If your knee-jerk reaction to any challenge by the therapist is to deflect, crack jokes or get angry,” they may be hitting a nerve, which is definitely something to discuss. It’s more than okay to disagree with your therapist as long as you know you’re not being defensive and that they’re there to help you.

Therapy has been called the art of reparenting and it’s true that it’s not just the issues you talk about that make a difference, but your relationship with your therapist. You should feel as if you’re in a positive—what’s called a “holding”—environment and should be able to comfortably engage in rupture and repair. If you’re not making progress, don’t be afraid to say so or say goodbye and find a better match.





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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.