3 Signs That You’ve Found The Right Therapist
So you found a therapist – congratulations!
It’s refreshing to see more and more people reaching out to a mental health professional, whether it’s to help them cope with something particularly difficult, or to learn better ways of managing stress, anxiety and depression (among other things). Like your physical health, your mental health deserves professional help when it’s performing less than optimally.
Mental health professionals, whether counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists, thankfully do not administer a one-size-fits-all approach. After all, people are diverse and their issues and concerns are similarly varied. Each person, therefore, would be best served by finding the right therapist who can offer them the best treatment option(s) and that process might require a little trial and error to establish.
Here’s how you can tell you’ve found the right fit.
1. Your Therapists Listen More Than They Talk.
No matter how well trained they may be, no mental health professional can provide an adequate level of support without fully understanding the issues. That’s why it’s imperative that the person you speak to is an excellent listener.
You might be eager to get a professional diagnosis for some peace of mind, but a great therapist will take their time getting to know you and your concerns. You can also expect structured assessments as well before any therapist gives you a label.
Here’s why. Labels are only important in that they allow your mental health support team to offer you the most effective treatment/support plan. So if you ever find yourself eager to get a diagnosis, know that your mental health professional is not in that same hurry. The right therapist is far more concerned with identifying your issues to ensure you have the best possible support options, labels be damned!
2. Your Therapist Uses Evidence Based Therapies
Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT), more broadly referred to as evidence-based practice (EBP), is any therapy that has shown to be effective in peer-reviewed scientific experiments.
According to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, evidence-based practice is characterized by an “[a]dherence to psychological approaches and techniques that are based on scientific evidence”.
The push towards EBT in psychology aims to track the efficacy of treatment plans, with the goal of providing clients with treatments that have solid evidence backing their effectiveness, ie. “does it work?” and “how well does it work”?
Here are some evidence-based therapies your therapist might employ:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Exposure Therapy (ET)
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
Not sure which EBT your therapist is using? - Ask!
You have a right to know about your treatment plan and you’re encouraged to read more about it to get a better understanding of your own sessions. That said, a good therapist will not rush your treatment, but if something is truly not working, they (like you) should stay open to alternative forms of support.
3. Your Therapist Challenges You.
You might have already heard, therapy can be tough. When you’re trying to unpack trauma, challenge triggers, learn better coping mechanisms and promote your own personal growth, you have to put in work. That sometimes means doing some difficult reflections with your therapist serving as a guide.
Your therapist will inevitably want what’s best for you, but that does not mean they won’t challenge you. If your therapist can pose deep questions or offer de-escalation exercises to help your mental state, without making you feel guilty, embarrassed or hurt, you’ve found a keeper!
BONUS: Your therapist is available.
While most one-on-one therapy sessions are scheduled time slots, needing (and getting) support doesn’t always conform to those structured opportunities.
If your mental health professional is available to you without needing an appointment, or better yet, if they proactively check-in on you, you’re in luck. Shorter, periodic check-ins have proven more effective than rare drawn-out sessions, so if your therapist is available through, say, in-app chat, take the time to do a status check, even if everything is fine.
So what should you do if you haven’t quite found “the one” (therapist that is)?
Simple! Keep looking.
Believe it or not, there’s a therapist out there for everyone and if you don’t think you and your current therapist are the perfect match, that’s OK. It’s very common to speak to multiple practitioners before finding someone who’s just right. You owe it to yourself to find someone who can support you, validate you, and improve your condition.
Ready to speak to someone? Naluri's team of mental health professionals are available for one-on-one consultations. Book yourself in today!
- Written by:
- Naluri Team
- 4 April 2022