7 Tips for Finding a Counsellor or Therapist

1. If you don’t like your therapist, then find another one.

Don’t be shy. No therapist can be all things to all people. Trust your gut. If you get a bad feeling or vibe from your therapist, don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Just go see someone else. Just slip out the back Jack, make a new plan Stan, no need to be coy Roy, just get yourself free!

2. If you think that your therapist doesn’t like you, understand you, or appreciate your point of view, then find another therapist.

It is essential that you believe that your therapist is on your side and that you don’t have to worry about his or her evaluation of you. If you are worried about it, then this likely is not the therapist for you. Discuss this problem with your therapist and carefully attend to his or her reaction. If he or she doesn’t change, hit the road Jack! This is the first of three key elements of successful therapy, the working alliance – the relationship you have with your therapist. Problems with this relationship usually result in no change.

3. If you don’t agree with the goals of the therapist, or do not think they are your goals, then find another therapist.

If your therapist is telling you that you can’t get there from here, then you probably won’t. Stick to your guns about your goals. Recall that your goals represent all your motivations and desires and will encourage you to work hard. Agreement on goals is the second aspect of a strong working alliance, so if your therapist does not accept your preferred port of destination, abandon ship.

4. If you do not agree with the opinions or suggestions of your therapist, or if you are asking for something and not getting it, and your feedback does not alter his or her approach, then find another therapist.

If you want to give the therapist’s approach a shot, then do it. But if you don’t, tell your therapist that you disagree with the approach and give him/her a chance to adjust to your feedback. But leave if he or she persists in an approach that does not seem relevant or does not fit for you. Agreement about the approach represents the third piece of the working alliance. Get off at the next stop before this train derails.

5. If you think your therapist sees your problem or situation as hopeless or unchangeable, or that it will require years to change, then find another therapist.

Nothing is permanent, especially problems, and besides who needs a pessimistic therapist? Hope is critical to the change process. Without it, this plane is going down; parachute out before it crashes.

6. If you don’t get something positive going within three to six sessions, talk to your therapist. If no progress persists, then find another therapist.

Recall that change, if it is going to happen, usually happens relatively quickly. This doesn’t mean that you will be “cured” of all difficulties in 6 sessions, it only means that you will begin to notice some inroad to your concerns, and you will know that you are on the right track. Remember George Washington. Ironically, old George requested that blood letting be done on him a third time, even when it wasn’t working. Don’t make the same mistake when you have evidence (on the ORS feedback sheet that you fill in for the therapist) that you are not making any progress. Just hop on the bus, Gus.

7. If the therapist (or your doctor) recommends psychiatric medication and you have not asked for it, or have any doubt whatsoever, find another therapist (or doctor).

If anyone tells you that you have a chemical imbalance, discuss what that really means. If you believe that medication is the right choice for you, then do it. Please keep in mind, that just like blood letting in George Washington’s era, treatments today are just prevailing wisdoms of this day and time. They are driven by market pressures and economics. Drug companies spend far more money on advertising than on research and development, about $10,000 per physician per year. It is hard for any doctor to resist such a barrage of marketing-they just don’t have the time to research drug company claims about their products. Drugs are the prevailing wisdom of the day. If that fits for you, like it does for many, then go for it; if it doesn’t, please feel free to just say “no” to drugs. You don’t need to discuss much, just drop off keys Lee and get yourself free.

by Barry Duncab PhD Adapted and republished with permission www.heartandsoulofchange.com