The single most important factor in selecting the right therapist


The single most important factor in selecting the right therapist
Things to consider when choosing a therapist

Struggling in your relationship and finally convinced your partner to come to counseling with you?

Feeling post-holiday blues or even worse depression and ready to do something about it?

Are you desperate and lonely and just feeling plain shitty about things and you are tired of getting useless advice from friends and family?

Perhaps you have finally decided to schedule that appointment with a therapist.  Good for you.  Therapy will most likely help you.  Significant research has been done that demonstrates that therapy helps most people[1].

No one tells you how to pick a therapist though.  Should they be trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?  Should they be a psychoanalyst?  Should they be certified in EMDR?  Does it matter how many years they have been in practice?  What about all of those different degrees that therapists have?  What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a social worker, a psychologist, a mental health counselor, a life coach… it is all too much!

It makes sense to me that so many people don’t know how to begin this intimidating process of opening up to a total stranger and so they don’t bother.  Another year goes by and they sink deeper into their patterns and nothing changes.

Don’t let this be you – therapy can help you. I want to help make the decision of who to work with easier for you.

While I believe that years and type of training as well as holding a license in a particular profession devoted to mental health is important, these issues are not paramount.  What really matters when you are selecting a therapist is something a bit harder to measure, and something that no one can determine but you.

What is this secret single most important factor in determining the right therapist for you?

*Your comfort level*

That’s right.  I don’t care if you are working with Sigmund Freud himself – if you feel creeped out or uncomfortable with your therapist, regardless of their expertise or training, I say ditch them.

Disclaimer:  Most of the change that happens in someone’s life when they are in therapy is actually a result of things that happen outside of therapy.  That makes sense when you think about it – if you were to suddenly lose your spouse over the course of therapy for an unrelated issue, you’d probably get pretty depressed, regardless of what’s going on in therapy.  Or, if during a time in your life when you were in therapy, you suddenly met the love of your life and began a life happily ever after with this person, you’d probably be pretty cheery regardless of what was going on with therapy.  So, factors outside of therapy have a pretty big effect on one’s life.  Research on this topic of therapy outcome has shown that as much as 40% of change in therapy is accounted for by those things that happen outside of therapy[2].

What are the factors within therapy that affect its outcome, though?

As I said before, your comfort level and the relationship that you have with your therapist are the most important factors within therapy that will determine the outcome of your work together.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

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