Is Your Psychotherapist The Right One For You?


Is Your Psychotherapist The Right One For You?
Don't be afraid to shop around for a good match between you and your psychotherapist.

Some people think that going to a therapist is like going to a car mechanic. They expect the therapist to diagnose a specific problem and fix it just as the mechanic puts in new brake pads or readjusts the carburetor. These clients expect something to happen to them. That is not the case. Don’t expect your therapist to have all the answers. Therapists don’t come with crystal balls.

You have the answers. They are already within you. The psychotherapist helps you discover those answers as you examine your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I think of therapy as education. In therapy you may learn new skills to help you communicate better, decrease difficulties in your life and increase benefits.


The majority of therapists spend most of the time talking with you as they aid you in understanding yourself,your relationships and your emotions. Some may ask you to examine your dreams. Cognitive therapists teach you how to pinpoint and change negative thoughts that are self-defeating. Transpersonal therapists usually have a spiritual approach. Energy psychotherapists may teach you acupressure or mindfulness methods to heal old wounds by changing the chemistry of your brain. 


Don't be afraid to shop around for a good match between you and your therapist. No matter how well trained that person is, if you are not at ease with him or her or willing to talk about personal problems or feelings, you will be wasting your money. Trust your intuition.

When my daughter was a teenager I was a single parent in a quandary about how to deal with her behavior. I wasn't a therapist at that time, and our small family was in turmoil. I found a psychologist who was well known, highly credentialed, and very expensive. After two family counseling sessions with him I cringed at the thought of going back, but I told myself that he knew what he was doing since he was so well known. Fortunately, my daughter trusted her intuition and absolutely refused to go back under any circumstances. It turned out that none of us liked him or felt comfortable with him. We found someone else that we liked and trusted and got better results.


About a year later I bumped into an acquaintance I hadn't seen in a long time. She looked happy and excitedly reported that her wellbeing was due to working with a wonderful psychologist. He had helped her change her life. When I asked who it was, she gave me the name of the man my family had hated!

The lesson here is not that someone you don't like isn’t a good therapist, it's that someone you don’t feel comfortable with is not the right helper for you. If you have health insurance ask your insurance company for more than one referral just in case, so you can choose wisely.

When you have a friends or family members who rave about their therapist, take the recommendation seriously only if your friends or family have shown significant and visible changes in behavior and attitudes during their therapy.

Article contributed by

Gloria Arenson

Marriage and Family Therapist

Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology and author of 7 books. She is passionate about helping people help themselves to be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors.

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: DCEP, EFT-ADV, MFT, MS
Other Articles/News by Gloria Arenson:

Life Stressing You Out? 3 Easy Ways To Clear Your Mind In Minutes


Are you like me? Whenever I read the paper or watch the news and see stories about war, starvation, killing rampages, rape, and other atrocities, I feel anxious and worried. In addition to worrying about the fate of the world, on a personal level, I also sometimes feel frustrated by annoying work or family relationship issues. Although I try my best to ... Read more

3 Stages ALL Relationships Must Go Through To Be Successful


Are you married, engaged or in a committed relationship right now? What brought you two together? What is keeping you together? Most of us base our attraction to others on their looks, sex appeal or personality, but we are unaware of how our life force energy also contributes to lasting success in love. Do you know any long-term couples who still ... Read more

Still Haunted By Childhood Cruelty? 5 Steps To Help You Move On


We all know the saying: "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me." The adage tries to help us shrug off harsh words.  It doesn't matter what someone says to you; insults are only thin air. Yet, every single day I work with people whose confidence was crushed by someone else's words. Only, it ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular