Health And Wellness

What Makes A Good Therapist? 10 Important Things To Look For

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what makes a good therapist

Therapy is something that we all need, whether you want to hear it or not. Finding the right therapist is a challenge, and I'll be the first person to admit that.

While it seems like there are a million and one therapists out there, you're probably right, but not all of them are good, and not all of them are bad.

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So what makes a good therapist, then? Take a look below at some of the traits of a good therapist so you can find someone that fit you and your needs.

1. A good therapist listens to you fully.

Any good therapist will pay attention to what you have to say and to what bothers you. Listening is a part of communication, and the other person can't respond to what you have to say unless they're actively listening.

Besides, how could you have a conversation if your therapist doesn't listen? The point is that you shouldn't be talking to yourself or a wall during therapy, but to the other person which is your therapist, who makes you feel heard in response.

2. They ask you questions.

If your therapist doesn't understand something, they ask. Simple. They're not asking necessarily for you to repeat what you said (unless they do ask that, then go ahead), but to clarify what you said.

Often times, you can catch a therapist taking notes during sessions, and the last thing that they'd want is to write down the wrong thing, so take it as a sign that they care about what you say.

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3. They're patient with you.

The thing with any good therapist is that they won't rush you when you're thinking of what to say or when you're talking. Not to say that they're just going to sit there, but they're going to sit there and listen either actively or passively — but the point is, any good therapist will let you process what you have to say before you say it.

You shouldn't always rush to have an answer or something to say, and if you do, you might want to take a step back and think about it first.

4. A good therapist makes you feel heard and seen.

A good therapist will validate you and your thoughts. They'll welcome them with open arms and integrate them into your conversation.

A good therapist won't judge you based on how you're feeling and what you have to say for yourself — and if you catch yourself having to hide things from your therapist, then it may be time to let them go and find someone who makes you feel understood.

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5. They don't talk over you.

Both you and your therapist are people with thoughts, feelings and things to say, and the right thing to do is to let the other person speak to you. You're probably not in therapy to take orders from your therapist, but you are a person who is seeking help for whatever you're going through.

Any therapist that talks at you or over you can come off as demeaning, and if you're not feeling like the session is focused on you, it's time to move on to someone else and let them fall into the world of people that you don't associate with anymore.

6. They're comforting.

A good therapist will comfort you when you're sad and need to cry. This will look like them making room for your emotions, and them telling you that it's alright and that what you're feeling is ok.

A good therapist will watch you cry and will reassure you that it's alright. Trust me, I've been there before, and by the end of the session, my therapist told me that I did a good job that day.

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7. A good therapist won't judge you.

Similarly to my fourth point, a good therapist won't judge you for what you have to say for yourself. Therapy is an open space for you to talk about whatever you want, usually for 45 minutes a session.

Therapy is customizable, although the standard seems to be once a week for 45 minutes — but if you find yourself needing more time with your therapist, just ask. And if you find yourself wanting less because the sessions aren't feeling fulfilling or you're feeling judged, try a different therapist to see if you feel the same way about them.

It's important for you to feel like you can be completely honest during your sessions, so if you can't, find a new therapist.

8. They work with you and not against you.

There's a common saying that says "it takes two to tango". You shouldn't be the one that's doing all of the work, and neither should your therapist. Therapy can be hard work (for both of you).

A good therapist will help to guide you through processing your emotions. They're not going to give you handouts, and if that's what you're looking for, then you need to reevaluate your reasons for being in therapy.

But a good therapist will also ask you to work through your own thoughts and emotions too — they are there to help you figure out yourself. It's their job to support you during that process.

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9. They encourage you to talk about your emotions (and show them) during the sessions.

A good therapist will allow you to feel things and to express those feelings during your session/sessions. It's normal to have feelings, and you're in therapy to work through those feelings, so let them shine through.

The first and hardest part is acknowledging your feelings, and if you can do that much, then, needless to say, you're off to the right start.

10. They're respectful of you, your time, and what you have to say.

A good therapist knows that therapy is hard, and they respect you for that. They'll give you the time of day, and while they're at it, they'll treat you like a human being.

A good therapist understands that with therapy, you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position, but that's just part of the process of healing and growing as a person.

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Liz Abere is a writer who covers astrology, spirituality, love, relationships, mental health, and pop culture.