There’s one thing we know for sure: there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to therapy… Which can make trawling through endless lists of approaches and techniques all the more confusing. What works for one person isn’t necessarily going to be right for someone else. We’re all human beings with distinct needs and requirements (not to mention preferences). So whilst each and every approach has the capacity to be an effective form of treatment, no single therapy holds sure-fire success. In fact, research suggests that it’s actually the relationship between the therapist and the client that holds the most weight in determining the success of therapy, regardless of what experience your therapist has or what type of approach they trained in.
What it really comes down to is finding “your person” — and that can come down to lots of different factors. Below are some key ingredients to look out for to help you determine whether you’ve found a good fit:
Finding someone you feel comfortable with should always come first and foremost. Not only is your therapist someone you’ll be seeing frequently, but they’re also someone you need to be OK feeling vulnerable around. At the very least, your therapist needs to be someone that makes you feel at ease when you’re around them. Of course, that’s not to say it’s all going to be plain sailing. Therapy’s not meant to be roses all the way… Real change can be challenging and make us feel uncomfortable at times. What you’re looking for is someone that strikes a nice balance between challenging you but also making you feel secure and understood.
Whilst starting therapy can be scary, particularly when you start tapping into difficult experiences or emotions, it should never feel like a chore. That initial apprehension (which is completely normal, by the way) should start to gradually lessen as you continue your therapy sessions. In fact, many people find that they start to look forward to their sessions as they begin feeling the benefits, and the sense of relief that brings.
Whilst your therapist will provide you with guidance during your sessions, a good therapist will also want to work collaboratively with you, encouraging you to find your own answers. This might mean carrying out homework outside of hours too.
Not every therapy style works for everyone, and a good therapist will recognise that. If you feel like something isn’t working out for you, then never be afraid to speak up. A good therapist should welcome challenges along the way and most importantly, be able to adapt to what you need.
Are you noticing improvements? This should be something you check-in with throughout the course of your therapy. Depending on the individual, improvements might come about gradually or very quickly. The point is, after a period of time you should start to experience some kind of relief in your symptoms. Tracking your feelings and symptoms down in a notebook can be a helpful way of looking at the progress you’ve been making during your treatment. Therapy isn’t meant to be never-ending. And whilst it might take time to feel like you’re really making headway, it’s important that you feel like you’re also making progress (no matter how small those first steps are).
Treat your first therapy session as an opportunity to test the water and see whether you have a good rapport with your therapist. It’s important to trust your instinct when choosing a therapist. Is this the right person for you? Regardless of everything else, you need to actually like your therapist, and feel comfortable enough to be yourself around them. If for some reason they don’t feel like a good fit, never be afraid to ‘play the field’ and root around elsewhere. In fact, a good therapist will be open to referring you to someone else if the relationship doesn’t feel beneficial.
Until recently, finding a good therapist has mostly come down to good luck and a bit of trial and error. We’ve created this guide to remove the confusion, and make the process of finding the right therapist as simple and straight-forward as possible (as it should be).
Everyone has the right to access good therapy, so never be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want. And if it doesn’t feel like a good fit for you then don’t feel obliged to continue. It’s true that therapy can sometimes feel uncomfortable whilst navigating difficult emotions and experiences. But it’s important you also feel like you’re making strides towards feeling better too. If that’s not happening, make sure you take into consideration your doubts, trust yourself and move onto the next.
Somewhere out there is The One, and the likelihood is you’ll ‘just know’ when you find them.
Considering therapy? Speak to one of our team to get help to find a therapist today.