Therapists Are People Too: Why You May Be Struggling to Find The Right Therapist
Scheduling your first therapy session is a significant milestone. You’ve decided to seek professional help, spent hours searching for the right therapist, and cleared your schedule for an appointment. So, if you don’t feel comfortable with your new therapist after a few sessions, it’s only natural to feel let down
But there’s good news: You’re not alone. Sometimes, it takes a few therapy sessions to find the right match. Even if your past experiences with counseling have been disappointing, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to psychotherapy.
Finding the right therapist can make all the difference in your mental health treatment, but how can you find the right match for you? Here’s why you might be struggling to find a good match—and how to take the stress out of your search.
According to the American Psychological Association, your therapeutic relationship—the relationship between you and your psychotherapist—can have a dramatic impact on your mental health outcomes.
Think about it: When you feel safe and comfortable with your therapist, you’re more likely to open up about challenging situations, difficult emotions, and deeply rooted trauma. Your therapist should support you throughout your mental health journey, helping you make progress, set goals, and challenge yourself.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable with your mental health provider, it’ll reflect in your progress. Ineffective counselors with poor boundaries, a judgmental approach, and unprofessional conduct can push you away from treatment, causing more harm than good.
Why is it so hard to find a good fit?
If you’re starting psychotherapy for the first time, it might be tempting to skip the search and ask for a referral from a close friend or family member. Unfortunately, the right therapist is different for everyone—and the psychologist who treated your coworker might not be the right match for you.
If you’re dealing with specific challenges, it’s important to remember that not all therapists are specialists. While most mental health practitioners focus on anxiety and depression, it can be harder for someone with specific mental health problems, like addiction, to find appropriate treatment.
Ultimately, finding someone specializing in your specific needs allows for more effective mental health treatment, better rapport regarding your mental health experience, and potential referrals to relevant resources, like addiction treatment centers or support groups. As a result, many prospective clients turn to online therapy to find specialist mental health professionals.
How can you find a good match?
It’s important to feel comfortable with your psychotherapist, but even the most personable therapist won’t be able to help you if they’re not using evidence-based interventions. To make sure your therapist is qualified to treat you, it’s important to ask the right questions. Some questions you might ask during your first session include:
- What are your credentials? Do you have a specialty?
- Do you offer online counseling?
- What’s your experience treating clients with [PTSD, relationship issues, emotional problems, etc.]?
- What type of therapy would you recommend for my specific situation?
- What are indications that psychotherapy is effective?
- How do you determine mental health goals?
The therapeutic process is hard work—and it’s normal to experience painful emotions during therapy sessions. However, you should always feel comfortable during your sessions. Your therapeutic relationship should be based on comfort, respect, and trust. If something feels off, take a step back and listen to your gut instinct. It’s OK to search for a new psychotherapist if you don’t connect after a few sessions.
The best therapist will listen to your concerns, track your progress, and take a flexible approach to your mental health treatment. They might suggest different types of therapy, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to create a comprehensive treatment plan. Above all else, they’ll offer empathy and show a willingness to help you work toward your mental health goals.
Compassionate, Data-Driven Talk Therapy in DC
Finding the right therapist can feel overwhelming, but it’s well worth the time and effort. The right match can help you find healthy ways to manage your mental health, reap the full benefits of psychotherapy, and become the best version of yourself.
To find a good match, reach out to a licensed therapist through the Therapy Group of DC. We know that starting in-person or online therapy can feel intimidating—and we’re here to help you navigate the therapeutic process so you can find the emotional support you deserve. One of our supportive, experienced psychotherapists will help you explore your treatment options so you can make a positive change in your mental wellness.