An essential first step towards beginning therapy is to find a therapist with whom you connect and feel safe. Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all formula. However, there are things to consider when finding the best therapist for you and below we’ve broken down the top ten.
1. You feel comfortable with them.
In order for the therapy part of therapy to happen, you have to vibe with your therapist. We recommend having an in-person (if possible) consultation before your first session. Do you feel safe, comfortable, and heard? Do you feel that he or she is present with you and you are able to be your most authentic self? The relationship that the two of you create together will be the safe container through which change can take place, it is the foundation for your transformation; without a therapeutic relationship, there is no therapy.
2. You agree with their philosophy.
It’s important to know a therapist’s philosophy before working closely with them. Does the therapist believe that people are sick or need a diagnosis or a label in order to be “fixed”? Or do they believe that all humans are loving and loveable no matter what and are simply finding ways to cope with the issues they have experienced? A good therapist is someone who accepts and believes that no matter the protective layers you have put into place, you are loving and loveable at your core. This is called a non-pathologizing approach to therapy and it is what we at The Relationship Therapy Center believe.
3. They’ve been to therapy themselves.
A therapist who has been to therapy will be able to provide the best environment for others to discover healing their own healing. Someone who has done and continues to do their own work will be able to heal their own wounds and focus solely on you during your sessions.
4. They offer tools for independence.
Ultimately, a good therapist will equip you, the client, with the necessary tools and skills to self-soothe and regulate your own mental and emotional health. The goal is to eventually end the therapy sessions (which could take days, weeks, months, or even years) because the client is able to take care of themselves. Ask yourself if the therapist is there to empower you to live a life beyond their office or to create a relationship in which you are dependent on them.
5. Do they have depth?
True and effective therapy requires the ability to go deep into our wounds and issues in order to heal them. We must first feel deeply what we are to heal. If a therapist isn’t able to hold space for you to feel deeply, they cannot offer true or lasting healing. Make sure they are able and comfortable to go to the depths with you. Like an infected wound, we must first scrub and clean out the deepest parts to ensure there is no lasting infection.
6. They hold you accountable.
Not all therapists are created the same, nor will they offer the same experience. Do you want someone who will work with you to create a plan for change and then hold you accountable to it? Someone who empowers you to create change within yourself, who will give you homework and exercises and ask you to show up even when it’s difficult? Or, do you simply want someone who will listen to you? It’s important to ask yourself if you are willing to do the work – self-reflection, journaling, exercises – and then find a therapist who is willing to do the same.
7. Professionalism. A good therapist is a professional.
He or she is always on time and prepared for your arrival. They uphold the ethics of the profession, including confidentiality and full disclosure of fees and policies. They are not there to talk about themselves, but instead to provide a safe and nurturing space for their clients. Although a good therapist is friendly, they maintain a professional relationship with you and all other clients and do not become your friend. A professional therapist is also able to admit mistakes and welcome feedback.
8. Certification and training.
You should only work with a specially trained and certified therapist. In California, a therapist must have a master’s degree and over three-thousand hours of clinical experience. A therapist is not the same as a coach or a mentor; a therapist is a professionally trained mental health specialist.
9. You’ve asked all the questions.
How long have they been practicing? What is their philosophy? Are they married, single, a parent? Who else have they worked with and what services, specifically, are they able to offer? Remember, you are paying for this service and should be satisfied with the results. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and be sure to ask any questions you have so you know what to expect during your sessions.
10. Finally, are you making progress?
Ultimately, the best indicator of whether you are working with a good therapist for you is whether or not you are making progress. Keep in mind progress is not necessarily linear and sometimes things get worse before they get better. Also, just because you are not making progress does not mean the therapist is “bad”; sometimes it is just a bad fit. Other times, the client may not be ready for therapy. Also keep in mind that it is not the therapist’s job to “save” their clients; it is their job to empower their clients to become independent, mentally and emotionally well humans. This means understanding that life has ups and downs and that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own well-being. The goal of therapy is to allow you to access your own insights and solutions for challenging times and empower you to create a healthy, peaceful inner state of being no matter the external circumstances.
Start Working With a Therapist in Fair Oaks, CA or a Therapist in Roseville, CA
Finding the right therapist can take time, but it is worth the effort! Our caring therapists would be honored to work with you to see if we are the right fit. We offer support from our Fair Oaks, CA or Roseville, CA-based therapy practice and throughout California with online therapy. To start your therapy journey, follow these simple steps:
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to individual therapy treatment, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Therapy can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process and help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love healthy.