As we enter the turn of this new decade, the acknowledgement of the importance of mental health, as well as the acceptance of therapy and its benefits, has only become more common. Whether it’s the increasing trend of celebrities and professional athletes admitting to a struggle with mental health issues, or the variety of therapeutic services and apps that have gained popularity in recent years, mental health has started to gain the important recognition it has always deserved.
This means that a lot of folks who have never used any form of therapy before are entering the therapeutic world, without much knowledge or experience to know what they are looking for to best suit their needs. For those who are seeking a qualified therapist, like the individual counseling specialists at Thrive Counseling in Southern Illinois, finding the right therapist can be the most important, and the most difficult step. Luckily, our team of dedicated counselors are here to help. Keep reading to learn a few tips on how you can choose the therapist who will best provide for you, and how a counselor from Thrive Counseling might be able to serve that role.
Understand Why You Are Seeking Therapy
It’s unfair to assume that everyone can just immediately understand and communicate what is going on with them, or why they feel the way they feel. But understanding the “why”, the reason why you wanted to seek out the potential help of a therapist, is an important step for both counselor and counselee for finding the right fit to achieve the most progress. Whether it’s a complicated life situation that requires an in depth explanation, or just simply “I don’t feel good,” being able to communicate your motivations for seeking therapy will mean you have the best chance at getting the right therapist who can provide the counseling services you need.
Understand What You Want Out of Therapy
Another important self-reflective thing to think about is what exactly you are looking for from a counseling session with a therapist. Any qualified therapist can provide some basic support and coping tools if you can tell them about some issues affecting your life and your mind, but the more you can tell them about what you are looking for out of a therapy session, the more they can provide the tailored counseling service that will do you the most good. However, knowing exactly what you want out of therapy is easier said than done, so it’s okay if you don’t have an exact or clear answer to that question yet — even if your answer is “I want to feel better”.
Value Your Comfort Level
One of the most critical aspects of finding a good therapist is how you feel in their presence and how you feel when you talk and listen to them. You might be able to find the smartest and most knowledgeable therapist out there. But if you aren’t 100% comfortable telling them pretty much everything, or you don’t really care about or trust their judgement or advice enough, then you simply won’t be able to get the most out of any counseling session with them. As much as you want to respect their ability and the time they put into your problems, you need to prioritize your own comfort level in conversation with them and their presence, because remember, you are the one getting the service — if something doesn’t feel right, or you leave more uncomfortable then when you arrived, you should keep looking for a different therapist that you can trust and believe in, so you can get the absolute most out of your time and money.
To find the right kind of therapist that will truly be able to provide effective counseling, you need to trust them with your personal life, as well as be honest about what you need from them, and how you want them to help you. They might have all of the schooling and experience in the world, but no two patients are the same, and your therapist can’t help you, nor can you find the right therapist for your needs, if you aren’t honest about the issues you are facing and the help you are looking for.
If you are hesitant about therapy, let your therapist know. If you are cynical about the whole psychiatric process, let your therapist know. If you want more tangible coping mechanisms rather than a bunch of psychology jargon, let your therapist know. If you just want someone to listen to your thoughts, and relay them back to you — you guessed it — let your therapist know. The more truth they know, the better that both of you can understand if it’s the right fit for you.
And most importantly of all, be patient with the whole process! Finding the right therapist is almost like dating — you can’t really know if they are a good fit for you after just one date, or even two dates. And like any connection you have with other humans, it can be awkward at first, and it takes some time and patience to get to a level of comfort and understanding that leads to an effective pairing and connection. You also might forget in the hullabaloo of your own stresses and problems, that your therapist is a human too! It’s important to remember that, because they are humans too, they will have their own preconceptions, their own personal lives, their own way of thinking, and even their own off-days performance-wise. That doesn’t mean you should stick out continued sessions with a therapist who isn’t providing the level of trust, connection, and support that you need, but appreciating the time, effort, and patience that finding the right therapist requires is a good first step.
Counseling Services from Thrive Counseling
The most important thing to remember when looking for the right therapist is that counseling is truly a human connection. As much as you are paying for a supportive service, it’s also about finding a trustworthy acquaintance who you enjoy talking to. Taking the patience and effort to find the right therapist for you is the hardest step, but it’s also the most important. At Thrive Counseling, we have a team of qualified and diversely experienced counselors that are all dedicated to providing quality counseling services, to everyone in the Southern Illinois region. Check out our incredible clinical team here, and see how we can start helping you today!