I don’t know what you think about therapists or have thought about people who go see them but it may be that for some reason you are considering finding one for yourself now. If so, here are some considerations for helping you choose a therapist. I hope this will be helpful.
Why Do I Need a Therapist
Okay so first of all you may be asking why do I need a therapist? “I’m not that crazy about people telling me what to do in the first place and now I am going to pay someone to do that?” My analogy, as a guy, is like asking whether I need a lawn edger or a tiller; do I just want my lawn to look neater or do I want to plant a garden? A therapist is not usually going to be giving you advice but helping you uncover your heart so that you can discover your own advice.
I have found that being truly filled comes not from simply eating but from discovering what you are really hungry for, what your heart desires, and then being satiated with that. Rewriting my story takes looking into the ways I have chosen to “survive” my pain so I can walk with more trust in the God who doesn’t just make all new things, but makes all things new. A good therapist helps us do just that.
8 Important Things in Choosing a Therapist:
1. You feel safe with this person. He or she is not judgmental or shaming. They allow you the freedom to explore your feelings and thoughts. It seems like a good fit.
2. She or he will give you honest feedback about what they see and hear in you in a non-shaming, caring way. It’s important you feel cared about or it can be harmful instead of helpful.
3. They are a licensed therapist with at least several years of experience. This doesn’t mean a new therapist can’t be helpful but as with most things, usually the more experience a therapist has the better their skills.
4. You want to see a therapist who has successful experience working with similar issues as yours or they have particular knowledge or training in that area.
5. Don’t choose someone with whom you already have a personal friendship. You may think it helps you trust them better, but it is unethical for the therapist for a reason. It usually results in loss of trust that brings the friendship and the therapy relationship to an end… poorly.
6. The therapist has done (or is doing) their own therapy work. A therapist can only guide someone as far as they have gone themselves. When they haven’t done their own therapy, they often see their own issues as their client’s. It’s okay to ask this question; really.
7. It can be helpful if the therapist shares your spiritual beliefs and values, or they honor your beliefs if they’re not the same.
8. Be ready and be willing to struggle with your process. Stepping into your own story honestly can involve pain but it leads toward freedom.
There is a wonderful saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” If you find yourself wanting to grow and to “see” with new eyes, a good therapist can serve as a productive guide on your journey. Laurie or I would be glad to discuss this with you.