Footnotes From The Front Porch

Below is an amazing tool for anyone looking to partner with a therapist.  Thanks to my good friend and fellow traveling partner for your willingness to equip and encourage others to seek wise counsel. 

How To Pick A Good Therapist
1.  Have a consultation so that you can see if you feel comfortable and safe- this can be in person (preferably) or over the phone.  Does the counselor seem like they are with you, listening and understanding or do they seem like a "know it all" and/or not emotionally connected?  A consumer has a choice.  Even though it is anxiety-producing going to a therapist the first time, it is important to tease out your own stuff from the counselors. 

2.  What's the general philosophy of the therapist and approach to helping?  Are people sick and need to be labeled with a disorder or are humans lovable and loving and  adapt the best they can to what happens to them or what issues they face?

3.  How is this therapist going to help me reach my goals?  First look at your goals?  Do you need someone to just listen to you and vent?  Do you want homework in between session so that you can practice what you learn?  Are you willing to do the work...noticing, journaling, exercises, trying new ways out, etc. telling the truth, coming even when it's hard?  Is the therapist willing to let you know a path or plan that will get you to feeling better or resolving the issue that brought you in?

4.  Does the therapist equip you with the skills to become better self soothers/regulators?  Does he or she help you become independent over time or do they encourage a dependence on the therapist.  Of course, there will be a dependence in the beginning because a safe attachment needs to be built so that trust and connection develop, but with the goal that there will be an end.

5.  Has the therapist done their own therapy?  If so, how long?

6.  It's OK to ask questions like, are you married?  are you a parent?  what clients have you helped? 

7.  It also needs to be OK, or the therapist can invite the client to say, "I'm not ready for that"  " I don't like to journal"  and be a co creator of their therapy.

8.  Can your therapist handle big emotions?  Is it safe for you to cry, get angry, etc?

9.  Does your counselor have a master's degree?  Anyone can call themselves a counselor or coach. Only someone schooled with a Master's Degree either licensed or on their way to licensed can call themselves a psychotherapist, Marriage Family Therapist.

Proverbs 12:15 Seek Wise Counsel....

Nancy Ryan, M.A.
Marriage Family Therapist Intern
Supervised by Phil Stahr, MFC

No comments: