If I had one piece of advice to give clients searching for a psychotherapist, it would be first to allow this search. It is evident that one therapist does not fit all. Already, right after the very first session, you will be able to make an assessment :
- Is this person right for me ?
- Do I feel understood?
- Do I feel like I could really tell her (him) what I need to?
- Do I feel in good hand?
- Do I feel better after the first session? Or worse?
- Do I like the psychotherapist as a person?
If the first therapist does not seem to fit the needs of a patient, there may be a variety of reasons. The reason why it is so important to have a good sense of your therapist is that “therapeutic alliance” is the single most powerful predictor of positive outcome in treatment (Miller, 2006, Lambert & Bergin, 1994, Lambert & Barley, 2001, Lambert & Ogles 2004, Messer& Wampold, 2002, Bachelor & Horvath 1999). It may be worth finding an easier relationship with a therapist, a relationship that appears to find its mark easily, since a therapeutic relationship is so crucial for the positive outcome of treatment. I recommend finding a therapist who is reflexive and may not only provide answers, but generate useful questions. I would recommend a therapist who is able to question his own stance. So that ultimately, this therapist joins the client in learning “how he does the things he has done for so long that has made him miserable, but still cannot help but doing the same things”. Once again, and especially difficult advice when one feel miserable, at the end of the rope, ready to explode, use your instinct, your judgment and your common sense to allow this search and find the right therapist for you. If you don’t feel the therapist is helping you to get better, seek for another therapist that suits your needs better. I wish you all the best in your courageous search.