So, how do you know which therapist is right for you, anyway?
Choosing a therapist can be a hard and overwhelming process. After all, how do you know who is going to be a good match for you based off of just a short bio and maybe a friendly-faced photo? It is certainly a difficult and important decision to make. A good therapeutic relationship is built off a strong and trusting rapport. Feeling a trust in your therapist opens you up to do the work that leads to real and enduring change. So, how do you know who you are going to develop that kind of trust with?
It begins with an understanding of why you are coming to therapy and what kind of outcomes you are looking for. In addition to understanding your own motivations it also helps to ask your therapist questions about their orientation of work.
When studying psychology, therapists are exposed to several different bodies of thought on how and why a person does things and how change can happen. When asking your therapist about what type of theoretical orientation they like to work with, you are getting a sense of understanding about how they see therapy progressing. This might give you a better understanding of who is going to be the right match for you.
To give you an example, I prefer to work through a cognitive-behavioral lens. I see our behaviors and thoughts as a result of what we have learned throughout our lives. If we have learned to always expect that things are going to never go our way, then we work our behaviors around that idea, causing us to feel like we never seem to get a break. In working in a cognitive-behavioral framework, I like to work with my clients to identify these problematic thoughts and behaviors and come up with plans to change them to create the changes they wish to see in their lives.
Understanding how your therapist is going to engage in therapy with you can help you know what to expect and if that is an orientation that is going to work well with you. It is never easy engaging in a new relationship and a therapeutic relationship is no different, so take note on what orientation your therapist uses as an indicator on whether of not this is the right therapist for you.