How to Find a Therapist right for you

09/10/2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Latest News,Lifestyle,Mind Matters

How to Find a Therapist that’s right for you

Article by Eileen Clark – Change Counsellor & Consultant

Over the years a number of clients have shared personal stories about encounters with professionals that have been less than helpful.  These encounters were with practitioners across a variety of models or techniques – social workers, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and various medical and alternative practitioners.  These days there are somewhere between 400 to 1000 different theories, models or techniques available.  It is bamboozling to say the least to figure out which offers the best outcome for your particular needs let alone which therapist to choose.

Interestingly, research has found that models or techniques (e.g. if someone calls themselves a Narrative, Strength-based or solution focused counsellor, Jungian therapist, CBT practitioner, etc.,) pretty much all deliver the same opportunity for change and matter very little to outcome.

Also, within any framework there is a spectrum of practitioners from highly skilled to not so adept.  So – given that there are up to a thousand modalities, great variety in practitioner skills, and that all frameworks are equal in regard to delivering outcomes, who do you choose? And how do you decide?

Here is the good news!  After 50 years of research what we now know for sure is that there are some key elements that need to be present in order for you to maximise your counselling experience and create the outcomes you went to therapy for in the first place.

People come to therapy for change, there is something they want to improve or change in some way in order to experience a happier more fulfilling life.

There are a number of elements that are important to therapeutic success but the key element is – feedback!  Sounds awfully simple doesn’t it?

In almost every story shared by clients about their frustration with therapy – this was the missing element that stood out. They had attempted to talk to their therapist about what wasn’t working for them without success.

Feedback is the ability to let your therapist know what is and, most importantly, what isn’t working for you during your time together.  This helps to create a respectful, collaborative, equal and fruitful encounter between client and therapist.  It enables a better fit between service providers and clients, maximising your chance for success.  It enables you to monitor your progress over time by measuring outcomes in tangible terms, and it provides opportunity, each session, to make necessary adjustments so that you get the support you need to make the change you desire.

Finding a therapist who understands the importance of developing a culture of feedback with you cannot be understated. Finding a therapist who you experience as sincere and genuinely curious about your quest for change and how you think this might occur is also important because this person will most likely ensure that you are in control of your process and the master of your therapeutic ship. This is as it should be because, let’s face it, when you walk out of the therapy room you are on your own and need to feel confident with the choices you make and happy with the life you live.

So – next time you are contemplating therapy give some thought to a few questions you may ask your potential therapist or counsellor about how they will monitor change and how you will work together to stay on track with your therapeutic goals. Most importantly, find out how you will be supported to let them know when you feel the session, or parts of it, just didn’t quite hit the nail on the head for you.  The therapist’s ideas about how the session went are not as important as your own. This is your time, these are your goals and you deserve to have some say in the way you are, or aren’t, moving toward change.

For more information about this go to my website  and click on the helpful links page, then click on the Heart and Soul of Change link.  This will take you to Barry Duncan’s website, who, along with Scott Miller, is one of the most insightful and knowledgeable researchers on the topic of feedback and what makes therapy work.

Happy reading!

Eileen Clark – Change Counsellor & Consultant