What to look for and how to proceed.
Often, people don’t know how to go about finding a therapist, let alone find one that will meet their needs. So, I thought it might be helpful to talk about the initial process and how to approach a potential therapist. In addition to the process, I will briefly address how psychotherapy works and what to look for when you make contact for the first time by phone or in person. Hopefully, this will help with your important decision. I will also address common issues and how I work with each one.
First, it is important to feel safe or comfortable with your therapist. From my perspective, this is the most crucial factor. How can one open up if there is not a feeling of safety with your therapist?
Often, clients feel uncomfortable talking with a new therapist about personal issues. When this happens, it is important that a therapist normalize your experience. If a therapist tells you immediately that you are being resistant, this might not be a good match. Now there are times when resistance happens, but at first, it is important to feel heard and to establish a connection with your therapist.
When you speak with the therapist for the first time, check in with yourself and notice what you are feeling when you are talking. Do you feel heard? Do you feel understood? Does your therapist talk too much?
Therapy can be overwhelming. So, writing down a few questions before your call might help.
• How will therapy help me?
• How do I know if I need therapy?
• How does psychotherapy work?
• How long does therapy last? Or how often should I go to therapy?
There are many questions you can formulate – and remember that any question you might have is important.
My approach to working with individuals varies with each person. Although I am fairly active in session, therapy is a collaboration
between therapist and client. Therefore it is important that the client and therapist establish goals together. One might think of a therapist as a consultant who assists in improving your life and gaining a greater sense of balance. How you get there, will be determined with how well you and the therapist understand each other.
When I work with clients, I listen to what is being presented in session and I also pay close attention to what is not being talked
about. Sometimes, I might notice something that the client has not thought of. I will ask questions and comment when something seems off or different. Clients have a variety of concerns and I have listed a few common themes here, and how I work with certain issues. Keep in mind there are many layers to any presenting issue and one method does not fit everyone.
Copyright © 2019 John Buse, LMFT, CIRT - All Rights Reserved.