Why Finding a Therapist is like Dating: How to find “ The One.”
Let’s face it, we all need therapy! We could all use someone who can cut through our psyche like butter and help uncover our blindspots. But you have to admit, the process itself of finding a therapist can feel eerily similar to another tedious search in your life…dating:
- You seem to have to decide between convenience and connection. (Who really wants to travel outside their zip code on a regular basis?)
- You often have an idea within the first five minutes if it’s not going to work out, but you feel like you need to stick it out to be polite.
- You don’t know how much you should really reveal the first time you meet.
- You’re secretly really curious about who else they’re seeing…
- You consider sticking with someone who’s mediocre, just to avoid getting back on the market.
Crying on the shoulder of a friend or into a bottle has its place, but if you want real transformation, it is time to seek out a trained professional! That’s why we at BAS sought out Existential Psychotherapist and Therapeutic Consultant, Theo Kuczek.
“Study after study shows that regardless of the kind of psychotherapy that is administered, the greatest
successful therapeutic outcomes are based on your relationship with your psychotherapist” – Theo Kuczek, MA
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If the relationship with your therapist is so key, where do we start looking to find that perfect match? PsychologyToday.com is like the OkCupid of Therapist matching, but it is still near impossible to judge how well you’ll mesh from that alone. This is why asking potential therapists the right questions is essential to cutting through the noise! So what questions should you ask your therapist before you meet? Kuczek says “ Most therapists will allow a consultation call or exchange where you can ask questions that allow you to start to feel each other out to determine if it will be a good fit. You may want to have initial sessions with more than one therapist, I’ll often encourage clients to do this if they are hesitant.”
Top 7 Interview Questions For a Potential Therapist:
1. Have you worked with clients in my demographic or that have my symptoms?
Kuczek says “One of the first questions I will ask in an initial therapy session is ‘Why are you here?’ It is key that you are able to explain what you are looking to get out of therapy.” This is a great opportunity to form a rapport with your therapist.
2. What kind of psychotherapy or specialties do you think I will benefit from?
There are differences in the education and training of therapists. Some are doctors with a variety of clinical training, but most have master’s degrees. There are hundreds of different types of therapy too! After you tell the therapist why you are here, the therapist can educate you on how their genre of therapy might be useful to you.
3. What are your own strengths and expertise as a therapist?
You are inviting your therapist to make an honest assessment of their strongest attributes and at the same time asking them to point out what they believe are important therapist traits.
4. How will we know if therapy is working?
“This is a great question to ask your therapist,” Kuczek says “You are likely to know therapy is working if the reasons that you came into therapy are shifting and changing. Healing in therapy is not always comfortable. There are things we may need to come to terms with to see the world as it is instead of how we want. When therapy is effective, there may be mourning of the loss of who we thought we were and what we thought the world was like, and simultaneously a rejoicing for the discovery of ourselves to be and our potential for joy and contentment.”
5. Do you lead the session or follow my lead?
“There is no rule on who should be leading. It’s whatever feels comfortable. I have clients that I’m not as active with than others,” says Kuczek. This is a matter of personal style, whether your therapist is “directive” or “non-directive,” and if you prefer to lead the conversation or be lead.
6. Do you offer sliding scale prices?
If you are minding your wallet, you can ask your insurance company for a list of therapists who would be considered in-network. However, many incredible therapists choose not to be part of those insurance panels due to paperwork and fees, but will offer sliding scale prices. Can’t hurt to ask! You have to ultimately decide, if therapy is an investment you are willing to make for your well-being and growth.
7. How long do you foresee working together?
Psychotherapy isn’t always a quick process, and it can be difficult to know how much is enough. But it’s reasonable to ask your therapist how long treatments may typically take. Many cognitive-behavioral based therapies are focused on treating immediate symptoms, while deeper, psychodynamic-based therapies focus on the root causes of a problem.
Asking your therapist about their treatment philosophy, schooling, modalities learned, etc is important, but some of the most important questions to ask yourself before making your decision is “ Did I feel relaxed, rushed, or go at my own pace? Did the therapist get me? Can I imagine disclosing my personal secrets or being totally honest?”
Kuczek concludes, “This is your journey – not to become who you think who you should be, or what other people think you should be, but discovering who you are in your own beautiful uniqueness… Not everyone is ready for therapy… You go to therapy when you want to try something different than what you are doing. You shouldn’t enter therapy lightly… You might just wake up.”
If you have any further questions or intetrest in therapy, Theo welcomes you to contact him for a Consultation via phone or Skype! His practice is based out of Oakland and you can reach him via his website: http://www.eastbayholistictherapist.com