HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR THERAPIST IS CRAZY? Tips For Finding a Good One
Ever tried to shop for a good melon? Not an easy task, you gotta roll it, squeeze it, shake it, and thump it. Well, looking for a decent therapist is similar, minus the thumping - which is definitely not recommended. There are A LOT of bad ones out there, some crazy-ass ones too, so it’s important that you don’t just settle for any Dr.Jill or Joe Schmo. So, how do you shop for a smart, sane shrink ? What do you look for? And how do you know if you’ve found a good one? After much research and pondering, here are some thoughts to factor in during your mental health & wellness-shopping spree.
What To Look For In a Good Clinician
The first session is generally called an “intake” and is essentially about the therapist gathering as much information as she can about her client. This makes it a tad difficult to assess the personality and professional style of the shrink, so sometimes it takes another session to see if he or she is a good fit for you. That said, I’ve compiled a short list of RED and GREEN flags that may help you get a sense of what a good clinician might look like.
RED FLAGS FOR THE PSYCHO THERAPIST
- The therapist seems judgmental. The first job of a good clinician is to create a safe space for you to explore your thoughts and feelings. If you even sense even a smidgen of judgment – DELETE!!
- The therapist looks bored, distant or dozes off. I have heard many stories about therapists falling asleep during sessions and if this happens – whatever you do -don’t take it personally. Its not you…it’s a sleepy therapist. So skip this one and move on to the next.
- The therapist talks more about himself than about you. Not good. It’s one thing when he shares a quick personal story here or there if it relates to your subject, but your sessions should really be about you, yourself and Irene. (But only if she is relevant to your issue)
GREEN FLAGS - GIVE IT A GO!
- Is the therapist a good listener? Does she seem to understand where you are coming from? Does he ask meaningful questions that relate to what you’re sharing? Does she “get” you?
- Is the therapist genuine? Is he honest? Does she appear engaged and present?
- Do you feel comfortable with the therapist? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like you are in good hands?
The bottom line -- The relationship you have with your therapist is what really matters the most. Whether they have 1 degree or 217, all the scientific research points to the fact that it is the relationship that is the true healing mechanism. So, find someone that you trust and feel comfortable with. As for the "crazy"part (see red flags above), just know that none of us are perfect, but if you feel comfortable and safe, and genuinely like him/her, then go ahead and try a few sessions. And if it feels right...great....if - not so much...then onto the next! Here in NYC...you've certainly got PLENTY to choose from!