Finding a therapist and self exploration

In this article we shall look at how to find a suitable therapist as well as learning how to open up and engage in treatment when the right one is found. We shall also look at if treatment feels wrong and when to find yourself a different therapist.

Select the right type of treatment 

There are many different types of therapy but for the purpose of this article I want to focus on the three core types of therapy to help you in selecting the right therapist. There are three main schools of practice and these are as follows:

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)- This treatment is solution based therapy. The main focus for this type of treatment is in finding here and now solutions and supporting you to put these into place. This is very useful for short term therapy of six to eight weeks. This type of therapy is more therapist led.

Psychodynamic. This treatment works by bringing your unconscious parts of self into your awareness. This treatment works because when you become consciously aware of what your doing and why you are doing it you are better able to takesteps out of that unhelpful behaviour, attitude or belief. This type of therapy can be client led or therapist led depending on the therapist and the client.

Humanistic/ Person Centred- This treatment works on the belief that every person has the inner tools to best help themselves on their journey. This type of therapy is client led and the therapist will support you to support yourself to find your own answers. This is really useful because it allows you to grow in your self esteem, confidence levels and problem solving skills and encourages you to take those steps needed.

Select the right therapist

When you decided what kind of therapy you want the next step is to find a therapist who you feel comfortable with. This process begins from the moment you see your therapists photo. It is natural for us to make assumptions about someone based on their appearance. 

If you haven’t experienced counselling before I suggest you select a therapist who’s photo and synopsis you feel most comfortable with. You might find you prefer talking to women over men or visa versa. This is due to our history, life messages, perceptions and attitudes.

When you become more comfortable with the therapeutic process and feel more secure in yourself I would suggest thinking about taking a risk and going to see someone whos photo you were less warming too as both kinds of therapist will offer you the opportunity of great learning. 

The former will help you feel at ease which is crucial to help you begin opening up where as the latter could help you explore parts of yourself such as attitudes and perceptions which can make significant positive steps forward in your self development.

When you meet your therapist, if you feel highly uncomfortable , you shouldn’t feel obliged to continue the therapeutic relationship. The relationship between you and your therapist is the number one factor of whether or not therapy will work. The quality of your relationship is even more important than school of psychology you choose. This being said, if you’d negative feelings could be due to anxiety then I suggest having at least three sessions before deciding whether or not to change therapist 

Have a clear goal to work towards

It is a good idea where possible for you to come to therapy with a clear idea on what area you want to explore and work on. This can be general such as wanting to be happier or wanting to work on relationships. This helps you and your therapist focus your efforts and time to achieve real results.

Therapists are human

There are no magic wands in therapy and you won’t get anything out of the process if your not willing to be open and honest. Even though Therapists are skilled in reading body language and hearing things that are not said, they are still not mind readers.

One of the most common issues I find in treatment is when clients feel angry, disappointed in treatment or embarrassed and unable or unwilling to share their thoughts and feelings. If you find yourself in this situation I implore you to face your fear and share those thoughts. Therapists are trained to work with difficult feelings and situation s in a professional, non-judgmental way and these situations have a lot of benefit to explore. It can be really empowering to work through difficult relational issues in a safe space with a trained professional and it can teach you so much about working on your personal relationships outside of the therapy room.

You gain from therapy what you put in and it will work if you work it.

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