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  • Writer's pictureEmily Powell

Finding the "Right Fit" Therapist

Have you been sitting across a therapist before and felt like you just do not “vibe” with them?  Maybe you feel disconnected and misunderstood, or perhaps even frustrated and annoyed with the therapist? You have this intuitive sense that they are just not a good fit for you.

 

Good news – you are absolutely not alone in this. It also does not insinuate that you are the problem, or there is something wrong with you. Nope, not even close!

 

Therapy is NOT a “one size fits all” model, and not every therapist is the “right fit” for each person who is seeking therapy. Each individual has so many beautiful intricacies – we all have a complex make up of experiences, needs, and relational histories that impact which therapist may or may not be a fit for us.

 

It can be super frustrating to begin therapy with someone, go for a few sessions, share all about your life story, and then feel like you have to “start the process over” with someone new because the current therapist is not a match. AND, as a relational therapist who believes so strongly in the power of the therapeutic relationship, I believe that it is worth finding a therapist who better serves your needs.

 

Some folks compare finding the right fit therapist with a process of dating – meeting several people (i.e., therapists), going on several dates (i.e., first sessions) before finding someone you connect with (i.e., therapeutic alliance). This may be oversimplified, but I think there is some truth to this. Just like every person seeking therapy, every person who is a therapist also has unique personality qualities, beliefs, approaches to therapy, specialties, and so on. The match is not always as simple as – “oh this person can meet when I need to meet and they take my insurance.” It is more than okay to meet with many therapists before you find “the one.”

 

Here are a few things to consider when searching for a therapist.

 

  1. You can and should “interview” your therapist. Most therapists offer a “consultation call.” This allows both people to get to know one another. You can ask the therapist questions in this call depending on what feels important to you in the relationship – ask about their specialties, their beliefs, their approach to therapy, and so on.

  2. A “good fit” involves so much more than just the financial and scheduling logistics. A good fit therapist involves how you feel in the relationship, their personality, aura, beliefs, trainings, approach to therapy, and so forth.

  • One thing to consider – depending on where you live, many therapists who have more advanced specialties do NOT accept insurance. This is definitely not always the case, but if you are looking for someone who is more specialized and trained, they may not be in network with your insurance company. Many out of network therapists do offer sliding scale fees, so if their out of network fee is not accessible, you can request a sliding scale fee, or submit to your insurance for “out of network” reimbursement.

  1. What type of therapy are you looking for? If this is your first experience with therapy, it may be helpful to research a bit about the approach that the therapist says that they use so you can get a sense of what it may feel like to engage in that type of therapy. Is it more cognitive? Experiential? Is it solution focused? Is it more relational? All of these feel quite a bit different. This might be another thing that you ask about on your consultation call.

  2. What felt “off” about your previous therapist, and what might this suggest you are needing from your new therapist?

  3. You are ALLOWED, empowered, and encouraged to share with your therapist what is working and what is not working. Maybe you are needing someone to challenge you – great. Maybe you are needing someone to help you get “out of your head” and “in to your body” – great. Maybe your past therapist gave “homework” and you found that ineffective – great. If we think of therapy as a microcosm for how we interact in our other relationships, this is an amazing space to begin practicing identifying what it is that you are needing and sharing that (easier said than done – I know!)

  4. It is more than okay (…actually super adaptive and protective…) if it takes time and proof for you to begin trusting your therapist. Many of us have experienced relational wounds where “trust” has not been safe in the past. It is your therapist’s responsibility to demonstrate consistency and openness that will allow space for eventual vulnerability and trust.

 

One of (if not THE most) important part of the therapeutic process is the relationship between the therapist and client. You deserve to feel not only seen and heard in the relationship, but also empowered, validated, and truly held in your most vulnerable moments.


Want to schedule a consultation call? I work with folks living in Pennsylvania only due to licensure requirements.





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