How to Know If Your Therapist Is a Good Fit

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Therapy plays a pivotal role in helping individuals navigate the complexities of life, offering support during challenging times and providing tools to manage mental health effectively. 

It can be a transformative journey of coping skills, self-discovery, healing, and growth. However, the success of this therapeutic journey largely hinges on finding the right therapist - a professional who not only possesses the requisite knowledge and skills but also resonates with you on a personal level.

The significance of this match cannot be overstated; a good rapport with your therapist can foster a safe, trusting environment that encourages open communication and facilitates meaningful progress. 


Coping Skills Therapists in Colorado

Deb Corbitt, LPC

Deb Corbitt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(720) 437-9089
Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Melissa Peterson, LPC

Melissa Peterson, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Noah Suess, MA, LPC

Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424

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You Feel Comfortable Sharing With Them

Your comfort level during therapy sessions is a telling sign of a strong therapeutic alliance. 

It's reflected in how relaxed you feel while discussing everything from your day-to-day life to deeper emotional issues. Many therapists use active listening techniques to foster such an environment.

For example, you might notice yourself comfortably discussing past traumas, anxieties, ambitions, or even negative therapy experiences. 

The absence of fear of being judged or misunderstood is crucial here. This level of comfort is deeply tied with trust - a fundamental element in any therapeutic experience.

Here are some examples you might be feeling.

  • You don't feel judged when discussing your sexual orientation, belief system, or mental illness.
  • You feel a meaningful change after the first session.
  • You and your therapist are on the same page regarding your therapy experience and goals.
  • Even when you start therapy feeling worse, the therapist helps you see progress.
  • There are no signs of unethical behaviors from the therapist.

Trusting your therapist involves believing they are trustworthy, have your best interests at heart, and will handle your vulnerabilities with care. 

Most therapists strive to build this trust as it's central to their job, especially if you need counseling for feeling emotionally overwhelmed.

A particular intervention may not suit everyone. Therefore, the right therapist should be able to offer resources and alternatives tailored to your specific needs. 

For instance, if you're treating depression, the therapist's ability to adjust their approach based on your progress is essential.

The journey to personal growth often begins with seeking treatment from a mental health professional. Recognizing the right person to guide you through this process can be challenging. 

A key indicator that your particular therapist is a good match is when you feel at ease sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences with them. 

It's this trust that allows for open dialogue, encourages honesty, and ultimately, fosters healing and growth.



They Respect Your Boundaries

Boundaries could include the length and time of sessions, rules for scheduling, clarity about fees, and limits on personal disclosure and touch. 

A therapist respecting these boundaries is a key sign of a good fit. You can identify if your therapist respects your boundaries if they adhere to the agreed-upon rules and guidelines, avoid excessive self-disclosure, respect your comfort zone, and ensure that their actions and conversations remain within the professional context.

Additionally, a good therapist should encourage you to express your needs and assert your boundaries, fostering a safe, respectful, and healthy therapeutic environment. 


They Show Empathy and Understanding

Empathy in therapy is akin to a warm embrace, where your therapist truly understands and shares your feelings.

This could manifest in several ways: they might mirror your emotions subtly, validating your experiences without overshadowing them; they might articulate your feelings when you struggle to find the words, demonstrating their deep understanding of your emotional state; or they might simply listen attentively, offering silent solidarity.

For example, if you're recounting a particularly painful memory, an empathic therapist might acknowledge your pain with phrases like "That sounds really hard" or "I can see why you'd feel upset about this." 

They might also show understanding by remembering important details from your previous sessions or by acknowledging the strength it took for you to share your story.

In essence, empathy in therapy looks like feeling seen, heard, and understood on a profound level. 



They Challenge You in a Constructive Way

Therapists may employ a variety of styles to challenge clients, ranging from robust-confrontative to gentle-empathic.

For instance, they might use the technique of cognitive restructuring to help you identify and challenge unhelpful thought patterns, or employ constructive confrontation to highlight incongruences and conflicts in your process. 

A therapist might also gently push back when a client consistently changes topics to avoid uncomfortable subjects. Importantly, these challenges are always balanced with empathy and respect for the client's comfort level. 

The goal is not to create discomfort but to foster an environment where clients can safely step out of their comfort zones and engage in meaningful self-exploration and growth.


You Are Making Progress With Them

Identifying progress in therapy can be a deeply personal and unique experience, as it varies greatly depending on individual goals and timelines.

Progress may manifest as increased self-awareness, improved emotional regulation, a decrease in symptoms of stress or anxiety, or positive changes in relationships.

It might also look like acquiring new coping mechanisms and applying them in real-life situations, or achieving set therapeutic goals. 

You might notice that you're thinking differently about problems, reacting differently to triggers, or feeling more confident and at ease. 

Essentially, if you're feeling better, functioning better, or finding more satisfaction in your life, it's a good indication that you're making progress with your therapist. 


How to Address Concerns with Your Therapist

If you have concerns about your therapy process, it's crucial to voice these to your therapist. You could start by expressing your feelings directly and honestly during your session, ensuring to use "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory. For instance, "I feel uncomfortable when..." or "I don't feel I'm making progress because...". 

Your therapist should be open to feedback and willing to adjust their approach to better suit your needs. If, despite your efforts, the issues persist or your therapist reacts defensively, it might be time to consider finding a new therapist.

This decision is deeply personal and should be made based on your comfort level, the quality of the therapeutic relationship, and your progress toward your mental health goals.


Get Matched to the Right Provider

Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.


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Conclusion

Finding the right fit with a therapist is not just important, but crucial for your mental health journey. 

A good therapist should make you feel comfortable, respected, and understood while maintaining professional boundaries and helping you make progress. 

If you're experiencing any red flags, it's essential to communicate your concerns openly or consider seeking a new therapist.

Prioritizing your mental health is an act of self-care and self-respect. Don't settle for less than what you need - finding the right therapist might take time and patience, but it's worth the effort for the positive impact it can have on your life. 


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July 17th, 2024

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