Choosing to pursue therapy is a significant decision that could help you resolve challenges, answer tough questions and improve your life in various ways. However, not every therapist is the right fit for your needs. With so many choices available, how do you find a counselor who meets you where you are and wants what’s best for you? Here are some qualities to look for.
1. They Demonstrate Active Listening Skills
Listening requires more than passively sitting and absorbing someone’s comments. A great therapist will not only hear what you’re saying, but they’ll also signify that they’ve understood you by asking questions, making you feel validated and expounding upon things you’ve mentioned. They’ll also exhibit nonverbal cues such as establishing eye contact and maintaining open, receptive body language.
2. They’ve Achieved Professional Certification
Check to ensure your therapist has met the professional certification requirements for your state. Depending on where you live, these prerequisites can include earning a master’s degree or higher from an accredited university and passing your state-administered counseling exam.
3. They Have Your Best Interests at Heart
A great therapist knows their role is to educate you on available resources and make recommendations that respect your free will. You should never feel like your counselor is pushing you to do something you’re not comfortable with or that might represent a setback for you. A great therapist will respect decisions you make about your treatment, such as putting therapy on hold for a bit or supplementing your therapy by consulting with another professional.
4. You Notice an Improvement
Within your first couple of months of therapy, you should start seeing positive changes in your mood, thought patterns and overall outlook on life. This growth may be incremental at first, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see meaningful results right away. Still, it’s valuable to take time to evaluate your progress and discuss it with your counselor.
5. They’re Willing to Adapt to Meet Your Needs
Therapy shouldn’t feel like a cookie-cutter experience. A great therapist will have an array of tools and techniques they can draw from if a specific approach isn’t working well for you. At the same time, if your counselor is leading you in a direction that doesn’t feel valuable to pursue at the moment, they should be willing to shift gears according to your needs.
6. You Feel Confident You Can Trust Them
Trust is a vital ingredient in the client-therapist relationship. When you feel safe and supported in the counseling environment, you can confide in them without fear of judgment. You should know whether you trust your therapist after only a few treatment sessions. If you don’t, it might not be worth staying around to find out if they’ll eventually earn your trust.
Effective Addiction Therapy
If you’re struggling with a dual diagnosis of a substance use disorder and a mental health challenge such as depression or PTSD, you need a treatment program that can address both issues simultaneously. Spearhead Lodge is a preeminent extended-care facility specifically catering to men’s unique needs, with a team of highly credentialed therapists who specialize in addiction treatment. We can give you the tools and life skills you need to break the cycle of addiction and rebuild your life. Reach out today to learn more.