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July 3, 2022
Finding The Right Therapist For You

Dylan Lowartz

Woman taking notes while looking at her laptop excited to find her therapist match.

The Benefits Of Therapy Increase If You’re Selective Of Your Therapist

Just as you have your own personality and preferences, so does each therapist. If you’re new to therapy or have had a less-than-positive experience with a previous therapist (outside of Shift, of course!), I hope this blog will help you gain confidence in finding the right help for you.

New to therapy? 

Finding a therapist can be intimidating, and a negative experience with one therapist can make you second guess whether therapy will work for you. Your connection with your therapist will determine how and what you talk about, how much you trust their insight, and whether or not you get the full value of your experience.
This is why it is so important to utilize the 15-minute free consultations (meet and greets) to find a therapist you can trust and who can help you with your challenges and concerns.

What are some things to consider when testing the waters with a free consultation?

To get the most out of your consultation time, we recommend the following:

  1. Ask what they expect from you. Do their expectations align with yours?
  2. Tell them what you’re looking to get out of therapy, and what your goals for therapy are. 
  3. Ask about their methods. Are they likely to give you homework and exercises or will it be more talk therapy?

If you feel that this therapist may not be the best fit, ask if they have a recommendation for you. This helping profession has a massive network and we want to find the right therapist for you. We make it our mission to help clients find the right fit and we stand by our Therapist Fit Guarantee Policy. If you still haven’t found the right fit for you, let our team know. 

Tried therapy but didn’t click with the therapist?

If you’ve already tried therapy but didn’t click with the therapist, I encourage you to reflect on what didn’t work for you in that experience.

  1. Did you feel they were engaged in the way you expected?
  2. Did you feel that the therapist could not connect or relate to you?
  3. Did you feel there was too much homework or a lack of validation?
  4. Was there something about the therapist that made it difficult to be comfortable?

Having been both an “unsuitable” and a “perfect fit” for potential clients, I can assure you that just because one therapist couldn’t establish a therapeutic bond with you doesn’t mean no therapist can.

Both an unsuitable and a perfect fit

I am a white male who, as an ally, can recognize that I am afforded many privileges in Western society that various other groups are not. After two sessions with a client who identified as a person of colour, I asked them how our therapy sessions were going for them. They disclosed that they felt they could not engage with me in the same way as they had with their previous therapist, a non-white female. 

They said they could see that I was trying my best to connect, but at the end of the day, they didn’t feel that they could be as open with a therapist who identifies as a white male because of the differences between our cultural backgrounds and lived experiences. The remainder of this second and final session involved looking for their ideal therapist, who could help them with their initial therapeutic goals and who was also a better fit for their needs in a therapeutic relationship. 

Another client informed me in a consultation that her previous therapist only gave her worksheets and homework, but what she needed was a therapist who would include more validating and talk therapy about the life events that have led them to the struggles they were facing. As my therapeutic approach is very client-centred, our therapeutic relationship allowed my client to achieve many of the goals they set during therapy. 

That’s why meet and greets are so important — they’re an opportunity to get an idea of what it will be like to work with that therapist and to identify any potential barriers.

Going back to the basics

Here are a few takeaways to remember when looking for a therapist:

  1. Secure a couple of 15-minute consultations (or “meet and greets”, as we call them at Shift.)
  2. Ask questions (e.g. expectations, therapeutic style, etc.).
  3. Be clear with your therapist about what your needs and goals are, and what you think may work or not work for you.
  4. During those first interactions (consultations and initial session), consider: 
  • Do you feel a connection with them? 
  • Do you feel like they’re listening to you? 
  • Do you feel comfortable being open with them?

Shopping around for a therapist sounds like an odd phrase, but therapists are not one-size-fits-all, and you deserve to find that perfect match to help you on your wellness journey.

If you’d like to dig deeper into the building blocks of therapy, click here to grab our guide on Therapy Basics. Whenever you’re ready, you can get matched with one or more therapists have a free consultation with each.

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