As Twitter user JulianaKilrose stated, “I tell everybody and they mama that I go to therapy. I’m hoping it counteracts the stigma attached to it.” I was ecstatic to read that tweet because I do the same thing. I have no problem telling my loved ones that I attend therapy. But, as I observe my peers around me, I have realized that people love to tell others to go to therapy but fail to provide the proper guidance on what to look for in a therapist. Personally, I met with a few ineffective therapists before I found one that I meshed with. My various therapy experiences have allowed me to think through the must-have traits every effective therapist should have. Ahead, I am sharing the five qualities your therapist must display in order for your sessions to be helpful.
1. Adequate Training and Education
It’s important to take some time to vet the therapist you’re considering seeing. You want to connect with a therapist who has the proper education and expertise to help you. Look at where they went to college, what they studied, and the amount of time they’ve been practicing therapy. When selecting a therapist, you may also want to work with someone who specializes in your specific issues. For example: If you’re dealing with family or relationship issues, it’s best to visit a counselor who focuses on those matters.
2. Effective Listening Skills
For therapy to work, the client and the therapist must actively listen and engage with each other. After the client shares what’s on their mind, the therapist’s questions and comments should be useful and thoughtful. This indicates the therapist prioritzes listening intently to their clients.
3. Provides Active Solutions
In therapy, the client and the therapist will brainstorm ways to cope in different areas of life. At the end of a session, a good therapist will provide you with tasks to complete to make sure you are actively making changes to enhance your life.
I remember when I was a little girl and struggled to tie my shoes. My dad and mom would always say, “Don’t worry, you will tie your shoes soon. You will learn as long as you are patient, and you keep trying.” An effective therapist will also display this level of positivity and reassurance towards their clients, making them feel confident they will reach their therapy goals.
Therapy sessions often involve divulging the contents of your heart and soul. That’s why clients need to be able to wholeheartedly trust their therapist. Do you feel as if this person will keep your conversations private? Do you feel safe and protected? Those are the types of questions a client needs to ask themselves when seeking out a therapist. Follow your intuition and ask yourself if this person deserves to listen to your personal issues and thoughts.
After reading this, my hope is that you find a therapist that fits your needs. Speaking from experience, I know that finding an effective therapist can be hard. As mentioned, I went through a few unsatisfactory experiences before I found a therapist I liked. Finding a good therapist may take some time, but it is worth the wait as a good therapist can help navigate you through the highs and lows of life.
Have you been to therapy before, sweat sisters? Share your thoughts on therapy in the comments!