Therapists have different styles, and to achieve your therapy goals, you have to find a therapist who has a style that works for you and your specific needs. One of the best ways to find the right therapist is to schedule a consultation session, so you can get to know the therapist and their approach to counseling. I’m Christine Tomasello, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Founder of Beachside Counseling, a boutique private practice offering therapy in San Diego and throughout California. In this blog, I’ll walk through a few of the things you should be looking for when you schedule a consultation visit with a new therapist.
Here are some easy ways to tell if your therapist is a good fit for you...
1) You Feel Seen, Heard, and Understood
One of the greatest gifts a therapist can offer their clients is to really see them and listen with judgement-free support and understanding. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to your therapist about the big stuff during a consultation, that’s okay — it can take time to feel safe enough to talk about your feelings with someone new. But if that feeling persists over time, it could be that it isn't a good fit for you and you may want to explore working with another therapist.
2) You Feel Challenged But Not Pushed
Change is an important part of therapy. If you’re visiting with a counselor, that usually means you want to achieve something or make some positive progress. It’s to be expected that your therapist will help you try to develop self-awareness or expand your comfort zone. You’re not working with a therapist because you want them to tell you what you want to hear. You’re working with a therapist so you can grow and become the most satisfied and authentic version of yourself, which often means feeling a bit challenged by your therapist. That being said, if you ever feel unsafe, or pushed too far, or like you’re not ready, it’s okay to set boundaries (even with your therapist).
3) You Feel Validated
No matter what concerns bring you to therapy, your therapist should always validate your experience. That doesn’t mean they’ll always tell you that you’re right, but it does mean that they will tell you that what you’re thinking and feeling is valid and okay. If a therapist makes you feel as though your experience is not valid, they may not be the right fit for you.
4) You Don't Feel like You’re “Too Much” for Them
Therapists are trained to handle pretty big issues and you shouldn't feel like your "too much" for your therapist. Every therapist will do their best to meet you where you are, but not every therapist is equipped to address every concern. If you feel as though you’re talking too fast, thinking too deeply, or expressing more complex emotions or issues than a therapist is equipped to handle, you might want to consider looking for a better fit. Your therapy session is a space where you should feel safe to be vulnerable— if you feel like what you’re bringing to the session may be too much for them, it may not be the right therapist for you.
Looking for a Therapist Who’s a Good Fit?
If you’re looking for a therapist who utilizes a collaborative and client-centered approach to therapy that is future-focused to help clients set and achieve goals, reach out and schedule a time to connect. I practice at Beachside Counseling in San Diego, CA. You can schedule a your first session by completing my contact form, calling me at (858) 863-8695, or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know life has its challenges, but it doesn't have to be harder than it needs to be. I'm here to support you through life's ups and downs and I look forward to hearing from you.
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About the Author
Christine Tomasello is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Founder of Beachside Counseling in San Diego, CA, where she helps clients work through grief and loss, major life changes, and challenging relationship patterns. Christine identifies as a helper, healer, and highly sensitive person (HSP), and specializes in working with other therapists, helpers, healers, and HSPs.