Your therapist should be comfortable re-evaluating your treatment plan. They should be open to shifting gears if you aren’t responding well or their insights aren’t being activated.
Good therapists make you feel validated and understood. They don’t make you think they approve of your thoughts or actions, but rather that they know them.
Listening would be the easiest part of a therapist’s job, but it can be challenging. Clients are often nervous about their feelings, especially if they’ve never told anyone else. Aetna therapists in Seattle who listen attentively to their clients can help them overcome these barriers and feel more comfortable.
A great therapist will listen to both verbal and nonverbal cues. They’ll also pay attention to their facial expressions and body posture. They’ll check in with their clients regularly to see how they’re feeling about therapy and how they’re progressing toward the treatment goals they set together.
It’s important to ask a potential therapist about their previous experience treating your problem. While many therapists specialize in certain areas of human psychology, your problem may fall outside their expertise. A good therapist can identify when that’s the case and offer alternative suggestions. They’ll also be open to your feedback, even if it means changing course entirely. The goal is to get you the best results possible.
They Ask Questions
During the first-appointment session, therapists often ask questions to help clients feel comfortable opening up. Unlike friends or family who may share their own opinions or tell them what to do, an effective therapist will only ask questions that encourage open-ended responses. This helps a client gain new perspectives and develop solutions.
In addition to asking open-ended questions, a good therapist will consider how clients respond to specific questions. A stoic silence or light-hearted approach to an issue a client takes seriously can cause them to close up. A therapist will consider each client’s personality and tailor their approach to their needs.
They’ll also ask about a client’s coping skills and what methods they’ve tried to tackle their problem. This allows them to understand a patient’s background, culture, and beliefs and ensure they are prepared to handle what they might bring to the session. If they’re not, a good therapist will offer to refer them to someone who is. This is a sign of respect and shows that they care about their client’s mental health.
They Don’t Give Opinions
A good therapist understands that they don’t have all the answers and knows therapy is about building autonomy. This is why a good therapist doesn’t give advice or tell you what decisions to make. Instead, they guide you through understanding yourself and your problems, helping you reach your conclusions about where to go next.
A therapist should be open to a client’s religion, cultural background, and specific prohibitions on certain topics. They should also be respectful and not blatantly criticize or demean clients for their beliefs, opinions, or behaviors.
Additionally, they should be willing to establish a partnership with you by discussing goals for therapy that both of you can agree on. This is known as the therapeutic alliance, and it’s a solid predictor of treatment success. A therapist hesitant to establish this relationship may not be the best fit for you. However, if your therapist can form this alliance and is willing to work with you on your therapy goals, they might be the one for you.
They’re Open to Alternatives
Many people change therapists or even quit therapy altogether because they realize that their needs aren’t being met. This can be frustrating for everyone involved.
A good therapist will only get stuck in one approach to treatment and only shift gears if it works out. They will also recognize their limitations and seek professional advice or supervision from a peer or supervisor when needed.
In addition, a therapist should be open to trying different methods of communication during their free 15-minute consultations, which is an opportunity for potential clients to see how they connect with a therapist before committing to regular sessions. For example, some therapists offer live video or phone calls, while others only provide text messaging.
It is also essential for a therapist to avoid judgment, as this oppressive behavior limits individuals and suggests that they are not capable of taking charge of their mental health or doing the hard work it takes to recover. This is why a therapist should be nonjudgmental and affirming of their client’s feelings, which will empower them to work on their recovery.
They Take the Time to Educate themselves.
A therapist’s job is to understand and interpret your feelings and teach you how to change them. To that end, effective therapists continually seek to improve themselves. They may read books and articles or participate in online communities to learn from other’s experiences and develop their skills.
They can distill complex concepts into accessible language and clarify their explanations. If they notice that you’re having trouble understanding what they say, they take the time to explain it differently or ask if you need clarification.
Therapists are often sensitive to the way they’re perceived, and they work hard to avoid bringing their emotional baggage into sessions. They also recognize that sometimes, people change therapists or decide to discontinue treatment for a variety of reasons. They’re comfortable broaching the subject with you and offering a referral to someone they feel would be a better fit. This is a sign that they care about their clients and their success in therapy. They’re invested in your well-being and in helping you achieve your goals.