Choosing a psychotherapist represents one of the single most important decisions anyone is ever likely to face within the course of their life. It’s no secret that a leading therapist with an exceptional track record has the very real potential to help their clients find the answers they didn’t know were there and to map out a better life they may not have realised was a possibility. At the same time however the opposite is true on the other end of the scale – choose poorly and a lacklustre therapist could in fact make things worse than they already are.
This is why it’s of crucial importance to exercise a good degree of proactivity when it comes to the selection process. Not only this, but any prospective client should also be on the lookout for a few critical warning signs that tend to pop up on occasion during the earliest stages in the process, which in any and all cases represent just cause for walking away and looking elsewhere.
So, if you find yourself ticking any of the following boxes, give genuine thought to seeking out a more capable and/or suitable therapist:
1 – Poor Reliability
First of all, there’s really nothing worse that turning up for your first session of addiction counselling in London only to find out that the therapist is for some reason unavailable. Though to be honest it really doesn’t have to get this far, as if they seem to be generally unreliable when it comes to punctuality, they’re telling you something very clear about whose time matters most. From turning up late to cancelling sessions to knocking-off early, any signs they’re more bothered about their own schedule does not bode well for your need.
2 – Clear Distraction
Something to be on the lookout for from day one is any sign that during the sessions themselves, the therapist’s mind is not 100% focused on you and you alone. Some examples are more obvious than others – answering the phone, playing with a smartphone, staring out of the window etc. Others however are less apparently but tell the same story – fidgeting, insufficient eye contact, tapping fingers and generally not being focused on you. In any and all such cases, it might be advisable to walk away.
3 – You Just Don’t Quite ‘Click’
One of the less quantifiable sticking points to be aware of is that of whether the two of you ‘click’ or otherwise. Now, there’s of course no need for the two of you to become best friends – bad idea to say the least – but you should at least feel a good connection with them to the point where you trust, respect and are willing to confide in them. If this isn’t the case, how can you possibly tell them the truth and expect them to use this information to help you?
4 – You Feel Intimidated
While some therapists create a wonderfully relaxed open-forum for discussion, others will inherently make you feel like you’ve been cornered by a strict priest looking to drill a confession out of you. Of course there’s nothing to say that the latter won’t get the details they need, but chances are they’ll also trigger your natural defence mechanisms which will mean you’ll shut down, shut off and do your best to say what you think they want you to say. Suffice to say, this latter instance is not what you should be looking for.
5 – Rushed Into Making a Decision
Another example of a trait that’s wholly undesirable and yet quite common in some circles is that of therapists trying to rush their clients into making a decision. This is bad for two reasons – the first of which being that a decision as important as this should never, ever be rushed…a fact every good therapist knows and supports. In addition, there’s also the fact that rushing clients into making decisions is a clear sign of a desperate therapist who literally has to beg and plead to get new clients. So, in both instances, it’s not the kind of deal you want any part of.
6 – No Clear Specialism
Last but not least, if you’re looking for help in a very specific area of your life – addiction, relationships etc. – then it just makes sense to speak to a therapist that specialises in your specific area. After all, a sex therapist may work wonders in some cases, but isn’t perhaps the best port of call for issues following bereavement. Do your best to find a therapist that’s focused on what you need, then just make sure that they are.