Tanya Ruckstuhl Valenti, LICSW

Finding a Therapist Who Won't Make You Crazy(er)

By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW

Do they sound intelligent and interested in your situation? Have they worked with other people dealing with similar situations or problems? If they don’t have any openings, ask who they would recommend. Good therapists can refer potential clients to other good therapists.

Before you walk into a therapist’s office keep in mind that therapy is not friendship. Therapy involves a balanced combination of support and challenge. Therapists who are too supportive will not help you develop insight and change problematic patterns.

On the other hand, therapists that are too confrontational don’t provide the emotional safety needed for change. Everyone has their own unique spot on the support-confront continuum so you need to find a therapist whose blend works for you. For this reason, a therapist who worked wonders for your neighbor may leave you feeling needled and annoyed.

Finally, think about your goals for attending therapy. Some common ones include communicating with and relating better to the people in your life, rediscovering enjoyment, reacting more calmly to life’s challenges, not beating yourself up emotionally, learning how to set boundaries with others, letting go of old resentments, feeling more hopeful about your future.

Write down and bring your goals into your therapy session. Talk with your therapist about what you are looking for. You have a much better chance of getting there if you have a destination in mind. cont'd

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