Hope Psychology Group Inc.

Where there is hope, there is life.

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How to Choose a Psychotherapist or Counselor

Most people spend more time buying a car than searching for the right therapist. But research indicates that the empathetic ability of a therapist is as critical as theoretical knowledge in determining whether you will benefit from counseling. Therapeutic strategies and techniques can be very powerful when used by a therapist who is inherently helpful and genuine. Other characteristics to consider are authenticity, nonpossessive warmth, and a sense of humor. When making your decision, consider the following questions:

  1. Does the therapist have a pleasant disposition, a sense of humor, and appear to be functioning well personally?

  2. Do you feel safe, comfortable, and at ease with the therapist?

  3. Is the therapist honest, nondefensive, and empathetic?

  4. Is the therapist willing to explain his or her approach to your problem, including strategies and goals?

  5. Is the therapist rigid in approach or flexible and open to your input?

  6. Does the therapist listen silently, like a blank screen, or do you feel you are getting some sensible and generally helpful input?

  7. Does the therapist answer your questions and concerns directly rather than always asking what you think?

  8. Is the therapist willing to apologize when mistaken or inconsiderate?

  9. Does the therapist give appropriate feedback, or are you left with constant doubts about how the therapist perceives you?

  10.  Do the therapist’s strategies and techniques show care and concern for you as well as others?

  11.  If you are interested, is the therapist willing to see your love partner or other significant people in your life?

  12.  After the session, do you feel more hopeful and empowered, with higher self-esteem?

Therapists should be always be willing to explain their assessment of your case, their strategies, and treatment goals. This allows you to play an active role in your own treatment, making therapy that much more effective.