I am a marriage and family therapist who specializes in anxiety/trauma/relational therapy. I am always open and interested in hearing what people who have experienced therapy have to say as well as what others who haven't tried it have to say. Please feel free to ask me anything about what to expect from a good therapist!
Like it on Facebook, +1 on Google, Tweet it or share this question on other bookmarking websites.
The worst experience I had with a therapist was a young woman, who was still in school. She tried too hard to have a "relaxing" voice/demeanor, and it felt fake and just generally stupid to me. Plus all she ever did was go "mmhmm", "mmm", and "how does that make you feel?"...all of which is entirely useless, if that's ALL they have to offer.
The best experience I had was with one of the therapists who led me CBT group...who actually got to know ME, as a person, and MY disorder. She paid attention to what created positive changes in me, and actually focussed on those specific areas/etc. She asked the right questions to get me to figure out what was happening in my own head, and gave me exactly the right information that *I* needed to truly blossom.
I've had several experiences in between (and I've excluded the throw-drugs-at-you type of "therapist", as I don't consider that a therapist), these are the high and low. From this point on, if I need therapy again, I will never settle for anything less than what my CBT instructor had to offer.
So...my expectation/what I hope to get from a therapist is actual personalized therapy. Get to know me, and treat ME. Because everyone is different. Sadly, in my experience, this has been a very tough quality to find.
Thanks! That sounds like exactly what I do so I'm glad to hear it and your CBT therapist sounds awesome! CBT is such a great model - I'm sure you benefited from it! :-) And I'm glad to hear if you had a therapist you didn't like you moved on. There's no law that says you have to stay with the first person you meet!
I've been meeting with therapists for about seven years. I started when I was 14 and went through an unexpected period of depression for the first time. It took a few different tries before I found one that I liked. The most important things for me were good social cues, listening skills (I can't stand being interrupted) and someone who could give me a completely different perspective. With the therapist I had for three years, he helped me to come to that "Aha!" moment, that epiphany where my next steps to handle a person or situation were clear to me. I ended up needing someone to talk to about generalized anxiety, social anxiety, eating disorders, drug and alcohol problems, mood swings, panic attacks, and we are now discovering an "undiagnosed personality disorder." I like therapists who are not big on diagnoses. I feel like so many people look at a diagnosis like a crystal ball, which leads to thinking like, "If I have depression, that means I cannot be happy." And it's so easy to diagnose anyone. You have mood swings? You are bipolar. We all experience at least a little bit of every disorder out there. Okay I am rambling on now and getting off track. My last therapist who I sadly had to stop seeing because I moved out of state, was fantastic. He was enthusiastic, uplifting, and had wonderful analogies. I'm a visual and kinesthetic learner, so it helped when he had me do assignments. He really challenged me to learn about myself and really look at my behaviors from a different perspective. I now have started seeing a new therapist and I hope to try a CBT program, so who knows what my next experience will be!
I have become very cynical over therapists. My very first introduction was at about 20-something. The guy said he had strep throat or something than proceeded to communicate with me via his computer screen. That was not pleasant. Than I had the therapist who, upon meeting me, said "can you please not wear cologne here? Some of the others therapists/doctors are sensitive to smells. Than there was the lady who got up in the middle of a session to move her car because it was street sweeping day or something. So, my advice is to actually listen. Show interest and treat your clients like they are the most important thing for that 45-60 minutes.
Thank you SAD_girl and Jonos! Luckily listening and paying attention to people is my specialty! I guess I am wondering what people find most helpful and least helpful. So far, it sounds like I'm right on the money lol!