Angry Shrink

As a therapist I would love to hear what people are looking for. Could anyone out there tell me what you hope to get or expect from a therapist? Are you afraid to go to one?

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!
Posted in Therapy, asked by Erin Doolittle, 2 years ago. 1786 hits.

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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!
SADgirl_814
2 years ago

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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!
Angry Shrink
2 years ago

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I would just like two things in a therapist currently. 1) to actually find one!!! and 2) not a mean one! So far I found 2 therapists - literally called every place in NJ - and when I went to them, they did nothing but belittle me, made me even more nervous by their attitudes, didn't even give me enough time to answer their questions and told me to leave and go somewhere else!
a guest
2 years ago

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I've been to just one therapy session with a CBT practitioner and found it excruciating. I suffer from social anxiety, and the session felt like an interrogation to me. I guess he was trying to assess my issues and level of anxiety and goals, but he made me feel like I wasn't answering "correctly," and as if I was supposed to already know everything about my anxiety, what causes it, etc. I was so frustrated...if I knew all that stuff I wouldn't need to be in therapy! Ugh. So discouraged and not going back.
AG
2 years ago

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When I went to a therapist she tried to blame everything on my parents. I have a great relationship with my parents and had a wonderful life and she kept trying to push fake memories or something into my head.
betsyth
2 years ago

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I'm scared to even try to find a therapist. I had some kind of panic attack/breakdown at work over a year ago and had to see a psychiatrist to get the all clear to go back to work. the questions they asked were long, hard, invasive and I agree with one person that the questions made me feel stupid. I had no idea that answering questions about current events or doing math problems in my head was going to be how they decided if I was EMOTIONALLY stable enough to go back to work. I guess I answered enough correctly, but I was made to feel stupid even though I am an intelligent person. Also I feel embarrassed to talk about my fears.
d3d3d
2 years ago

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I am looking for help with my 17 year old daughter, she has been misdiagnosed, over medicated and now that the doctors believe she is correctly diagnosed and medicated things are still very bad. She had been teased for years for dyslexia and weight. She started cutting, bingeing and having suicidal thoughts. She is on buspar, trazadone and Prozac, diagnosed with ocd thoughts, depersonalization, severe depression and anxiety. Been in hospitals, out patient programs, changed schools to a therapeutic school. trying to get her to exercise and eat right but she doesn't care and doesn't seem to want to improve, we are desperate for nay advice you may have. She has no self worth ad is afraid to graduate high school, fears there is nothing for her. she is bright funny beautiful and amazing but she thinks we are lying when we tell her
Karen1234
2 years ago

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I have always had therapists, the ones i liked and worked well with worked with me! things i didnt like about others : - scared me because pushed too much.. i did a little acomplishment (huge for me) and they would want to do something else straight away - being told they understand. this annoys me.. my therapist says he gets what im saying and will speak WITH me instead of TO me. so i dont feel like another case... i feel he wants to help. - i HATED therapists insisting on getting my parents involved "because it would help"... my relationship with my parents wasnt great and last thing i wanted was to feel vunerable. - i didnt like being told "everything will be fine".... i have lived with this all my life. i know its going to get bad.. but then better.. then bad ect. just help me deal with the bad when it comes. it wont go away over night hope this helps you :)
desc
one year ago

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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!
Angry Shrink
2 years ago

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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.
Jonos
2 years ago

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I love my therapist. She is great. I think the most important thing to being a good therapist is actually listening to the patient, what their triggers are, what their fears are, what their goals are, etc., and helping them to come up with coping mechanisms and a plan. Too many times a therapist either isn't accepting certain insurances (especially things like Medicaid or other government funded health care) or they say they will only accept new patients who are at an in-patient treatment center or are hospitalized out of an ER visit. I literally called everyone in my provider book and found no one. Then, I browsed online and found a new practice. I emailed them, and the psychiatrist himself emailed me back and told me to call for an appointment. Between him and his team of PA-C's, RN's, and LSW's, things are going better. I'm still having major issues with things, especially since I have many other conditions that are complicating things at the moment, but it really helps to have a team in place who truly care about the patient's needs.
LovelyLissa
2 years ago

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i'm scared to go to a therapist. i'm afraid they won't believe me,
nessa
2 years ago

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Jonathan Berent and the AKFSA foundation just put out a DVD set for therapist. My therapist and I watched them and our sessions have become extremely productive. I was able to easy identify and relate the areas that caused me to suffer. We both walked away with a common language that helps us communicate where I am at and what is needed to get better. I think most of the problem in therapy for me has been communication. I can hear the words but If I don't have a full understanding of the concepts behind what I am being told its nearly impossible for me to make the changes necessary. Another is knowing what is pertinent. Talking about all the problems of the week can feel good and builds trust and some understanding but learning how to get inside and to the root emotions or dissociation from emotions, erroneous thinking and underdeveloped reasoning etc. that perpetuates the pain and anxiety and stops acceptance and healing from occurring is much more beneficial
Herewithyou
2 years ago

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Yeah I'd like to find one who isn't so agrresive in her manor with me she's makes me so angry I come out from her feeling worse than what I went in , just to let me talk instead of talking over me then saying I need to talk more as I said to her she seems to do enough for both of us , I think everything she's written down about me is wrong right down to my address and didn't even read the papers my doctor gave me to give her , she's not making me better she's making me feel worse about myself so maybe listen more talk less :-)
shazzal
2 years ago

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I Think , First of all, we need to establish whether a person is a Standalone Anxiety sufferer, or has anxiety as a side issue with illnesses such as Bipolar/or,,Personality Disorders..etc. Anxiety by itself, with maybe OCD thrown in which it usually is, IS by itself, reasonably easy to deal with and give a person a real sense of being "healed"..Its perhaps when the anxiety is an issue assocated with deep Depression/Bipolar etc that Treatment takes time and does involve the use of Anti-depressants.,,as a necessity in the the treatment. .. I C a Lot of people on this Site which it is so obvious that they suffer NOT just from anxiety but other issues also and seeking then some relief from their anxiety, which is almost impossible, UNLESS the Illness is treated first as a priority.Trying to treat anxiety that is associated with a mental illness never works until the actual illness is first treated medically..Certainly it may involve treatment for both the anxiety and illness,,but each treatment must go side by side.,,for any cure to be ascertained.
doc keven
2 years ago

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Hello i have been in and out of therapy since i was 8 im 34 now i have fired many therapists and shrinks . the last one i fired i knew more about her her kid and her b/f than she knew about me . I have had others who i was counseling and others who where just not up to the challenge . One who sticks out the most was the one who had an anxiety attack when i told her about just one little piece of my life . Honesty is the most important thing you can provide for your client . If your patient feels like they can not trust you well there will never be any progress for your client or yourself . Dont beat around the bush get to the point people come to you for many reasons and sometimes on alot crap that makes paying attention a bit tough . Know the services in your area that your current and future clients may need , its so discouraging when you find out your therapist knows less about your options than you do . Possibly make contacts with other organizations even before you have a client in need of outside services . Think outside the box the book and your teachers havent met your client . your client is an entirely different book than the one you read getting your degree . When you get burnt out get out otherwise your just wasting some sick persons time . You have no idea how many mental health workers are out there just collecting a check doing the necessary paper work for insurance purposes . Let your clients know what exactly you can do for them if they do not allready know . I had no idea what the hell counseling was supposed to do for the first 6-7 years i was in it . The more you expand your knowledge the more you will benefit any client that walks through the door . If you don't know the answer to a question make sure the next time the client walks through the door you have found or tried to find the answer . Im sure you will be a great therapist just ask all your clients the same question you asked here . Show that you care enough to help so they will be able to open up enough for you to help .
Skitz
2 years ago

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I've only been to one therapist. And lost my insurance before finding a new one. The one I had was an awful experience. It started out okay. But it started to go downhill. One time she got offended because I mentioned that I didn't like living in the area. She would get impatient with me and made me feel like I was wrong to feel the way I was feeling. She would lecture me sometimes. And I have was having an issue with someone...she would interrupt my talking and defend them. My last session with her was the worst. Everything I said she came back with rather negative responses. Not really sure how to explain it...but I don't think I ever felt more judged. I left that session feeling at least 10 times worse about myself than I ever did. I got in the car and just broke into tears. My boyfriend was just like...you are not going back. Honestly, I'm pretty hesitant to try again. I know therapy can work and it's about finding the right one. But since my one experience made me feel so much worse...I struggle with attempting again. and I know I need help.
kb4306
2 years ago

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I'm on my first therapist right now, and she's foreign. I like her and all, and I trust her, but for some reason, her accent make me trust her a TINY BIT less. I still trust her, but you know what I mean. I haven't learned any skills yet, but she played a game with me and my grandmother, and I learned a little bit about her too, and I felt good around her. Only thing is, I haven't started my coping skills with her yet...
littletea
2 years ago

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What I look for in a therapist is someone who listens to all of my concerns, and is willing to give me hope. Hope that things can be ok, and that medication isn't the only way to be ok. Reassurance that what I'm experiencing isn't out of the range of normal. I've seen a few therapist and Drs over the last year and half. My anxiety came out of no where (palpitations, etc..). I believe it's a lot form internal stress and guilt from some decisions I made and how it's affecting my ability to function well in my marriage. I've done a lot to work through it on my own, but feel like I need help. No one has listened to this or been willing to help me work through it. I believe this stress could be causing a lot of problems for me in how I feel. I think people just want to be heard and understood. I want a therapist to take their time, and I need explanations and reasons for things. It's great you care so much, lucky patients!
Melliss82
one year ago

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I have always been too scared to go to the doctors so therapy seems to big a step to work up to. There's little education surrounding the expectations of therapy and this unknown element does not work well with my social anxiety. I have tried counselling and it just felt like an interrogation and I didn't want to explain everything at once as it was too overwhelming:- it just highlighted her lack of knowledge about me and made me feel alien. I think a questionnaire to start or a full online based programme would be better as it helps the initial anxiety. Hope this helped! HRB
HRBowes
one year ago

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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.
Asho_DirtyPoo
2 years ago

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I expect to not deal with the why but the what. I was abused as a child and so I don't need a Pdoc to tell me that can cause trauma in adulthood. I don't want a Pdoc who acts more like a drug dealer and thinks there is one answer. I want to be heard. If I say I need help with structure I want help with structure. I don't care about what you have done or accomplished. I want to know how we can work as a team to help me. I expect you to keep your appts and not double book. If I wait I expect to be reimbursed for my time (I have a job also that pays for my visit). Whatever you are writing you better be ready to share it because I may ask to see it. I have been to a lot of Pdocs, therapists, and the like and have had one good one. I didn't even see him for anxiety yet he helped me the most. I would still see him but I moved very far away. The countless others were absolutely worthless and have made me cynical of therapists. With all that said I am giving another go. I am getting a referral Monday since the woman recommended to me did not work out.
Hammerhead
2 years ago
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