Choosing A Good Therapist

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 3:00
Posted in category Divorce
<div class=\"postavatar\">Choosing A Good Therapist</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle

Choosing A Good Therapist


To one degree or another, all of us have stress or stressors in our lives to varying degrees. For some, it’s the fear and worry over things like the Crisis in the Gulf, for others. It’s P.M.S. If things are not going well in your mariage or you’ve just started or finished a divorce, working through that stress with a good therapist can help support you, lessen the stress and give you perspective. Stresses can be daily, weekly, monthly, annually or even can go back originating from many years ago. These can range from childhood sexual abuse to post‑traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for Vietnam or Gulf War veterans or rape trauma victims. Maybe even your parents divorce from you childhood is still affecting you, even though you can’t see the direct connection today. Folks who are on their fourth marriage might conceed this.

For most people, stress comes from the daily grind of raising children, disliking your boss, car problems, bills to pay or chronic pain. This is evidenced by the number of people who suffer from gastro‑intestinal problems, heart conditions, divorce rates, addicted personalities, not to mention the increasing number of reported child abuse.

If you don’t fit one of the above categories, you probably know a good number of people who might. As Steve Martin would say, “If you got it, you need to go to the doctor and get rid of it.” Now comes the hard part. You have decided that you are ready to address the problems at hand, which doctor, therapist, counselor, spiritual advisor or self help program do you choose? And how do you know whether you’ve made the right choice?

Half of the professionals willing to help you aren’t even qualified or don’t accept your insurance. Or, they may take such a small part that it runs out quickly. Some of this is due to the fact that some treatment professionals have abused the health care system so badly.

Let’s assume you’ve narrowed the field to the appropriate type of care provider; now how do you choose the right one? Here are some questions that might help you:

1. What is the exact cost for each service rendered and each session?


2. Does my insurance cover it and/or how much insurance do I have? What are my deductibles? Does my insurance need to be pre‑approved?


3. What are the counselors credentials‑ professionally? What is the scope of his or her practice in relation to my problem?


4. What personal experience does the therapist have with my particular problem?


5. What philosophy of treatment or approaches does this professional prefer to use regarding the problem?


6. Who knows that I’m seeing this professional and how much do they know?


7. What other referrals and resources are available in conjunction with my treatment!


6. How long does this professional usually treat clients with similar problems?


9. What other services does the therapist offer in addition to what he or they are listed for?


10. Does the professional have any special credentialing license or certification regarding the problems I want to work on?

Be very careful of the following things when choosing a therapist:

You get what you pay for. Cheaper is not always better. The money you save because insurance will pick up the tab may not get you the best clinician for the job. Occasionally, the therapist who charges less is better.

Avoid those who make guarantees. When it comes to the human mind and emotions, anyone who makes guarantees should make you run the other way. Clinicians who can admit their faults and shortcomings usually fall under the category of “honesty is the best/only policy”. Credentialed professionals in most cases have achieved the necessary education, experience and knowledge base to treat the problems within their grasp.

Beware of individuals who practice or proclaim to practice therapy under various holistic tides/titles. These people may be very helpful, but more often than not, may send you down unhealthy, expensive paths as well as paths that ONLY lead you in one direction, thiers.

Specifically credentialed therapists and specialists have gone above and beyond just the basics. Testing, interviewing and evaluating your therapist should help you in deciding whether or not to continue with a particular professional.  Do not be afraid to fire or switch/change therapists/clinicians if’ after several visits you are not getting anything positive from that individual or feel any forward progress or relief. Discuss your needs, because although therapists are skilled individuals for the most part, they are not mind readers. However some exceptional therapists do not play games and can get to your feelings and core issues very fast and the pain could get intense quickly. The tendency is to bail because it hurts and they hit all the right buttons.  Chances are if they got that much emotion that fast they are on the right path and may also provide the fast track to change or solutions. If it hurts that bad tell them and ASK what they can recommend to help you ease thru it or get support.  A good therapist will know when to back off the gas and when to press on.

Stick with the recommended course of treatment long enough to see some results. Remember, most therapy starts out painful and may make you ‘uncomfortable’. This is a good sign that the clinician is making progress and addressing your needs. If your marriage is in trouble having a separate therapist from your ‘couples counselor/mairrage counselor, family therapist’ who is there for you specifically can be a smart move. Some therapist can wear the marriage, divorce or family hats equally well, some specialize and some only wear one. Get what you need to get better or get on.

Last but not least, therapy doesn’t start until the therapist gets there. Many therapists are so entrenched in their own problems and pain and sometimes have problems of their own which may make them at times unhelpful, disconnected, abusive or even damaging to their clients.


A good therapist is not only a good listener, but also provides practical options, solutions and direction without becoming attached, intrusive or distorting boundaries with their clients. They also make you work for your own answers and shouldn’t hand you too many directions/answers without letting you discover them after some hard work. For what it is worth, it is a lot easier on this side of the desk since retirement and if you are currently in therapy, making the progress you feel you should be making, bravo! Stick with what works, change what doesn’t.  Please remember our posts are for entertainment purposes only our experience here is just that ‘our experience’, what’s your’s?

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2 Responses to “Choosing A Good Therapist”

  1. Lucious says:

    April 23rd, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know this, thanks.

  2. Maland says:

    April 15th, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Thanks for the info, I don’t read a lot of blogs on a daily basis but I will be bookmarking yours and stopping by often. Also, I like the theme you have here, it makes it easy to get to what I am looking for and doesnt distract me to the point that I have to leave,. Did you style your comments like this or is this how your theme was setup originally?

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