Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock Therapists are constantly asking you about your thoughts on your life experiences, so don’t be afraid to turn the tables on them and ask them for their input. “If there’s any question in your mind about whether they’re listening to you, you need to find out right away,” says Dr. Carmichael. “[You could say something like,] ‘I see you nodding your head, can you tell me what you think about what I’m saying.’” You want a therapist who will chime in with excellent, thought-provoking advice when you need them to. Here’s a list of a few things doctors are too afraid to say to your face.
Don’t feel pressured to pick the first therapist you meet
Athitat-Shinagowin/Shutterstock Think of choosing a therapist like dating. Keep your options open and meet a few different people before you make your final decision. Even better, consult with your parent, spouse, or friend to help you figure out who fits your wants and needs best. “I always caution prospective patients that when you’re having a consultation they should not feel pressured by the therapist to discuss certain topics before they are ready,” says Dr. Tasso. “I always feel it’s a bit of a warning sign when a therapist says, ‘Let’s hurry and have a follow up’ or ‘we must address this topic immediately.’”You want some alone time to reflect and make the best choice for you without the pressure of a therapist implicitly yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!”
Give yourself more than one therapist session to get comfortable
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock Change doesn’t miraculously happen overnight. Therapy takes time and work to get where you want to be emotionally and mentally. For therapy novices, the first session is always a bit nerve-racking, but don’t let those first time jitters scare you away before you give them a chance. “If there’s a lot going on it may be difficult to get the actual therapy work right at first,” says Dr. Londoño-McConnell. “We [may] need to stabilize a crisis, get resources for this person, or get a good clinical picture first.” Give your potential therapist at least three to five sessions before calling it quits and looking elsewhere.