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How to Know If A Therapist Is A Good Fit


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Ever wondered how to know if a therapist is a good fit?

Ever wondered how to know if a therapist is a good fit?

In this episode I chat with therapist Haesue Jo of BetterHelp about how to find the best therapist match. To try BetterHelp for yourself, use this link to save 10% (aff).

Highlights:

When looking for a therapist, what are some key points to look out for?

Does age matter when trying to find a match? How about gender?

Once you’re in therapy, what are some good signs you’ve found a strong match?

What are some signs that you may need to find another therapist?

How long should you give a therapist before deciding you need to try somebody else?

TRANSCRIPT

Sarah Snyder  

The adult ADHD podcast, self empowerment for women with ADHD. Today I’m very excited to have with me therapist has to Joe. And she is with betterhelp, who is a friend of the podcast and Lottie in the community have been sharing your experiences to better help. And it sounds like it’s helping the people who have run in and it sounds like they’re they’re also a pretty busy doing lots of bookings because it sounds like

Haesue Jo  

from what I heard, they’re booked till June, but that’s only like a week or so away. Without further ado, here is Hi, Sue. Hi. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.

Sarah Snyder  

I’m happy to have you. Um, yeah, the reason I wanted to talk to you today was I, I have a lot of friends and family who’ve tried therapy, I am a huge super fan of therapy. But I’m realizing I really lucked out when it came to finding the right match. I just kind of got it right on the first try. I’m just lucky like that, I guess. But some people like Miss, it didn’t do much for me. And I wonder to myself, if that’s just the, you know, a matter of finding a good match or for the matter of just, that’s the way they are. And we can just jump into all that and help it. I guess my first question would be for you. Is it? Is it a huge deal? Making sure you find the right therapist? Do you think that has a lot to do with success? Yes,

Haesue Jo  

I think so. I personally do think so. You know, some, some people out there may say something different, like every therapist out there should be equipped with the skills, the tools, the knowledge to be able to help anybody with a variety of issues. But at the end of the day, there is a human you the client or a human and there is this very important piece of human connection involved in the therapeutic journey. And sometimes that connection just isn’t there. That’s real life. And I think it’s really important to acknowledge that, so that you’re gentle with yourself in the search to finding a good match, because it can take some time. And I’m really, really happy to hear for you that you had this fortunate experience of finding the right one the first time, but that’s actually not super common, right. Like a lot of people end up having to try a few therapists. Some people even stay with a therapist for pretty extended period of time before finally realizing maybe I should have tried somebody else a little bit sooner. So I do think that finding a good match is pretty important for

Sarah Snyder  

your journey. Yeah. So when you’re when you’re on a search for a therapist, what are some key points to look out for.

Haesue Jo  
So I guess it will depend on what it is that you’re looking for therapy to do for you, right, if you’re looking for relief have some kind of specific set of symptoms, or if you’re looking to unpack and process some childhood trauma, or some kind of issue that happens in an existing relationship or relationship that didn’t work out in the past, like, depending on what it is that you’re looking to do in this experience of therapy, I think that will kind of influence and shape the kind of therapist you might want to look for. There’s a bunch of different specialty areas that therapists practice from. And then there’s going to be people that were educated in different ways. And most of the time when you’re searching for a therapist, therapists will list their specialty areas on whatever profile exists for them. Because they want to find good matches of clients to write, they want to work with people that are going to be you know, engaged in the process and willing to work on the things together that they bring to the therapist. So I do see it as a very collaborative process. And in that way, that relationship piece is even more important. So depending on what you’re looking for, you want to look for specialty areas. And then if you’re not even sure where to start researching some of the things that you’re experiencing can start pointing you in the right direction of what kind of therapist to look for. There’s so much wonderful resource now available on the internet. And I think we got to just start with a bit of a research kind of journey. So hopefully that kind of helps with

Sarah Snyder  

Yeah, it does. It sounds like there’s this underlying theme that connection and partnership are very key in therapy that that makes a lot of sense. That’s been my experience. Do you think demographics such as age or even gender? Do you think those kind of things come into play when you’re trying to find the right match,

Haesue Jo  
they can, I don’t think that demographics shouldn’t be a barrier in terms of thinking that you won’t work with someone that’s 40 years older than you because it’s just not going to work out. Like that’s not always the case. So age, gender, ethnic background, even cultural heritage, like where this person is from, all those kinds of things can play a part.

So it’s hard to give a definitive answer when it comes to that, like, I don’t think that you should limit yourself from looking for a therapist, that’s just like you, you know, if you’re a young urban professional, that identifies as being on the spectrum, and also part of the LGBT community, like, you might feel inclined to look for a therapist that matches that description. But it’s not always necessary to do that.

Sarah Snyder  

Okay. And let’s say you found someone, excuse me, you found someone you’re in therapy, what what are some good signs that that connection is happening, that this could be a good match?

Haesue Jo  
I think a really telltale sign is that you feel safe. Safety is such a huge component of mental wellness and health in general. And if you don’t feel safe with someone, I think that’s kind of a sign that it might not be the best match for you. So some people think of this experiences like the the emotional feeling of trusting someone or feeling that someone is going to be able to hold this space for you. So I think if you feel safe, that’s like a really good sign that you may have found a good match for you. If you feel like this person is exuding the kind of competence and expertise that is going to help you with meeting your goals and exploring the things that you might be having issues with. That’s also a very good sign, I think. So just like feeling confident in this person and feeling safe with this person. And, you know, the beginning sessions, the early sessions with any therapist is going to be known as what’s called the assessment phase. So it’s the therapist getting to know you. And it’s also your opportunity as a client to now ask questions to make sure that you know, the things about this person that you want to know, like their educational background, whether they have certificates in any specific areas of interest to you. So I think it’s it’s this very human piece that you don’t need special training to understand of whether you like somebody or not, or if you feel good with them.

Sarah Snyder  

Yeah, just kind of going with your gut it sounds like and whether you, like you said, feel safe. So I guess that answers my next. My next question was, what were some signs? What are some signs that it may be time to move on? And yeah, it sounds like you answered that just if you’re not feeling the connection, or you don’t feel like you can share?

Right? Right. If you find yourself holding back from talking about stuff with this person, it could be because you don’t Haesue Jo  
feel safe with them. But I think that makes it very challenging to start diving really deep into some of your personal thoughts and feelings if you’re holding back in session, right? So you mentioned something about a gut feeling, I think going with your gut can be very powerful. If your gut is telling you like this person is going in an approach that doesn’t feel right to me. I think first before considering like with that gut feeling that I need to change their this, I think first you might want to consider like I need to talk to my therapist about this. So because it could be the therapist doesn’t even realize that you’re feeling this way. And so it’s very important for you to take this opportunity to, you know, express yourself, because if it can’t feel safe expressing yourself to your therapist, then that’s definitely a good sign to maybe look for somebody else. But at the time being like if you can have this really powerful experience of talking about your thoughts and feelings about the process with someone and working through it with them, finding ways that you can both approach the situation a little bit differently that can even make the relationship even stronger, if you’re willing to go there. And your gut feeling can also lead you to have the kinds of conversations that propelled the treatment forward. In the event that something is going on between you and this counselor, you just haven’t really talked about it yet. And then, you know, I think if you’re also having some questions about like, whether it’s the right fit, if it just goes back to the same thing, like I would encourage anyone that’s experiencing that to bring it up with the therapist, because that therapist might even be feeling the same thing. And it could be that they were thinking about like, gosh, I feel like this other therapist that I know as a therapist might be a better fit for them. I wonder if they’d be open to a referral. So it could be this you know, two way thing for you to bring up and explore.

Sarah Snyder  

Excellent and you mentioned Earlier the first few visits or heavy assessment period to kind of figure out what’s really going on. So how long would you I know, this is probably not a cookie cutter answer. But how long would you say to, you know, long enough to know?

Haesue Jo  
And you said it right? It’s, I don’t think that there is any cookie cutter answer that fits every situation perfectly. And also, that you’re going to be thinking about the limitations of time and money. It’s like, How much money do I need to put into this before I feel like it’s the right person, for me, that makes it so much more challenging to because we’re limited by that. And that’s where I think it’s important to listen to your gut, but also to have these conversations openly with the counselor, because counselors are not in the therapists are not in a position to keep you around if you don’t want to be there either. I think in general, like, I have this personal mantra in life, it applies to like different things in life, different foods, whatever, like try everything twice, before you come to some conclusion about because it’s very easy to go to one session and decide I don’t like this and then never go back. But I would encourage everyone to try going back one more time. And then, you know, if you don’t have a definitive answer, at the end of that second session, I think it’s worth it even to go back another time until you find yourself being able to make a decision like that for yourself. And again, the big encouragement is to talk about these internal feelings and processes with the therapist too. Because they might be able to answer any questions. For example, it could be that you are unsure because there’s just uncertainties, and there’s points that you could seek clarification on. So it would be good to explore those things with your therapist as well.

Sarah Snyder  

Excellent. Well, those were all the questions I had, did you have anything else you wanted to offer, as far as you know how to get the best experience out of therapy?

Haesue Jo  
Well, you know, like, we’ve all been through this process of trying to make friends like looking for people to be romantically interested in even like finding a certain kind of connection with different teachers or educators that we’ve had in the past. And we’ve all had the experience, like some people we like, and some people we don’t. And I think it’s going to be very, very similar with your therapist. And it’s even more important, because you’re going so deep into really intimate details about yourself. So it is very important to feel safe, to feel comfortable. And, you know, you yourself have sought out therapy because you want to improve something about yourself. So if you find that you’re sticking around because you don’t want to hurt the therapists feelings. Or if you find that you’re having a hard time bringing stuff up, because you’re scared of having this uncomfortable conversation, you’re now holding yourself back from what it is that you are looking for therapy for in the first place. So, you know, therapists are professionally trained to talk about this stuff. But it’s the human condition to be concerned sometimes about other people’s feelings. So if I have a tip for anyone is just to remember that your therapist more than anyone is someone you should not be concerned about hurting their feelings.

So that’s really, yeah, yeah. Like

be real with this person so that you can start being real with yourself.

I think a lot of us find ourselves in challenging moments in life because we haven’t been real with ourselves. So that would be another encouragement.

Sarah Snyder  

Awesome. Well, thank you so much as sue for talking today. And you have a great weekend and I hope I hope those allergies improve and I hope mine improved too.

Haesue Jo  

Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me.

 



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