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Author Topic: What to look for in a therapist?  (Read 5837 times)
Metsfan
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« on: November 01, 2013, 01:32 am »

So I've been fighting off depression and other etc's so it was nice to really take the plunge and start talking to a professional. Unfortunately I've become worried that I'm not seeing the right kind of person. My therapist seems like a nice lady, but I get some red flags from her.

-Talking about other patients (not by name but by problem)
-Often talking nothing but small talk (I told her I liked music and she asked me if I was listening to the latest Katy Perry album. Not horrible, but kind of off topic to what I really wanted to discuss)
-Not much advice, she listens mostly. It's nice to be able to vent but having trouble exploring myself is a big reason why I decided to go to a therapist.

I don't know what really to look for in a good therapist and who knows, maybe she is really solid. But the truth is I don't and would be happy to explain more if she is actually really solid. Being unfamiliar with therapy makes me uncomfortable and any thoughts would be appreciated.
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RummyLu
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 02:02 am »

Shop around.

Also, is this a psychologist or a psychiatrist? If it's the former I think you'll get more listening as opposed to advice because it's what they do.
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HyperGlavin
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 02:18 am »

Were you referred to this therapist, or did you walk in off the street? Taking that first step is daunting because it's difficult to diagnose your particular situation. Fortunately, you have a couple of options:

1) See a GP (ask for one with mental health expertise if you can), have them assess your situation and provide you with options for the next step.

2) Seek out a non-profit counselling service like Beyond Blue. They can get you in touch with a network of resources and help you figure things out.

You've already taken the hardest step by asking for help, so don't give up because it gets a lot easier from here. Good luck.
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 08:15 am »

-Talking about other patients (not by name but by problem)
-Often talking nothing but small talk (I told her I liked music and she asked me if I was listening to the latest Katy Perry album. Not horrible, but kind of off topic to what I really wanted to discuss)
-Not much advice, she listens mostly. It's nice to be able to vent but having trouble exploring myself is a big reason why I decided to go to a therapist.

if you've just started going to her, those are all standard things as you get into a relationship with a therapist. talking about other patients' problems isn't bad or abnormal, and gives you a sense of how other people are and are dealing with their issues. the small talk and mostly listening is definitely part of the game early on as she tries to get to know you. you'd be surprised about how much you reveal about yourself when just doing small talk or venting without interruption, and that's what she's looking for.

all that said, the main thing is your comfort and if you truly don't like her style then definitely shop around. and when talking to other therapists mention what you don't like about others' styles. but make sure you've given her enough of a chance as well.
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boonmeister
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 10:02 am »

My wife has been studying therapy for a few years now and one of the things I've picked up from her is that any decent therapist is going to be non-judgmental and very difficult to offend.

If you are unsure of how your therapy with this lady is going and if she is the right therapist for you then you should be able to raise those issues with her without fear of offending her. She should be able to discuss your concerns and if she agrees that she's not right for you she should send you on your way without making you feeling guilty or uncomfortable.

My wife's had to be in therapy herself as part of her study and she went through a couple of therapists before finding someone she was comfortable with - the therapists she "dumped" weren't in any way put out.
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Metsfan
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 04:46 am »

Thanks for all the advice, guys. It definitely put my mind at ease with my current therapist as to what to expect and it's made me want to keep giving her a go. It's difficult for me to be sincere with others and after this I'm much more willing to keep going and get more comfortable with this lady. I'll update this is I ever get confused or have questions later on. You da best.
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 11:09 am »

If you'd like to go to someone who will put a more immediate focus on your difficulties, it may be worth looking into someone who could offer CBT in your area. Ideally a clinical psychologist but doesn't have to be.

CBT can be delivered effectively in as few as 8-10 sessions. It will help you try to develop insight into how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours interact with eachother to perpetuate feeling down. Then you will be asked to do some homework outside of sessions - challenging negative automatic thoughts, behavioural experiments etc. It has a very good base of evidence for treating anxiety and depression.

It's very much focused in the "here and now". Which some people find helpful and practical, while others can find it restricting. 
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 09:51 am »

A lot of modern therapy techniques shy away from giving advice; the idea is to ask questions and be a non-judgmental sounding board for the patient so that they come to the conclusion yourself without the therapist telling you what to think.
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Metsfan
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2014, 10:48 pm »

I'm dumping my therapist like a hot potato for a few reasons, most glaring of which being trying to hook me up with some of her other clients for dates. Other ones being I didn't feel like I was getting on anywhere. I feel like I got through a lot of stuff that happened to me in my past, but just talking about it wasn't really moving me along anymore.

CBT seems like an option that I would be willing to try, but I have no idea what that's like. Does anyone have an experience to share or what I should think about when pursuing this to help me?
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2014, 11:30 pm »

trying to hook me up with some of her other clients for dates.

Holy shit, that sounds wildly illegal, at the least incredibly unethical and stupid. You should probably tell somebody about that.

As for the CBT thing, I went through it when I was sort of having a breakdown at college and I would highly recommend it as someone who has never liked the idea of traditional therapy. Rather than trying to spend a lot of time finding the root of a problem, my therapist just helped me to figure out how to solve it practically. A lot of it actually seems really common-sense in retrospect, like why the hell did I need to go to a therapist to do this, but it was seeing a therapist and feeling like I had somebody to work with and be accountable to that gave me the push to actually fix up my life.
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SteelFan714
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2015, 10:34 pm »

So, about six weeks ago a combination of work, personal and love life stresses finally combined to put me into a deep enough funk that I had to admit maybe I had a bit more of a problem than "sometimes I get pretty sad." As of last Monday I finally got in to see a doctor and get a diagnosis, and was put on medication for anxiety and depression. This is good.

Less good is that my insurance provider, despite having "of New Jersey" in its name, does not cover a single therapist anywhere in the state. Seeing as traveling to New York is not a reasonable option with my schedule, that leaves me shit out of luck when it comes to getting to see a professional. While I'm open to meds helping, I was really hoping to be able to get some more regular therapy, as well. So, I don't know if this falls outside of the scope of this thread, but I was wondering if anyone had any advice from their own past experience for things to help with depression/anxiety beyond therapy to help me bridge the time between today and January when I can change providers to one which will cover somebody I can actually make it in to see.
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Captain Wacky
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2015, 11:21 pm »

Not speaking from personal experience here, but since a few people have already mentioned cognitive–behavioral therapy, I thought I'd point out that there are free online CBT programs you can try for depression or anxiety.

Again, I've never tried it and don't personally know anyone who has, but there's a lot of research that shows it can help, although it might be less effective than face to face therapy.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2015, 12:32 am »

my psychologist and doctor are both pushing this mindfulness stuff, but i don't know if i get it :(
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boonmeister
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 04:39 am »

It might be worth searching to see if there are any charities or groups in your area that can help in the short term until you can change providers. Combining that with some online CBT may help make the time until January pass a little more easily.

It may seem a little trite to say this but whenever you feel things are getting on top of you you need to stop and remind yourself that you will be changing providers in January and you will be seeking help then, so you are doing something about it, you are taking positive steps.
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2015, 07:09 pm »

my psychologist quit haha
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