Let me guess. This is the umpteenth time you googled, researched, and thought to yourself, “I need a therapist!”
Finding a therapist you click with, can be really hard and to make it a little easier, let me offer some thoughts and guidance.
First off – I’ve been where you are – looking for a therapist! Yes, Therapists see therapists and if they say they don’t, and they’ve done all their work, keep looking my friend. The journey of self-discovery is lifelong, and a good therapist should be well equipped for the hike.
You want he or she to feel like a best friend – that friend you would grab coffee with on a down day. The friend would listen, have great advice, never judge you and provide you with all the secrets of the universe; In other words, a friend with therapeutic superpowers! Full disclosure, we don’t have superpowers or hold the secrets to the universe. A therapist needs to be strong. They need to be wise. They need to give a push when you need one and have a life rope available at all times. They need to have the education and knowledge to help you make sense of this bad relationship you can’t get out of or that fight you keep having with your partner, mother, father, sister, boss, etc.
Now, you might be thinking “I have a best friend just like the one she described. This is great! I don’t need a therapist. But here’s the catch – even if your bae is a therapist. Friends love and care for you, but maybe they are afraid to speak up for fear of hurting your feelings. They may even think you have a role in the perpetuation of your problem (No hint here – We all do!) If that’s the case, they may be tired of or overwhelmed by not being able to help. That’s where a great therapist comes in handy. The best ones actively listen, avoid judgment, gently challenge when they feel you are ready, keep respectful and clear boundaries, and, are strong enough to hold your pain.
If you grew up in a house with an addicted parent, a narcissist, a borderline or one of your parents was diagnosed with a Major Depression, Crippling Anxiety or Bi-Polar Disorder – you really need someone who gets you! You might not even know who the real you is – yet. You are so used to being the responsible child (I got this! I’m in charge. What do you mean I can’t save the world?). Or the adjuster (No complaints from me – if it makes my life easier, that’s all that matters.). Or finally, the placater (Needs? Who has needs? I don’t have any needs. Your needs are my needs.). Growing up in an addicted or dysfunctional family usually means your needs didn’t get met because you and everyone else were meeting the needs and keeping the secrets of the addict, narcissist, borderline, etc.
When that happens, things get messy. Perfectionism peaks. Rage sets in. Feeling like the victim all the time and procrastinating the hell out of life feel way more comfortable than anything else. Finally, when perfectionism fails and anger hurts those we love: depression and anxiety take over. A good therapist won’t judge you for any of the messiness or that anxiety attack that kept you from going out with friends again. He or she will help you make sense of the tears, fears, and frustrations that said, “Oh yeah – no way are we getting out of our sweats tonight. If only Door Dash delivered wine and the cat could answer the door.” So – Call a therapist. We can help! Oh, and btw, If you call me, I don’t deliver food or wine, but I do love cats and dogs;-)