Finding yourself in the good company of a great therapist might seem like something, which is difficult to find.
Therefore, to make it that bit easier for you, I’ve listed 6 signs of what makes a great therapist for you to look out for when deciding to work with a therapist.
So, check them out.
Working with a Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist is a big time and cost commitment.
Especially, when taking into consideration all the other things in our daily lives, which cost us time and money.
Therefore, it is important when deciding to work with a Counselling Psychotherapist/Psychologist, you feel you are getting your money’s worth.
As a result, I’m hoping these six signs will give you a good indication of whether you’re in the good company of a great therapist within the first month or so of working with a therapist.
So let’s get going.
Sign of a great therapist #1 ~ They tell you what you need to hear NOT what you want to hear
Telling you what you NEED to hear as opposed to what you WANT to hear…
Is powerful and how real transformation is able to take place in you via the therapy process.
This is because by telling you what you need to hear, they don’t skirt away from the truth in order to protect you.
In the same way, your…
- Subconscious mind
- Partner; and/or
Might want to do because they don’t want to hurt or offend you.
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t necessarily do this in a blunt and direct way, unless perhaps you ask them a direct question.
Instead, they do it in a way, which is subtle but effective as it gives your subconscious mind the opportunity to reflect on what they’ve said.
So eventually, it can come up with an answer to your question as to what it is they meant.
And once it clicks in your mind, as to what they meant, you feel a whole lot better about what you need to do to move forward.
Because you realise how and why the power lies within you.
As they say, ‘the truth hurts’ so listening to what your therapist is trying to communicate to you can be difficult to take, to begin with.
Therefore, you will likely want to deny, avoid, pretend it’s not true or whatever other unhelpful coping strategies you tend to engage in.
But the more you accept what they’re saying to you as the truth and reality…
And you question HOW something your therapist has said applies to you, the more you’ll be able to overcome what you’re struggling with.
As you take on responsibility for what you’re truly thinking and feeling.
No matter how difficult it is for you to admit to yourself, and to your therapist, at first.
Since it’s the shame, secrecy and silence of what your experiencing, which is preventing you from overcoming what you’re struggling with.
So, letting it out will result in a massive relief to your body and mind.
And it’s that feeling of relief, you’re ultimately looking to get when working with a therapist.
Not from hearing what you want to hear, but from hearing what you need to hear to your open and honest disclosures.
Because ultimately that is your reward for being so open, honest and vulnerable.
Although, as I say, that may be difficult at first for you to acknowledge.
Related: 3 ways Psychotherapy can support you
The benefit of hearing what you need to hear
Furthermore, whilst the truth does hurt…
In the long-term, it yields far greater benefits than were your therapist to tell you what you wanted to hear.
This is because it supports you in increasing your emotional resilience and confidence inside and outside the therapy room.
Whilst, all the latter does is boost your self-esteem in the moment, but then you go back to feeling how you did.
Either the same or worse than before.
And ultimately like something still isn’t quite right.
There’s something more to what you’re experiencing but you can’t exactly pinpoint what it is.
Therefore, improving your ability to handle the truth, as opposed to running away from it out of fear.
So giving you the opportunity to address the real challenges you are facing.
Not the challenges you ‘think’ and ‘believe’ you’re facing.
The therapy room and it’s relationship to our struggles in real life
As with all struggles brought out in the therapy room (either by you or your therapist)…
It isn’t only in the therapy room where these struggles are present.
They are present and very much alive in your personal lives too.
However, sometimes it’s difficult for us to see exactly how these struggles are present and alive in our day to day lives.
So we completely miss and misread the signs of what we need to see.
So, in this case…
Wanting to hear what you want to hear in your personal life…
Is likely to be consciously or unconsciously picked up by your friends, family, colleagues and any other people you meet.
Including those who you date.
However, unlike your therapist, they are more likely to revert to lying to you.
Because as I said earlier, they don’t want to hurt you.
But because they can sense the pain you’re going to feel by telling you the truth, they end up taking the easier route of lying to you.
Therefore, through being told what you need to hear in therapy…
Not only do you become accustomed to hearing the truth in the therapy room…
You also become accustomed to hearing the truth from those around you in your day to day life.
Because at the end of the day, nobody and I mean nobody, wants to be lied to, not deep down.
But that is the consequence of being told what you want to hear as opposed to what you need to hear in your daily life.
However, by addressing this challenge in the therapy room over a period of years (let’s face it, it’s not going to be a quick fix) you can learn how to be open, honest and vulnerable with those around you.
Therefore, also giving others around you, the permission to be open, honest and vulnerable with you.
And, it is from here, you will be able to build truly deep meaningful, fulfilling and spiritual relationships.
Personal Example of an occasion where I was told what I wanted to hear in therapy
In my post, The truth about what happens in therapy, I say I left my therapist after a year.
Since I believed a year was sufficient for resolving what I was struggling with and I didn’t want to be spending my money on therapy.
However, later realized, there were still unresolved struggles I needed to address.
So roughly after about a year of not working with a therapist, I returned.
However, what I didn’t include in that post was, I didn’t want to return to my old therapist because I:
- wanted to see what the difference was going to be working with another therapist.
- was ashamed to go back; and
- worked in a location further to the one I was previously working in.
So instead, I sought out another therapist.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she was lovely too.
But on one occasion, when I was communicating something I said I wanted, I felt she was agreeing with me.
And whilst this might sound like a good thing, my subconscious mind knew that what I was saying I wanted was in fact bullshit.
But because I didn’t believe I could have what I really wanted…
I said I wanted this other thing because I believed it was the closest alternative I was going to get to what I truly wanted.
So, what I really needed in that moment in time was:
- Someone to directly pull me up on my bullshit
- Reassurance and confirmation that I was able to get what I truly wanted; and
- Reassurance and confirmation this other thing was a decoy from getting what I wanted
Similarly to how my now, (not so new) therapist did after I communicated the same thing to her many times before.
Sign of a great therapist #2 ~ They speak to your subconscious mind
This one is related to the one above, as it’s your subconscious mind, which your therapist aims to speak to when they tell you what you need to hear.
Because they know it is within your subconscious mind where the real change happens.
Therefore, they read between the lines and don’t take what you say at face value.
They know there is more to what you’re communicating than you do.
Therefore, it is their job to make you aware of it so you can overcome it.
And in doing so, you respect their honesty.
As a result, making you feel more connected to them and as though you can trust them to be honest with you in future, in the same way you are with them.
So you can always tell them anything, which comes to mind without fear.
Sign of a great therapist #3 ~ They explain what they mean
Being in the good company of a great therapist is like being in the good company of a great teacher.
This is because they explain what they mean before you even need to ask them to explain.
This isn’t to say you never ask them to clarify what they mean.
But more often than not, they explain it to you before you get the chance to ask.
Therefore, you often leave the therapy room knowing more than when you did before you walked in.
As a result, further boosting your confidence, emotional resilience and happiness levels.
This is beneficial because as Dr Joe Dispenza found if people understand the benefits of what they’re doing…
They are far more likely to engage in a particular activity or behaviour.
Sign of a great therapist #4 ~ They believe in you more than you believe in you
Doubt is the bain of my life, and can imagine, of many other people’s lives, even if they don’t consciously realise how it is affecting their life in this very moment in time.
As often, it can leave you feeling confused and uncertain about whether a decision you’ve made is the correct one.
And in this instance, leaves you questioning whether the therapy process is the right one for you and whether it’s going to work.
Because deep down the following beliefs may be coming through:
- I am the way I am
- I can’t change
- My childhood is the reason I am the way I am and since I can’t change my childhood I can’t change me
However, a great therapist thankfully knows that’s all bullshit.
Since they know by changing how you think and how you feel, you change your actions.
And by changing all these three things you ultimately change the results you’re getting in your life.
Hence, what they seek to do by providing you with advice and guidance and giving you tools and practices to implement, into your life.
So, in essence, it is their unwavering belief that you can change, your thoughts, feelings and actions by changing your perspective, which carries you through the therapy process.
And makes you want to keep going, because if they believe in you more than you believe in you, your subconscious mind knows there has to be some truth to their belief in you.
Otherwise, why would they believe in you so much?
Sign of a great therapist #5 ~ They are a reflection of who you can be
Okay I’m going to be honest here.
I have only realised this recently (three years into my therapy journey) so this isn’t going to be something you’re likely to acknowledge straight away.
But rather once you’ve been with your therapist for a few years and you’ve made great progress.
But in any case, it’s still an important one as this is the reason your therapist is able to have unwavering belief in you.
As they themselves have been through the therapy process.
So have and do undertake the tools and practices they suggest to you.
Therefore, they know what they’re talking about.
They know what you’re struggling with and know it’s not easy.
But they know there is a place in you (like there was in them), which is stronger than the place you are currently in.
And it’s in that place in you, which they seek to speak to.
So when you’re sitting across them you know what too, is possible for you.
Sign of a great therapist #6 ~ They repeat what they say
If you’re someone who is also afraid of having nothing to say in therapy as I discuss in my post considering therapy, this one might come as a relief to you.
As it means, if you’re therapist is okay with repeating themselves, you are okay to repeat yourself too.
In fact, in my books, it’s a necessary requirement of the therapy process being successful.
However, at the same time, I appreciate this can sound annoying and frankly a waste of time and money.
But repetition, after repetition after repetition is the key to transformation in therapy.
The reason for this is firstly, the mind is…
It’s constantly bombarded with more and more information that it just cannot keep up with.
Therefore, it needs to let go of certain information to be able to let new information is.
So sometimes that comes down to the information you’ve learnt in the therapy room.
And secondly, to begin with, your mind will likely be….
Closed off to new ways of thinking and doing
However, over time (and with repetition) slowly but surely it will begin to open up.
And it will begin to understand and see certain issues within your life in different ways to how it previously has understood and seen them before.
Therefore, why it is so so important to stick with the process because as they say ‘there is a method to the madness’.
In addition, your Psychotherapist knows when something they’ve said lands on you or not.
(i.e. you really understand it, not only from a conceptual level but an embodied level too).
How? Because you start communicating and behaving differently.
However, when what they’re trying to communicate you doesn’t land on you, you communicate the same struggles over and over again.
Perhaps it’s a different situation to the one you’ve previously discussed.
But on the whole, it has the same undertone to what you’ve previously discussed.
Therefore, before you can move forward you need to understand what they are subtly trying to communicate to you about that struggle.
Since every theme brought into the therapy room is related to the other.
And, you’re subconscious mind keeps going back to that same struggle over and over again, because it knows there is more to it.
It just doesn’t know exactly what that is, so it needs someone else (like a Counselling Psychologist) to direct it in the right direction.
So, there you have it, six signs to know you’re in the good company of a great therapist.
They tell you what you need to hear, they speak to your subconscious mind, they explain what they mean, they are a reflection of who you can be and they repeat what they say.