Good Therapy

When it's good, it's real good...

I love good therapy. Good therapy is a God-send. I can’t sing the praises of it enough. BUT…an important point to keep in mind is that GOOD therapy is a God-send.

I’m not going to say there is such a thing as “bad” therapy. I have heard some rare tales of therapists that sound like they never should have been granted a license. But that has never been my experience. What’s more common – and has been my experience a time or two – is that people find or get matched with a professional that’s not the right therapist for them. And yeah, that can seem like bad therapy when actually it’s just a bad therapy match.

My Therapy History

Off and on, I’ve had about 8 therapists in a 15 year period, none of whom I worked with for more than a year. Usually I worked with them 6 months or less, depending on the issue I was working on. 4 of them I loved or at least liked very much, 2 of them “fired” me (yes, fired me as their client — I’ll admit, I can be very difficult…), and the other 2 were a HARD NO for me after just a few sessions.  Bear in mind though, none of them were bad therapists, not even the ones who fired me…really. But the therapy matches just weren’t good. And that, only in the case of the 2 “hard no’s”.  

How To Get a Good Match – 2 Points

So how do you ensure a good therapy match? Well, many things are at play when finding a therapist, and nothing is guaranteed. Two things strike me as highly important when embarking on this process. First, it is important to get an idea of who you would like to work with on the particular issue you’re dealing with. You don’t have to know specifics, but an idea helps. Secondly, take your time.

Point One – What Are You Looking For?

For instance, do you need someone older than you to provide wisdom where you need it or someone younger than you who would likely be better able to understand nuanced generational difficulties? Would you prefer a male or female or non-binary professional, given your sensitivities, past issues, and communication style? Is religion or spirituality important to you? Do you prefer that someone share your religion or spirituality to understand what you’re communicating, or is that not necessary for the issue you need them to help with? Does race play a part for you? Do you just need someone to listen and nothing about their background matters? Or do you need someone with particular knowledge related to your issue? For instance, if you’re dealing with grief, a therapist who only focuses on marital and family issues may not be all that helpful for you.

Point Two – Take Your Time

The second point is to take your time deciding. I understand that for many of us, that first therapy experience (and in some cases, subsequent ones as well) can be a psycho-emotional emergency. So keeping in mind all of the above points may be just way too much to ask. But even in rushed cases, you have the right to ensure the treatment you are receiving is coming from a situation that works for you. If, at any time you realize it does not work for you, you have the right to change course. You can talk to the therapist you have about what’s not working and see if if improves, you can request a different therapist, or you can leave that situation altogether and find another. There are many  programs – insured and uninsured – that can help match you with a therapist that works for you.

Do What’s Best for YOU

If you do have time, however, to browse and choose the best therapist for you, I suggest you do that. Read their bios and study their professional histories. Look up the meanings of words you don’t know to see if those therapy modalities would work for you. YOU get to choose. Therapy can be a richly rewarding experience that helps you uncover deep issues blocking your forward movement. Take your time to make sure you’re getting what you need. You deserve it. Healing is yours.


Nothing hidden can heal. The only way out is through.

One breath at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time – that’s all you have anyway…and that’s all you have to do.

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