Deciding to see a therapist is a difficult decision for most men.
Once the decision has been made, there is an additional challenge of not being able to gauge the quality of the therapist.
Most men do not talk about their therapy sessions, much less reveal they are even seeing a therapist, so asking others about their experiences is not usually an option.
Seeing a therapist is one of the best-kept secrets of successful men.
This makes it all the more important for men to understand how to invest their time and money and make it a good choice in their mental well-being.
I’ve sat on each side of the desk–as the client and as the therapist.
Choosing a counselor involves a level of mystery. It’s putting your fate in the hands of the therapist.
I want to show you how to make the best choice.
Three Key Points
What should you keep in mind when choosing a therapist? I’m convinced the answer is defined like this:
Decreasing your uncertainty – A therapist must reduce your uncertainties related to managing your life and it’s challenges.
An accurate evaluation of a therapist should consider the impact of the therapist’s personality and your gut perception of their impact on your life.
A therapist offers the reduction or removal of your uncertainty. They help you increase predictability, peace of mind and confidence in your life.
You may not be aware of where your uncertainty exists.
Your only experience with it may be conversations you’ve had with family or friends.
Making a decision involves deciding on the quality of the therapist’s work.
A good therapist will provide you with ongoing and focused efforts to reassure you that your investment is a good one.
Completing intake forms is just the beginning. All you own at that point is a promise.
Probably your biggest uncertainty is in the problem itself. The problem is why you’re looking for a therapist in the first place.
The real issue hinges on the ability to see and identify the real uncertainty.
Most clients looking for a therapist realize they have a problem but are not sure what the specific nature of the problem really is.
It’s the duty of a therapist to identify and define the problem in a way you understand. You may not see your problem entirely and you’re not sure how to fit the pieces you have together.
A therapist can help you put the pieces together into a unified and complete whole.
You may think you have one problem but you really have another. A therapist then has to “remove you” from the problem onto the real one.
Or, you may think you have a problem but in reality, you don’t. The therapist’s duty in this case is to realize that and not try to convince you otherwise.
Understanding your problem – This aspect relates to the therapist’s ability to work with your problem.
A therapist needs to comprehend your problem from your perspective; it must fully become their problem, at least for the time you are in session with them.
If your therapist can do this, then you can have greater confidence in them.
A therapist may approach your problem from an outward-focused perspective. This means the therapist has only surface understanding of your problem, so they focus on emphasizing their problem-solving skills.
That’s fine if they have experience in working with—specializing—in clients with problems similar to yours.
The field of counseling is heading towards specialization, like the medical profession, with all its sub-specialties.
Hiring the therapist – Your trust can only be placed in the therapist you feel is able to help you.
Charisma and personality–by themselves–carry no weight. And you should never be confined to therapists listed on your insurance panel.
In choosing a therapist, it’s important to recognize the therapist’s perception of himself and how this self-perception is revealed when talking to him.
When talking to a therapist, you shouldn’t feel like you’re talking to a used car salesman.
You should feel, first and foremost, like you’re talking to a professional, someone whose intellectual interests and emotional satisfaction come from working with considerable problems.
He is also aware of and comfortable in situations where he may be asked about his abilities by a prospective client.
He’s not be offended by it. In fact, he should enjoy it and that should come across to you.
Look for a variety of therapists and call each one for a 10-minute conversation. If the therapist isn’t willing to talk with you for that long, I would question their willingness to talk with you about your experience with them later on.
Then, describe your situation and ask how many cases they see a year that are like yours.
You want to see someone who does that a lot.
Next, ask them how they know their treatment is working. Do they do a formal assessment to rate that?
Ask yourself, “How is this therapist different from the others?” It’s an important question and probably the first thing a therapist must answer to your satisfaction.
You don’t need to wonder if you’re getting your moneys’ worth because you are the one receiving the service.
You are your own judge and jury.
Look for referrals from family or friends but be careful. Focus on finding a therapist that fits you and your situation.
If the therapist you choose is working for you, you should recognize results sooner, rather than later. Your results should begin in weeks instead of months. You may not be completely better, but you should realize some relief and progress.
If not, tell your therapist you’d like to adjust the type or focus of therapy or adding additional resources such as groups, medication referrals or other reading material.
If you are not seeing improvement in your situation after addressing this, you are not likely to realize any later on.
Choose another therapist.
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