Last week I gave you signs of a bad therapist, and while there are many bad therapists, there are also good ones. The search for a good one can be frustrating. Some give up on their search after a bad experience. If you want to reach recovery, you must never quit looking for the right therapist. It took me several tries until I found one that helped me reach recovery. Good therapists do exist and if you want to reach recovery you must be determined in your pursuit to find the best therapist for you.
Here are some signs of a good therapist. These are signs I have noted in my own search for help.
- Listens. A good therapist listens to your feelings and thoughts. He or she may take notes while listening. Therapist have many patients and taking notes helps them keep track of what is going on with their clients. Don’t worry if your therapist doesn’t take notes. Some have good memories. My therapist, Linda, never took notes, but each time I saw her, she seemed to remember parts of our conversations from the last session. I spilled my soul out to her, I cried, and she listened.
- Uses your talents to help you communicate. If you can draw or write better than you can talk about your emotions, your therapist will use that to help you. Linda knew I am a writer. She gave me homework to write journal entries about my feelings and emotions. I would take my journal entry to our sessions, and we would discuss them. Then she had me keep a journal where I listed positive things in my life each day.
- Gives you homework. A good therapist will assign you things to do at home. To get better you must work at it not only at therapy, but also at home. Reaching recovery is hard work. To change your negative thinking, to build up your self-esteem, to learn to think positively, and so on, you have to work at it on a daily basis, not just when you are at therapy. Linda gave me homework with each session. Sometimes I hated her for it because what she gave me to do was not easy. I gave it my all, though, and after time it got easier.
- Teaches you healthy coping techniques. A good therapist doesn’t just listen to what you are going through, but also teaches you how to cope. Good coping techniques are the key to reaching recovery and staying in recovery. A good therapist knows that and will guide you through techniques that will help you deal with your illness. Linda taught me coping techniques that helped me handle my depression and she showed me healthy ways to cope with my internal pain without self-injuring. With her help I stopped self-injuring. The techniques she taught me helps me stay in recovery. I use them often.
- Has lots of knowledge about mental illness and the illness you struggle with. You’d expect that this would be common sense. Unfortunately, there are those bad therapists who have little knowledge of this sickness. A good therapist has a vast knowledge about mental illness and the different kinds. He or she may have books on his or her bookshelves about mental illness. There are some therapists who specializes in certain types of mental illness. A therapist isn’t all knowing but should know enough to lead you to the proper help. Linda had a bookshelf in her office full of books on mental health. She knew a lot about the illnesses I have and how to help me fight them.
- Has away to contact them when you need him or her. A good therapist has a number you can leave a message on or a on call person to contact if you need them after hours. While you are going through a rough time it is reassuring you can reach out to get help. They will never give you their home number, but they will give you a number where you can leave messages or where you can talk to someone who can contact them for you. Linda had a number where I could leave messages. She checked it frequently. I had to use it several times. She always called me back and she helped me through some very difficult times.
- Shows compassion and cares about you. A good therapist shows you compassion and cares about you as a person. When you’re in therapy you build a relationship with your therapist. Your therapist becomes like a friend. She cares not only about helping you get better, but about you as a person. Linda was more than a therapist to me. She was my friend. Her children were born around the same time as my nieces. I could tell she cared about me and she showed me compassion. Now I am no longer in therapy and she moved on to a different type of therapy I miss her. I wish I could still talk to her, but I know that is not possible. I will always cherish her.
These are only a few signs of a good therapist. There are many more. If you search the internet, you can find sites that can guide you in finding the right help. Do your homework and be persistent. Finding a good therapist will help you reach recovery and what he or she teaches you will keep you in recovery. There is no cure to mental illness, but with the right medication, therapy, and coping techniques you can find happiness and learn how to handle your illness. Don’t give up there is a good therapist out there waiting to help you.
Linda was the best therapist I ever had. I went to her for many years and with her help I reached recovery. I could never thank her enough for what she taught me. I stand in recovery with strength and techniques to keep me above the hole of sadness.