If you read just one of the links here, read this one:
I prefer the word counselor over therapist because therapist comes from therapy, which is presumably a treatment for some form of illness … there is absolutely no substitute for intense research and investigation, most definitely outside the mainstream channels of “expert” authority on “mental health … The huge and vital question in choosing support has to do with the personal experience of the counselor … the best counselors are those who have done and are doing their own personal work … counselors who have done a lot of their own work … are able to be in that wonderful state of relaxed confidence even in the face of intense grief or terror—this helps enormously! … one very important thing to know in choosing a counselor is where they stand on biopsychiatric theory and practice.
How to Choose a Counselor
Contrary to popular belief, and contrary to propaganda by mental health professionals, the training of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals does little or nothing to make them better equipped as counselors or “therapists” … In general, the less a person who is offering his or her services as a counselor has in the way of formal credentials, the more likely he or she is to be a good counselor, since such a counselor has only competence (not credentials) to stand on. Generally, the best person for you to talk with is a person who has worked himself or herself through the same problems you face in the nitty-gritty of life.
The Case Against Psychotherapy
Whilst I am not a psychologist and my approach to “therapy” has little in common with his, I agree 100% with this selection process:
The worst mistake you can make would be to get one referral and then start seeing that person—unless the referral comes from someone you trust. But if it comes from Aunt Sara’s neighbor’s manicurist, watch out.
Raymond Lloyd Richmond
Choosing a Psychologist
If you or a loved one is looking for a therapist, look carefully over the checklist below. If you are already in therapy, consider going over the list with your therapist as a way to evaluate your progress. Remember, there is a dangerously wide range of psychotherapists in practice. While many are competent and ethical, many more are injured people who enter the profession for the wrong reasons.
How to find a good therapist … How can I find a good counselor or psychotherapist? … How do I know if my counselor is competent? … What is supposed to happen in therapy? … Can a therapist be incompetent without me realizing it? … Is a psychologist the best therapist? … Does a license make a difference?
metanoia (Martha Ainsworth)
How to Choose a Competent Counselor
I recommend interviewing and having a trial first appointment with at least three therapists if possible … Should the therapist respond to you in an aloof, critical or shaming way, I would immediately cross them off your list and keep looking. Finally there are unfortunately many untherapized therapists in the community. I believe it’s appropriate to ask a prospective therapist if they have done their own therapy, and to at least get a response from them that indicates that they have and have found it helpful.
Finding a Therapist
Pay more attention to the therapist’s intellectual and emotional equipment than theoretical system
- Find a therapist you feel comfortable with. Therapy is not an easy process and your therapist is not there to be your friend.
- Find a therapist who respects your individuality, opinions, and self.
- Find a therapist who will not get upset if you disagree with what he or she has said, but instead encourages you to express yourself when you do not agree.
- Find a therapist who never minimizes your experiences and always respects your feelings.
- Find a therapist who will not try to force you to talk about things that you might not be ready for.
- Find a therapist who does not spend time talking about his or her own problems. Those sessions are for you, not your therapist.
- Find a therapist who wants neither a friendship nor a sexual relationship with you outside of your counseling sessions.
- Find a therapist who is more than willing to discuss problems that might arise between the two of you within the therapist/client relationship.
- Find a therapist who will help teach you new and healthier ways to cope.
- Find a therapist who will never make you feel like a failure or cause you to believe they are disappointed in you if you have a slip or a relapse.
Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute
How to Choose a Therapist for Post-Traumatic Stress and Dissociative Conditions
I frequently get calls and emails from people who wonder how to find a good therapist or who tell me that they wonder if the therapist they have is any good … there are some general guidelines I can give you to tell if your therapist’s behavior or technique should raise a red flag … I have had my own bad experiences with an unethical therapist.
Deciding whether to seek or continue therapy and choosing a therapist are personal choices; no one else can make those decisions for you … Keep in mind that good therapy may actually be less pleasant than bad therapy, and that a therapist who challenges you to take responsibility for your life, your choices, and your future is better than one who teaches you to blame all problems on other people and your past … The best way to protect yourself is to become an informed consumer … Choosing a therapist is a mind-boggling endeavor … The following forty questions are designed to help clients evaluate and make decisions about their ongoing therapy. Prospective clients can also use these questions to interview a potential therapist … any client who has found it necessary to terminate an incompetent therapist, can use these questions to assess a potential replacement.
Evaluate Your Therapy & Hiring and Firing a Therapist
People often have anxiety going to therapy because they fear being judged, or they feel that they can or should solve their problems on their own. It may take a major crisis or many years of problems that won’t go away before making that initial call to a therapist.
Last week, a new couple came to me after 21 years of marriage, 21 years of arguing, and four attempts to find help from Marriage Therapists … Since probably the most tricky issue that couples face is that of disagreement or handling reality, I think you should only see someone who knows how to happily and comfortably handle disagreement and different realities. If they argue, even with you, move on. If they talk confidently about reality, as if their version is the right one, move on. If they ask questions to find out what “really is going on” and their conclusions do not validate both of you, move on. If they take sides, move on … If they share their experiences, are curious about yours, speak of what works or has worked for them, perhaps you should listen.
I am kink-aware and kink-friendly:
This is THE resource for people who are seeking psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are informed about the diversity of consensual, adult sexuality.
This may sound strange, but I think “When?” is very important.
Everyone wants to “Make it better, but don’t change anything”.
People change when something is at risk.
The answer to “When?” is: When you’re at risk of losing something - your relationship, your marriage, your life, your self-respect, your health, your sanity, your job, your home, your joy, your identity, your children, your family, your reputation, your honour, your mind.
P.S. BIG FAT CRISIS?
If you’re currently in a BIG FAT CRISIS, and you’re worried that you’re going to hurt and/or kill yourself and/or someone else, first you need to get stable. This means you need to contact your community’s mental health centre, hospital emergency room, or crisis hotline now.
P.S. Say Hello
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
(Oriah Mountain Dreamer)