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How do I find a good therapist?

I'm having a really hard time with life in general lately. I want to go to counseling, but I've tried before and never had any success finding someone that I liked. The first counselor just stared at me for an hour. I felt like there was no direction and he was not interested. Maybe professional burnout on his part or something. Went to him for two months...got nothing. Second counselor was a worse mess than I am. I think I ended up counseling her and she was very unprofessional. She was going through a divorce because her DH was a gambling addict and spent their life savings without her knowledge. See...why the F do I know that and so much more? Two months there also. Third counselor had some sort of weird transference thing going on and got creepy on me. He would tell me I was too pretty to be upset about <insert here>, made comments about my body, and would try to change my educational choices to what he liked. Plus, he was always a least 30-45 mins late, which drove me crazy.  Six months there. The last one helped some, so I guess I'm making progress. lol.

I have a strong personality, so I need someone that will take charge/control of the session (actually, ME). I don't want someone to just listen to me either. I would like feedback from them. It would also really help if they were professional. How do I find a good therapist without wasting 1-2 months trying to figure out if they will be helpful or not? TIA.

[IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/8wgzv8.jpg[/IMG] Zombie apocalypse? I got this!

Re: How do I find a good therapist?

  • Have you been going to counselors with bachelor's degrees in social work, or have you been seeing licensed therapists with PhDs in psychology?  There's a big difference.

    In any case, I am wondering how you seem to attract odd and inappropriate behavior from people in your life, even including your therapists. 

    image
  • Talk to your primary care physician and get a referral based on what you need. If you don't have a PCP, ask around for referrals from friends, etc. And give each therapist a good chance. It takes several sessions sometimes to build up a good rapport (obviously if they are inappropriate that is another story).

    [url=http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=UBB&utm_campaign=tickers][img]http://global.thebump.com/tickers/tt11a613.aspx[/img][/url]
  • image justkly:

    I have a strong personality, so I need someone that will take charge/control of the session (actually, ME). I don't want someone to just listen to me either. I would like feedback from them. It would also really help if they were professional. How do I find a good therapist without wasting 1-2 months trying to figure out if they will be helpful or not? TIA.

    I think you have the wrong expectations about counseling. Most counselors will listen to you and guide you, but will not tell you what you need to do. They might be able to give you feedback to a point...but ultimately you're the one working the process. A good counselor will not be your boss or your parent, will be a facilitator for you to discover yourself how to cope with your situations. The reality is counseling should be temporary while you figure out how to continue with the rest of your life that is for you alone to live and manage it.

    As far as finding a good therapist, look at their credentials, research them online and interview some. Yes it can be frustrating, but sometimes it takes a few to find a good fit.

    Good luck

  • image ReturnOfKuus:

    Have you been going to counselors with bachelor's degrees in social work, or have you been seeing licensed therapists with PhDs in psychology?  There's a big difference.

    In any case, I am wondering how you seem to attract odd and inappropriate behavior from people in your life, even including your therapists. 

    The last two had PhD's in Psych. I was given a referral list by my HMO, and then I checked any credentials I could find online for each before I choose one and made an appointment.

    I'm starting to meet more normal people. I found most of these odd relationships as a product of my upbringing. I grew up in many low income, undesireable apartments. I was never like the majority of the people that lived there (meaning I didn't do drugs and took my education seriously) and as a result did the best I could by befriending some of the least craziest of them, but that's not saying much. I've known many of my crazy friends my whole life, but they are mostly weeded out now.   

    I don't expect therapists to make decisions for me. I need them to challenge my thoughts so that I can come to the right conclusions myself.

    [IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/8wgzv8.jpg[/IMG] Zombie apocalypse? I got this!
  • I struggled with eating disorders for about 15 years. During that time, I went to probably 11 counselors -- 2 were awesome, the other 9 sucked.

    I didn't give the crappy ones 2 months or 6 months -- I gave them two sessions and by then I knew whether we clicked or not. I empathize with your bad experience ... one guy weighed 400+ pounds and told me I'd outgrow it, another asked me if I had enough food on the table growing up, another offered me cookies when I was crying!! I had a similar experience to yours in which I ended up being the counselor a couple times -- but those were both through my EAP ... and I'm pretty sure they hadn't graduated yet.

    My only advice to you is that there ARE good people out there -- keep trying! The counselors that did help me were amazing and I attribute much of my recovery to them.

    The two good ones were both named Carol, too ... maybe that's a sign? Good luck!

  • Don't give up! I agree with pp give a counselor 2-3 sessions to settle in and if you don't click move on. If you are worried about the body image stuff maybe you should only stick with female counselors.

    Some things to think about there are 4 major types of  independently credentialed therapists. Psychologists (Have a PHD, do counseling, many just do psychological testing); Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, LMFT (probably better if you were going with someone else, aside: the # of these are decreasing every year as it is becoming a "less valued" degree"); Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC (Masters level counseling degree); Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW (Masters level Social Workers with at least 3 years of supervised clinical experience).

     So, in your situation you have many options. Even within these fields you will see differing concentrations and therapeutic focuses. While PSY.D./PHD, LCSW, and LPC's are all trained in many theoretical frameworks, Psychologists typically come from a brain focused perspective trying to link bio-genetics with behaviors. LCSW's will be trained in multi-ecosystems theories and have a broader educational background in terms of topics (they tend to come from the perspective that a persons global situation including gentics, environment, relationships, etc. effect their care and treatment). Social Workers training is pulled from psychology, sociology, counseling, etc., but will be less hyper-focused so SW's couldn't do any testing, etc.

    LPC's are trained in counseling techniques.

     If it were me I would to to discern which of the practices I felt more aligned with, and maybe read a bio on their website before making an appointment. pp are correct that therapists job is to guide you on your own path and not to make decisions for you. However, some will provide little feedback and rephrasing, where others will give you "homework assignments" and  more straight talk feedback. You just need to find your match.

    (I am currently a LMSW working towards my independent LCSW so I can have my own practice. My sister is a practicing LPC).

     

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I dont know but I am sorry to hear that you are having a tough time right now. Feel free to email me if you want to 'talk'

    ([email protected]

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