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  • So, you’re looking to start counseling and want to find the right therapist for you. Take a few minutes to read how shopping for shoes might help understand this process.

    Let’s face it when it comes to talking about the struggles and concerns you deal with daily, it’s very personal.  Finding the “right” person who can help you navigate through difficult times, can be daunting and scary. Who should you go to? Who can you trust? Will the two of you be a good fit? Chances are there are several outstanding therapists, close to where you live, which means you’re able to look around and get the best quality care you deserve and need. This bears repeating, it’s okay to shop around and find the right therapist that will be a great fit for you.

    When it comes to buying shoes, you rarely walk into a store, grab the first pair you see, pay for them, and walk back out. A decision like this requires some thought! Upon entering the shoe store, immediately you’re surrounded by a vast number of different types and styles. How are you to decide which pair of shoes are right for you? You’ve got to ask the right questions and allow time to process what you find. For example:

    • Do I even like the pair of shoes I grabbed?
    • Are they the right size?
    • Are the shoes comfortable?
    • Do I look good in them?
    • Most importantly how do I feel wearing them?

    A person can spend a great amount of time comparing the different pairs of shoes. Everything from trying the shoes on, walking around the store, and examining them in the mirror, all go into finding the right pair. Only after you have answered all your questions, completely satisfying your personal preferences, can you confidently say, “These are the best shoes for me!” as you head for the checkout line.

    Your mental and emotional health and well-being deserve the same, if not more, time and consideration when searching for the best counselor for you. So, here’s another question, “What should you look for in a counselor?”

    Find a therapist who takes the time to hear your concerns.

    Look for someone who you feel comfortable with and who you believe will be understanding and supportive in your counseling sessions. In your first session, your therapist will spend time getting to know who you are and what issues brought you to therapy. The counselor will also inquire about your personal history and background. You should feel comfortable asking questions as well.

    Example of questions to ask your therapist:

    • What is the confidential policy?
    • How long have you been a therapist?
    • Do you have experience in working with the type of mental health concerns as mine?
    • Have you ever gone to counseling yourself?
    • What expectations do you have for me during and after our sessions?

    “Of all the factors in choosing a therapist, finding one that you click with is perhaps the most crucial (for the success of therapy)” writes Tanya Peterson for Choosing Therapy.

    Find a therapist you can work with.  

    There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to picking a therapist. Your therapy will be time-consuming and require a lot of work from both of you. To get a good feeling, as to how well the two of you fit together, you most likely will need to attend more than one session. You’ll need to take the therapist “around the store” a few times before you can make an informed decision. The same can be said about the therapist as he/she is gauging if what is being offered professionally is ultimately going to help reach your goal of healing. Take your counseling sessions seriously. Give thought to what is said by the counselor. How do you feel? Is there any truth being revealed? Do you need to seek clarification on what was said? If, however, you can honestly say you’ve given your all, be open and honest in communicating your intention to leave and be willing to hear what the counselor has to say.

    “If there is one person in the world who can handle you saying you aren’t sure you click with them, it’s a therapist. They are not going to be mad at you if you tell them, you aren’t sure they are for you, they are going to help you see what is behind that. And you paid for the chance to explore yourself. Why not also explore your fear of being straightforward?” writes Bark for Harley Therapy

    Whether you decide to continue or move on to another therapist, understand this is not a negative reflection on you or the therapist. Simply put, the shoes didn’t fit! In the end, you’ve accomplished something good in reaching out for help. Don’t stop now, try on another pair of shoes.

    If you’re interested in learning more about how therapy can help you call 850.757.1552 and schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today or head over to our website, New Heights Counseling, and get to know Our Team.