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How do you know you found the 'right' therapist?


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Been back in therapy since...last March. Found someone covered by my insurance which made me suspicious, lol, but I've stuck it out with him..until now. I get bored. He never goes deep. Has no interest in my dreams. I feel like we just...chat. But sometimes I cry for an hour and feel good afterwards. And he has at time given me good tools. My friend calls him a 'reality' therapist. Last week I told him I only wanted to see him every two weeks.

Today I met with someone else and now I am really confused. I am very articulate. I can talk circles around people. I know how to share everything. And there is SO much going on for me. This guy today, was SO different from my other therapist. He was emotional. He was involved. He closed his eyes at times while listening to me. He had a definite personality. But he let me talk and I shared SO much. I did cry, which for me is easy. But somehow I managed to give him a complete rundown of my life so far.

He said he wants to work with me. He has great respect for my being an artist. He says I have alot to express and no where to put it. which is true. I have not been painting since I stopped smoking pot, and since I have been living alone, I have no one to dump my stuff on all the time. He says he would love for me to come twice a week. But...the cons,

He lives far, meaning, not in my town. lol.  It is only 15 minutes away however. He is NOT covered by my insurance but my out of pocket may be...$50-$60, which might be workable. And his office has a funky smell...like old socks. BUT I did like his office so much more than the other guy. It is full of personality, in some ways has TOO much stuff in it. Too many paintings, but it didn't seem overwhelming.

I don;'t know what to do. I am afraid to try something new, but I am definitely tired of the guy I am seeing. Do you interview different people before choosing, or start a relationship and see how it goes? 

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I think you should just give him a try :) It seems you have overall a good feeling about him. You can always do a couple of sessions and then decide to find someone else if you want (though I totally get it can be hard to tell a therapist you're going to try someone else. I am so terrible at that I usually make up a lie, lol. That might be a New Zealander thing though). 

I look for someone who I feel I "gel" with, I very much use my feelings to assess whether I think a therapist will be good for me or not. I can usually tell right away if they are warm and understanding. I look for someone who is not judgey, who tries their best to understand what I'm saying. Tbh I think an emotional therapist is the best kind of therapist. Unless you are making them cry every session, LOL. (I don't think that would ever happen.)

Good luck with your decision :) Regardless it sounds like you should move on from your current therapist.

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2 hours ago, water said:

Today I met with someone else and now I am really confused. I am very articulate. I can talk circles around people. I know how to share everything. And there is SO much going on for me. This guy today, was SO different from my other therapist. He was emotional. He was involved. He closed his eyes at times while listening to me. He had a definite personality. But he let me talk and I shared SO much. I did cry, which for me is easy. But somehow I managed to give him a complete rundown of my life so far.

For god’s sake, at least go back again. I haven’t heard you sound this positive about anyone since...ever?

For me, if a doctor can’t understand my sense of humor, it’s futile.

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5 hours ago, water said:

Been back in therapy since...last March. Found someone covered by my insurance which made me suspicious, lol, but I've stuck it out with him..until now. I get bored. He never goes deep. Has no interest in my dreams. I feel like we just...chat. But sometimes I cry for an hour and feel good afterwards. And he has at time given me good tools. My friend calls him a 'reality' therapist. Last week I told him I only wanted to see him every two weeks.

Today I met with someone else and now I am really confused. I am very articulate. I can talk circles around people. I know how to share everything. And there is SO much going on for me. This guy today, was SO different from my other therapist. He was emotional. He was involved. He closed his eyes at times while listening to me. He had a definite personality. But he let me talk and I shared SO much. I did cry, which for me is easy. But somehow I managed to give him a complete rundown of my life so far.

He said he wants to work with me. He has great respect for my being an artist. He says I have alot to express and no where to put it. which is true. I have not been painting since I stopped smoking pot, and since I have been living alone, I have no one to dump my stuff on all the time. He says he would love for me to come twice a week. But...the cons,

He lives far, meaning, not in my town. lol.  It is only 15 minutes away however. He is NOT covered by my insurance but my out of pocket may be...$50-$60, which might be workable. And his office has a funky smell...like old socks. BUT I did like his office so much more than the other guy. It is full of personality, in some ways has TOO much stuff in it. Too many paintings, but it didn't seem overwhelming.

I don;'t know what to do. I am afraid to try something new, but I am definitely tired of the guy I am seeing. Do you interview different people before choosing, or start a relationship and see how it goes? 

I agree with @Gearhead I’d at least try it out. 

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i have a very good therapist right now and i clicked instantly with her. after our first appointment i felt pretty hopeful, and by the second or third i knew for sure it was a go. if you're feeling good, definitely go back at least one more time to "double check" with yourself. 

i drive 35 minutes to see my tdoc and pay out of pocket completely, which is about $160 CAD (~$120 USD) per session. i'm lucky that i'm able to do this, as i have a car and can swing it financially between living at home and working full time. it's totally worth it, in my opinion. i only wish i could see her more than every two weeks, but i'm trying to save money right now, and doubling my therapy costs wouldn't help that. anyway, my point is, it's worth it for someone who gets you. if you can manage the time and cost, go for it.

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16 hours ago, Melancholya said:

 It seems you have overall a good feeling about him. You can always do a couple of sessions and then decide to find someone else

I did, and then last night, as the demons flowed into me while trying to sleep, I had all these doubts if I really did feel safe around him. It's like, I wondered if I was a just an interesting 'case' for him. And that he didn't really see 'me'. But now, in the morning, with the sun shining, lol, I am back to wondering that perhaps I need to try him out afterall.

 

15 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

what characteristics (person-wise) are you looking for?

what skill set do you feel your therapist needs to have?

what do you want to accomplish through being in therapy?

Great questions Dances. I want someone interesting, wise, and able to see thru my stuff, who is more emotionally intelligent than I am.  A therapist who can assist me in figuring out how to live my life alone now without being depressed, ha!, and I would like to figure out how to have the energy and get up and go I get from pot without smoking weed. YES! that would be nice. :-}

 

15 hours ago, Gearhead said:

For god’s sake, at least go back again. I haven’t heard you sound this positive about anyone since...ever?

lol. Yeah, it was amazing how different it was seeing somehow who at least had a personality. He wanted me to come twice a week. That confused me, but, I guess all the stuff I dumped out on him in 45 minutes perhaps warranted a twice a weeker. Not going to happen though, too expensive and too far.

 

10 hours ago, echolocation said:

it's worth it for someone who gets you. if you can manage the time and cost, go for it.

Thank you. I think he does, 'get me', but I need to go again to make sure. It was just...so different from my current therapist and even from the guy I saw for years.  It is quite refreshing having someone react so strongly to my 'story'.

But, as I said above, last night getting ready for bed with my depression lurking around the corner, I started to doubt this guy, wondered if he just thought I was an interesting case. Wondered if he was too strange. Wondered about him closing his eyes at times even though I knew it was because he was concentrating, wondered about the stinky sock smell ( @Will maybe I'll tell him.lol)

 

Thank you so much everyone!! I think I will go back and see. It was too intriguing not to. I guess I am just...scared. And maybe that is a good sign.

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The beat goes on....lol

I'm stuck again. Feel very nervous about this new therapist. He was so intense...I was a bit overwhelmed at the visit. I know I sounded excited, but ever since I feel...uncomfortable. Not sure if this is a fear to overcome. Aren;t you supposed to feel safe with your therapist? 

My friend had recommended someone else, someone who lives in my town. She finally called me back. She specializes in couples. And the end of my marriage, the end of this 30 year relationship, has left me reeling. She took a long time to return my call because she is not really taking new clients. But I told her my story on the phone and we setup a consultation. She is focusing on short term therapy. I like that idea. Come in with something to work on specifically.  She was very reassuring on the phone. Immediately made me feel safe.

And then, the guy I've been seeing, basically 'fired' me. Which is a bit fucked up. I think. He said it is not good to have one foot in the door and one foot out. He was already cutting back his practice to only two weeks a month. And I think he took this opportunity to let me go because he really could not handle my issues. I don;t know for sure but I went into that appointment thinking I would still be seeing him until I found someone for sure and I left the appointment saying goodbye. And a more lackadasical goodbye could not be had. 

Now what? My gut wants me to call the new guy, cancel the second appointment until I meet with the woman in my town and see how that goes. Her appointment is after his. Or, I go see this new guy a second time and see what happens. But then, I STILL want to see this woman in my town. Living alone, being alone, letting go of the past, learning how to be with my own thoughts in my own home, this is something I think she is very attuned to. 

I am SO bad at making certain decisions.

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Just an initial reaction--but I don't see the harm (assuming there aren't insurance/financial limitations) to giving the new guy a second appointment followed by the new appointment with the woman.  Unlike the guy who fired you, I think you can explore two options simultaneously.

If there are restrictions--or if mentally it'll be too much because intakes are so brutal--you could push the appointment with the new guy back a few weeks until after the appointment with the woman. 

Is it possible you felt uncomfortable because it was an intake appointment and those are by nature really intense and revealing?  It's like spilling your life story and experiences in a 45-50 minute chunk of time.  Or at least that's how things are for me.  I don't mean to dismiss your lack of comfort--this is important to pay attention to.  But I'm wondering if it's just because it was only one appointment.

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9 minutes ago, dancesintherain said:

Just an initial reaction--but I don't see the harm (assuming there aren't insurance/financial limitations) to giving the new guy a second appointment followed by the new appointment with the woman.  Unlike the guy who fired you, I think you can explore two options simultaneously.

If there are restrictions--or if mentally it'll be too much because intakes are so brutal--you could push the appointment with the new guy back a few weeks until after the appointment with the woman. 

Is it possible you felt uncomfortable because it was an intake appointment and those are by nature really intense and revealing?  It's like spilling your life story and experiences in a 45-50 minute chunk of time.  Or at least that's how things are for me.  I don't mean to dismiss your lack of comfort--this is important to pay attention to.  But I'm wondering if it's just because it was only one appointment.

i agree with this. Find a new therapist is tough. Ive gone through a few, you need to click. Its very intimate. You need comfort IMHO. Sometimes that takes some searching unfortunately

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20 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

Is it possible you felt uncomfortable because it was an intake appointment and those are by nature really intense and revealing?  It's like spilling your life story and experiences in a 45-50 minute chunk of time. 

YES YES YES. Very true. Thanks for pointing this out. I'll go to the second appointment. What's the worst that can happen? Nothing. lol

Can't be any worse than the awful pit I fell into last night. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

ok!! I 'think' I decided. lol.  GAWD, I hate making decisions.

I did see that other male therapist a second time and I was....okaaay...with it. I talked alot and what he said was, unmemorable. He is a bit of a scattered talker.  But very positive and nice. However, I was still undecided so today I kept my appointment with the woman. And I REALLY liked her. She is in my town, not on my insurance, but neither was the other one. And I should get reimbursed %70.  Also, she spoke about 'short-term' therapy, so maybe...maybe...it won;t last long.

What i liked most of all was...she was an EXCELLENT LISTENER....took detailed notes AND asked good questions. She did NOT charge me for the consultation which was amazing.  

She actually said something that helped me right away which is a bit stunning. I gave alot of thought ahead of time to what I wanted to work on: The end of my marriage, being able to paint without smoking, and most of all, my ANXIETY. That voice in my head called Phyllis which tells me I am shit, I do shit, and I always will be shit.

Well..she mentioned something about 'role'(?) therapy, I can't remember the exact word. But what she said was, I created Phyllis as a CHILD. She was there for me because my parents were not. I was in an abusive household . But was a child with alot of abilities and I created Phyllis to be MY parent, to push me on, to instruct me. That makes SO MUCH sense. No one has ever suggested that before.

But now, Phyllis has turned into something negative and the objective is to EMBRACE her, not to push her away, because she NEVER leaves. But to encourage her to mold her into something positive. Wow! What a concept.  People/therapists/books may have mentioned pieces of the above but no one has EVER put it into such clear terms before.

This lady is very practical but supportive, I like that. 

She also said that I am suffering now because I stopped smoking, ending an addiction, even months later, can be very difficult. She mentioned the book Darkness Visible, William Styron, how he plunged into a deep depression after quitting drinking.  She specifically said she wasn;t recommending I read it, but wanted me to know about it.

Anyway. We are going to start after the New Year because of my deductible. So there. Done Finis. Now I have to call that guy...ugh. 

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i had a similar experience with my current tdoc where she was helpful and insightful right off the bat. i think it's very positive that she made such an intelligent and thoughtful suggestion at your first meeting. i'm so happy you had such a good experience with her!

if it looks like she's going to be more of a short-term therapist, you can always keep the other guy in your back pocket for if, when the time comes that you are finished with the lady, you decide you still want to be in therapy.

for calling him, i'd suggest calling at a weird hour and just leaving a message so you don't have to talk to a real person. you don't owe this guy any details. just say you've decided at this point not to continue therapy with him for now, and thank him for his time.

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17 hours ago, echolocation said:

for calling him, i'd suggest calling at a weird hour and just leaving a message so you don't have to talk to a real person. you don't owe this guy any details. just say you've decided at this point not to continue therapy with him for now, and thank him for his time.

oh gawd! He answered!  lol. Wish I'd read your reply first. He asked alot of questions, said he was sorry that he was looking forward to working with me. Wanted to know the name of the therapist I chose. It was hard but only because I felt terribly guilty. I said that he was wonderful and I chose her because she was closer. gulp. Also, I complimented him. I ran into him at the community center in my town last week and he was very relaxed about it, which can be rare when running into therapists 'in real life'. lol.  He highly complimented the woman I chose, which was nice. But...I felt so baaaad....I HATE making these kinds of decisions. 

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ahhh!! oh, i am SO SORRY you had to talk to him! it would have been so much easier if he was just an asshole to begin with. i find it so hard to tell nice people that i can't do business or whatever with them. it makes me feel so guilty too!

at least it's over. good for you for getting through such an awful phone call!

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Ah please never feel guilty about hurting a therapist's feelings accidentally. Ok, they are human, so lets not be mean to them on purpose but they get whole modules and courses and CPD on how to be self-compassionate and they'd have wasted all that money if they didn't ever have a chance to potentially doubt themselves or feel disappointed. Any good therapist wants us to feel safe in the knowledge that they will be able to handle whatever we throw at them, including deciding we want to choose a different therapist.

It sounds like you did really well, I love the "this person was closer" excuse, i must use that.

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