Many of us realise that at times we simply can’t have all the answers. For some of us, we realise that seeking the assistance of a therapist could really change how we view our personal struggles. Finding a therapist is not always easy, as how will do we know that we are going to fit with the person we choose. It is really helpful to know that you don’t have to select the first therapist or counsellor that you meet.
Going through a vetting process where you see a few people until you find someone with whom you feel the most comfortable is vital. This doesn’t only go for therapists; it stands for selecting coaches, guides, or anyone who is offering you some kind of self-awareness journey. We all have access to our intuition, and whether we have a tendency to ignore it or not, that niggling feeling is usually unmissable. Ensuring that you have no niggling doubts when seeing a therapist is one of the most important parts of your therapeutic journey.
It is for this purpose that I usually ask my clients to go away and think about whether I am the right fit for them or not, before they decide to see me again. Sometimes they appear to know immediately, but other times, it is important to respect their decision making process. And when people don’t return to see me, then I feel very comfortable with that. Being in an industry where we are dealing with the very intimate emotions of others, I am well aware that not everyone is going to feel comfortable talking with me.
But there is one vital question that needs to be asked of any person who you decide has what it takes to assist and guide you through personal struggles. The question is: have you done your own therapy? It surprises me how many counsellors and therapists there are who somehow believe that it is unnecessary to engage in their own therapy before engaging with clients. As therapists, we are bound by a code of ethics to talk with a supervisor about our clients and cases, but not too work on our own shit, which is surprising. How on earth are we able to objectively deal with our clients if we haven’t done our own necessary work.
Understanding our own issues is the first and vital step in assisting others to understand theirs. If a counsellor or therapist hasn’t done their own work, then transference will almost certainly leak out into the session. Before you decide on a therapist, make sure you ask them about their own therapy. Be clear about it, not their supervision, but their therapy. How much of their own self-reflection have they engaged in during their life? After all, as a therapist, if I hadn’t been through the therapeutic process extensively, then how on earth will I have any idea what my clients are experiencing?