How do I know a therapist is a good fit for me?
Some of the most popular advice for finding a therapist is to find one who is 'a good fit.' After interviewing hundreds of therapists and their clients, we have a theory: a great therapy match is less about fit and more about quality. In most cases, a 'good fit' is a therapist who has the characteristics of a great therapist. A ‘bad fit’ is often a sign that the therapist needs to improve something about their approach or lacks a core quality of great therapists.
Look for these qualities in a therapist:
- A good therapist is a great listener they make you feel heard
- They’re empathetic, curious and they don’t judge you or what you say
- They’re collaborative and use your input to come up with treatments and weekly goals
If you notice any of these qualities or situations come up, look for another therapist:
- A therapist who makes judgments about you or your way of life.
- You don’t feel understood and don’t catch the disconnect between what you are saying and what they’re hearing.
- Your therapist makes blanket statements that sound weird or unscientific.
You should get a sense that they’re a good therapist within 1-2 sessions. After multiple sessions, you should start seeing progress: you’re discovering something about yourself, you’re identifying patterns you want to change and learning tools to do so. You might see improvement in your self-report measure scores after a few sessions though sometimes it takes longer to see statistically significant results.
If you don’t think your therapist is working for you, share this feedback with your therapist. They should be open to your feedback and try to change their approach to work for you. If they’re defensive or uninterested in feedback, that’s a huge red flag – you should find another therapist.