What Makes a Good Therapist?

Below are some suggestions of how to evaluate a therapist. Keep in mind they are suggestions only, because ultimately the best evaluation of a therapist's worth is YOU. If you believe you are getting good service and find your relationship with your therapist helpful overall, then it probably is. One of the first things I teach others about is listening to one's own instincts, "listen to your gut" or your "inner voice." If you have a nagging feeling that something just isn't right between you and your therapist, listen to this. It is important. Talk with your therapist about this. If you and your therapist discuss your feelings and that voice is still nagging you, perhaps you need to find another therapist that suits your needs better. Remember, therapy is ultimately a business relationship. You are in charge. If you don't like the service you are receiving, you can always go to someone else whose service you prefer.

Also beware that different therapists use different methods of therapy. One therapist may primarily use a psychodynamic approach while another therapist might use a narrative one. The styles between these two therapists are going to be very different. Both will favor the type of therapy that he/she uses over other theories, but it doesn't mean that one is better than the other. The reality is, if the type of therapy you are getting is working for you, it is right for you. If it isn't working for you, it isn't working for you. Studies of the different schools of thought in therapy, the different "theoretical orientations," show that it isn't the theory that your therapist believes in and uses in therapy that makes the therapy good, it is the relationship that you and your therapist build. If you have a good relationship with your therapist, you are more likely to get more out of your therapy than if you don't have a good relationship. They style your therapist uses may not make any difference to your experience of therapy at all. Ultimately healing in therapy comes from the relationship of therapy, not the style or technique.

Below are some ideas of what makes a therapist a good therapist. At the end there is also a questionnaire that you can use as a guide. Ultimately, good therapy is an art, not a science. What works for one person won't work for another. The art of therapy is finding what works for each client at a particular time and being flexible enough to change your approach when the client's needs change.




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