3 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
1. It’s All About the Relationship: The most important and most easily misunderstood aspect of mental health treatment is that your success depends upon a fruitful, respectful and professional relationship with your therapist!
This means that all ethical boundaries are safeguarded. Payment is required for services. Sessions start and end on time. You and your therapist meet regularly in the office, and not elsewhere.
Furthermore, you must feel your therapist is willing and able to understand you. He or she should be able to have a good handle on what you’re struggling with and should be able to communicate with you about it. This goes for sexual issues and other matters that are traditionally tough to talk openly about. You should have confidence that your therapist is able to offer you a safe environment of tolerance and respect. And, you should have confidence that your therapist understands why you’re there and is able to offer you something useful.
2. Set Up a Few Consultations: Just as in any other important decision, do your research. When it comes to professional counseling services, research takes place mostly in the first few face-to-face meetings with your therapist. There you will feel the tone and attitude of your therapist and you will see whether you like it and feel comfortable. Was he or she able to answer your questions? Did your session start on time and end on time? Was there a tone of professionalism and compassion in the office?
3. Pay Attention to How You Feel: Even if you can’t put your finger on it, and even if you can’t fully explain why, if you feel comfortable during your consultation, this is a good sign that you’ll do well in your treatment. Feeling good about your therapist will color your attitude toward treatment; it will improve your ability to open up with difficult issues; it will provide you safety when considering big changes, and it will create a general openness and increased willingness to engage with your care provider.
Lisa Lempel-Sander meets frequently in consultation with prospective patients seeking a variety of Long Island counseling services. She welcomes prospective patients looking for depression therapy, anxiety therapy, sex therapy, professional marriage counseling or couples counseling services.