Posted by: Marie | April 21, 2010

(296) Reader Input: Therapists

Post #296

Solicitation for Reader Input

I’m curious how other people decide that it is time to go into therapy or that it is time to return to therapy. I’m curious how they decide if they should return to their former therapists or if they should go elsewhere.

So . . . let me ask all of you . . .

How do you know when it is time to go into therapy? Does it require a stressor? Or, do you tend to go on a continuous basis?

Do you tend to go back to the same therapist? Or, are you constantly looking for a better fit? Do you see more than one therapist at a time? If so, do they serve different purposes?

How have you selected therapists in the past? Do you change your process as you gain more experience with the selection process?

What do you look for in a therapist? Does modality matter to you? What about gender?

I really want to hear your thoughts!! Please send me your comments!


  1. Hi Marie

    How did I know it was time to go into therapy? Actually, I didn’t. I was facing some major stresses in life – work, a b@st@rd father having a series of strokes, inability to sleep – and I didn’t really know what to do. I’d tried just about everything I knew and I thought if I talked to someone once, may be twice, I would be “all better”. Damned Wonder Therapist knew there was a bunch of other stuff I needed to deal with and convinced me to trust her and hang around. And here I am, 18 months later.

    I know it’s really hard for people to find good therapists. I think I just got lucky with the Wonder Therapist. I went to my GP and she referred me. I was reasonably comfortable from the first day (in the context of being uncomfortable) – even when she said something about going back for a 2nd session, “if you want to.”

    That said, I have visited a couple of other therapists during my time with the Wonder Therapist, mainly in her bid to make sure I had some “back up”. I surely do change my selection process as I gain more experience. I don’t so much look for specific qualifications, or modality, but some experience with my “stuff” and personality make all the difference for me. I need someone who is “real”, who has a sense of humour, who is compassionate without being “wet” and who isn’t afraid to bring something of their personality to the sessions. As for gender, I don’t think I’m all that fussed, though the therapists I’ve had some “fit” with have all been female.

    Great questions, I’ll be interested to see what others have to say.


    • Hey, Kerro –

      It is good to hear from you!

      I’m guessing that you and I are similar in many ways . . . this is not the first time your opinion has closely matched mine. I don’t really care about modality or gender . . . just if he or she can handle my case . . . apparently, I’m a handful, LOL.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      – Marie

  2. For me it comes down to when I’m frustrated enough and what I know how to do hasn’t worked.

    As to finding therapists it’s people I know or from talking to friends. I go by if I feel we are a good fit and they have insights and useful stuff for me – I don’t necessarily have to like them but I do need to trust them (as a therapist). Modality doesn’t matter at all to me. I change until I find someone who I think is a good fit and then tend to stick with them.

    It depends on how big the issue is too.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It sounds like the elements that are important to you are ones that would take time to develop and discover . . . ones that you wouldn’t know either way, for sure, in the first interview or session.

      When you say you need to trust them . . . what does that look like?

      – Marie

  3. Hi Marie, for me it’s a matter of trusting my gut – which may not be very helpful to someone who doesn’t, I know. Sorry but that’s how I do it.

  4. This is a link to an interview on this subject from the blog Beyond Blue

    • Oh, cool, Evan . . . thank you for sharing this link!

      I have read the linked article before and, you are right, it is very applicable to this topic — and, it is a good read!

  5. This is so complicated. When I can’t manage on my own, then I think it’s time for therapy. I did switch main therapists about two years ago because I knew that my work with my long term therapist was not the direction I needed to go in. But that took some looking inside and taking a chance. I do see two therapists now. I see my psychiatrist for much more than meds. In fact we rarely talk about meds.

    • Hey, Paul –

      It sounds like you have been very careful to watch out for yourself and build an environment that supports you well. I’m sure that was not easy . . . good for you!

      – Marie

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