Opening up to another person and baring out the entirety of your emotions, trauma, and fears can be daunting, especially when that person is a total stranger. Personal information is sensitive, and our struggles with mental health can often keep us second-guessing ourselves and our ability to recognize whether our choices are good or bad. If you have been looking for a therapist for a while, here are some things to keep in mind:
They Don't Treat You Like Something That Needs Fixing:
A good therapist understands that trauma, pain, and other bitter emotions can be damaging and can potentially have long-lasting effects, but they will never treat you like a damaged object that needs fixing. On the contrary, a therapist will focus on healing and restoration instead of patching and tinkering. If you have started seeing a therapist that exhibits this trait, they are more than likely a keeper.
They Let You Finish:
Expressing emotions in words is one of the hardest things to do. A therapist who lets you finish your sentence without trying to give you filler words to describe a traumatic event understands that it may take you a while, but you are capable of getting there. That is respect, and you need to see a therapist who respects you.
They Won't Let You Apologize For Feeling:
There's a stigma that we as a society have attached to vulnerability. A therapist with your best interest at heart will hold your hand and walk you down the path of unlearning toxic patterns and understanding that crying is one of the bravest things you can ever do. Heck, they might even encourage it!
They Don't Play Devil's Advocate:
A good portion of the trauma that most people face unfortunately comes from others. Human relationships can be beautiful but also painful. Your therapist should never attempt to side with your abusers and invalidate your experiences. That is unacceptable, and you should seriously evaluate the future of your therapist-client relationship with any therapist that does that.
They Don't Rush You:
As much as we would all like emotional healing to be linear, it is never that easy. You can't figure it all out in one day, and permanence requires patience and consistency. A therapist who doesn't understand this basic concept is a walking red flag.
They are honest:
People often use the concept of "brutal honesty" to hide snark and sass and as a medium to deliver unsolicited and frankly damaging opinions. Honesty does not have to be brutal, and a qualified therapist will understand that honesty is more appreciated when it is gentle, sincere, and from the heart.
Trust your instincts and combine all of the above in your quest to find a therapist that you feel safe sharing parts of yourself with. I hope you experience the beauty of true healing and the restoration that comes with having the right guidance when you do.