Seeking a Good Fit
If you are considering connecting with a therapist, you might have a number of questions. Among them: What kind of professional do I need? How often should we meet? What will be expected of me? Here are some things to consider.
Even though there are a number of different names for therapists, they fall into three broad categories:
Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners are medically trained and focus on the body. They may or may not be trained in talk therapy. They seek to work, primarily through medications, to alter the brain’s chemistry in order to change the person’s responses to the stresses of life.
Psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychoanalysts who see private patients typically are trained in talk therapy. Their skills include listening for patterns of thought, emotions, and behaviors that have causes their patients may need help uncovering. They look behind the symptoms to discover the causes of those symptoms. Their goal is to help the patient understand those causes, which may give them options for better outcomes.
The third broad category is made up of people who give advice to their patients regarding their own behavior. They may be social workers, behavior therapists, or life coaches. They often advise their patients to try different courses of action from what they are currently doing. Their goal is for their patients to change their behavior in order to yield different results.
Choosing a therapist is unlike choosing a mechanic or even a doctor. One difference is that you will spend many more hours with a therapist, and you will be discussing personal problems, experiences, and possibly fears. Your relationship with a therapist will be different from any other professional relationship. A therapist works to provide a safe, confidential environment where patients can discuss whatever they choose.
At Upper Valley Talk Therapy, we suggest that the first session or two be a time when the patient can tell the therapist what their objectives are. If the patient has had a therapist before, it would be helpful if they shared what was useful and what was not. At Upper Valley Talk Therapy, we want to encourage a good fit by knowing what the patient finds annoying or unhelpful. And we will work with you to achieve your goals.
We strongly encourage clients to find the right fit when they are choosing a therapist, counselor or psychiatrist. We also remind anyone new to therapy that the first session can be uncomfortable no matter who you choose to see; it’s a new experience, so two or three sessions may help you decide if it’s the style of the therapist or simply the new experience which feels uncomfortable.