Thursday, April 8, 2010

Introduction: Finding a Good Therapist


"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
A man finds joy in giving an apt reply--- and how good is a timely word!"

Proverbs 15: 22-23

Probably the most common question I'm asked is for a name of a good therapist. My friends and family figure I must have contacts since I work in the field of psychology. I consider this a very important question and am glad to give recommendations.

In the 1960 and 70's there was an explosion of new counseling models. Each specialty group thought it had found a better way to treat emotional problems. Was this assumption true? Whose treatment techniques were the most effective? Research studies began with the belief that one clinical model would rise to the top as the most effective treatment style. The results were surprising. No treatment modality was better than another. Instead, the studies found that the personality characteristics of therapists influenced treatment outcomes. Counselors who were genuine and transparent, empathetic, and valued their clients were more helpful.

Since the personal qualities of a clinician are essential to the development of a strong therapist-client relationship, it makes the request for a counselor's name very important. And considering the fact I am already working in the counseling field, it makes sense that I would have a decent knowledge of my local associates. Asking me for names of other therapists is a good idea. I can be a resource to those who live near me and know me, but what about those who don't know me or live in my community? How do those individuals find a good therapist?

I would like to spend several weeks exploring the ABC's of finding a good therapist and starting counseling. I plan to cover how to obtain recommendations for a counselor, what to ask during the initial contact (most likely a phone call) with potential therapists, and what to expect from the first appointment. I welcome any comments or questions you might have as we explore this area together.

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