Finding the right therapist can be an exhausting endeavor. Not only are you seeking a counselor who fits your budget or insurance needs, but you need to determine from one small photo if this is the person that you can trust with your deepest pain. It sometimes can take hours of research and looking through a therapy finder (for Irvine, Newport Beach or Costa Mesa, etc.), listings, and websites before you are ready to give your selected therapist a try. Many people search for the "best therapist" in their area to help them choose, but the truth is that the best therapist is relative and cannot really be determined by a Yelp review or who is comparably the cheapest.
Though credentials and experience are valuable, the most important factor is the connection and relationship you have with your therapist. Unfortunately, this is impossible to know until you talk with a potential therapist or meet them face to face. Feeling at ease with your counselor can give you both the momentum you need to use your therapy sessions to the fullest and get you towards your goals faster. If you are working with someone that doesn’t seem to understand you or their particular therapeutic approach doesn’t align with what you are looking for, it is ok to let them know and find someone who is the right fit.
Apart from a good relationship, you’ll know you’ve found a great therapist when they are empathetic, non-judgmental to your situation, and that you feel adequately challenged to grow. Therapy can be about experiencing the warm, fuzzy feelings, but walking through difficult emotions with your therapist can bring new freedom and insights that only come with this kind of discomfort. It is also important that you and your therapist have intermittent conversations about the direction of your therapy throughout your work together. This gives you both the chance to evaluate what your goals are and how you’re progressing. It can also provide satisfaction in knowing that you are going in the right direction and your money has been well spent.
If you live or work in Orange County, California and are looking for a therapist, I hope to be a counselor you would consider. I offer a free 20 minute phone consultation to provide you the opportunity to connect with me, ask questions, and hear my voice to help determine your comfort with me before even committing to a first session. I believe that it is important to use the first couple of sessions in therapy for me to get to know your story and join with you in what you are wanting to work on, but also to decide if working with me is the right fit for you. I encourage you to give me feedback either that our therapy relationship is going great for you or that there might be another therapist that would be a better match. I’m looking forward to connecting with you and would be happy to talk with you further about how I could be a good therapist fit for you.