Which one, if either, would you choose to be your therapist?

Although most people would not choose a therapist by good looks alone (hopefully!) how we look and present ourselves, tells a story to everyone we meet. Researchers have found that we make a decision about someone in the first seven seconds of meeting. This is somewhat of a throwback but was a necessary requirement in our more primal days. We had to immediately decide whether another person was friend or foe. A wrong decision could be a matter of life and death. What else do we have to go on when initially selecting a therapist if it is not their profile and picture?

Interestingly enough you will look at the pictures first.

So despite never having met me, you may feel in the first photo that I may appear more professional for example. This is the first judgement that you may make when looking for a therapist - how you feel about them as a professional person. Some people may feel comfortable with a more informal and relaxed therapist whilst others equate a professional clinician to be a man, a person ‘suited and booted’ or even wearing a white coat.

It is not only vital that you choose the right therapy for your issue but vital also to choose the right therapist to suit your personality. A man presenting with a sexual problem for example, may not feel comfortable with a female therapist or even an Alpha male type. Every client and every therapist is unique and the importance of a connection and hence rapport between the two cannot be over-estimated.

It is important to develop a good rapport between you both, in order to improve your chances for a successful outcome. Rapport means developing mutual trust and respect. It also means creating an environment in which the client feelstotally safe and secure.

Rapport also includes a mutual empathy and understanding of how each other communicates and operates so that no misunderstandings can occur. You may be telling your therapist your deepest, darkest secrets and so it will serve you well to invest a little time on exploring several therapists and your prejudices before choosing.

Feel confident enough to ring and chat to the therapist first.

Use recommendation and word of mouth to get a real insight into the therapist, their personal style and how they work. Make a list of pertinent questions to ask: Are they solution focused, for example? You have all the power as the client and it is you who should make a considered decision in order to achieve the most desirable outcome and experience from your therapy.

Theresa Borg BA (Hons) DHP DCH GQHP