What to look for in a Mental Health Therapist


What to Look for in a Mental Health Therapist

Kathy Foust, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 21, 2010
Therapist What to Look For .A mental health therapist is someone that you plan to reveal innermost thoughts and personal issues to. You want to be sure that the therapist has the ability to use this information in a way that is going to help you
improve your life. You should know what to expect from your therapist and be aware of what the qualities of a good therapist are. Below are some traits to look for in a quality mental health therapist.

Listening skills: The primary job of a mental health therapist is to listen to the client. If they listen to what you’re saying they can better assess your needs. They may take notes or use a recorder to help them to document what you say. They need to do this so that they can create a treatment plan that is suitable to your mental health needs.

Validating: Many people who go to a mental health therapist are unsure of themselves and sometimes unsure if their feelings are appropriate. That’s perfectly normal even for people who aren’t seeing a therapist. However, part of the the job of the therapist is to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings so that you can see and deal with them more clearly. They should never argue with you about how you feel or do anything to make you feel judged.

Timely: You might have to wait in the waiting room for the last client to finish up and for the therapist to wrap up their notes, but your appointment should start on time. When the therapist calls you into his or her office, they should already have any notes or files from the last client put away. Part of this is a privacy issue and part of it is so that you are the complete focus of their time.

Privacy: Your name should never be mentioned within hearing of other clients or visitors. The therapist may need to discuss things with your psychologist or psychiatrist as they each have their own role to play. There is a difference between psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists. They all must combine their efforts to meet the goals of a treatment plan. But, they must do this in a discreet manner and not in a hallway or exposed office.

Boundaries: There are rigid boundaries in place to regulate the mental health world. These boundaries are for the protection of the client. You should never be touched in any situation without your permission, but most
especially with a medical or mental health professional. A hug may be offered at times but some mental health professionals even frown on this as it could be misinterpreted. Your therapist should never ask you to get undressed or ask for any type of intimate touch.

Another consideration of boundaries concerns the role of the client and therapist. Though a client is expected to shared detailed information about his or her life, the therapist should not. The therapist may share information as they empathize with the client, but the session should never be focused on the life of the therapist.

Respect: The therapist works for you to meet your needs. You get to decide what you want to get out of these sessions, not the therapist. This may be a topic that is debated about during sessions as the therapist encourages you to set your goals higher or lower, but in the end it’s up to you what you want to get out of your mental health sessions and activities.

These are the indications of a good therapist. It’s up to you to decide whether the mental health professional you hired is going to meet your needs. If you don’t feel that they meet these qualifications or you are just uncomfortable with them, it may be time to look for a new therapist.


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