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Feeling comfortable with your therapist or counsellor is important, as it affects how well your talking therapy goes.
"The most important factor in determining whether your therapy is successful is your relationship with the therapist," says Phillip Hodson of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
If you are planning to have counselling or therapy privately, think about what kind of therapist you want. For instance, you may prefer a man or a woman, someone with the same background as you (or a different one) or someone your own age or older.
If you’re having talking therapy on the NHS, you may not be able to choose who you see. That doesn’t mean you have to stick with a counsellor or therapist you’re not happy with. If it’s not working, ask for a referral to a different therapist (although you may have to wait).
When you meet a therapist for the first time, ask yourself if you think you would feel more comfortable with a different type of person. If you think you would feel uncomfortable no matter who the therapist was, your concerns may be more about the situation than the therapist themselves.
"If you’re paying for private therapy, you can treat the initial assessment a bit like an audition," says Phillip.
"It’s a good sign if you get a gut feeling the therapist knows what they’re doing and you’re able to talk openly with them. But if you don't get this feeling, then I’d advise you not to continue."
Talking therapies can mean opening up about your private thoughts and feelings, so it’s important that the therapist puts you at ease. You should feel able to talk honestly without getting too nervous or embarrassed.
A good therapist:
Also check that they are accredited by a professional body, such as the BACP.
"Talking therapies aren’t meant to be cosy and you’re not there to just chat and have coffee," says Phillip Hodson. "The sessions are hard work."
Here are some things to bear in mind:
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