While deciding to engage in therapy can feel like a big decision, it is not the only challenge one may face prior to sitting down in the therapist’s office. A common question we hear from clients is a lack of direction when “shopping” for a therapist or therapeutic approach that is the right fit for both themselves and their area of concern.
While it may sometimes feel overwhelming, seeking a better understanding of what approach will be the best fit for you does not have to be especially difficult.
Seeking Treatments that are Evidence Based
Accessing an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy means that the techniques being applied in treatment are supported through research and have been found effective in reducing symptoms for people with a particular type of concern. There may be a variety of different options available that meet your needs, but not every “validated” approach will be the right fit for you or your particular area of difficulty.
Not all domains of therapy are easy to study in controlled research trials, meaning that not all therapy orientations receive the “evidenced based” seal of approval. Styles of therapy that are not evidenced based are not necessarily ineffective, but a practice modality that is at least informed by this research is ideal.
You will generally find that many therapists use an eclectic approach to treatment, meaning they borrow strategies from a variety of different therapeutic modalities and incorporate them into your care in an individualized manner. This is very common because it allows the therapist to choose a combination of techniques that seem right for you, rather than trying to fit you to a specific mold. What is most important is that the therapist is trained in each of these different approaches.
What if the fit doesn’t feel right?
As a client, you have every right to change your mind with regards to your consent to treatment and can stop treatment/therapy at any time. Consent should be an ongoing and collaborative process. Perhaps you try out a therapist and agree to a treatment plan, but later find that things are not moving the way you would like. It is certainly within your right to discontinue care at any time and transition to a new treatment provider, though you may also find you benefit greatly from communicating your concerns with your therapist and seeing if they use that feedback to further shape the collaborative process to meet your needs. Lastly, it is important to give it more than just a session or two before you assess fit. Keep in mind that the therapist only has the information you have provided to get things started and sometimes we need a few sessions to obtain a fuller understanding of your needs. So, give it a chance, but also recognize if your needs are not being met and consider moving on if that seems to be a hurdle you cannot cross.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.