How to Find That Special Therapist

How to Find That Special Therapist

I talk through the various types of therapists, psychologists, modalities and the breadth of the field. I give you 2 or 3 simple tips on what to look for, what to expect and what questions to ask a therapist if you want to find that special therapist with whom you really click and can heal and move on from your challenges.

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:02.920] Good morning, everybody. I am going to do a one-off impromptu podcast this morning. I hope everybody's having a lovely day. I had a cancelation, and so usually I can catch up on notes or do some other things, but that's not nearly as much fun as doing a podcast. So one of the things that I do that I really, really, no matter how busy I am, I try to keep up on is I try to do I try to be a liaison between the human community and the psychology community, which means that I actually do quite a few free phone calls, sometimes for an hour here or there, half an hour, 45 minutes. And the reason I do that, even when my calendar is really full, partially, I want to contribute to the community, and I want to give back when I feel so grateful that I have a busy practice and that this helps support my family and my kids. But I also do it because there's such a deep disconnection between what psychology and therapy actually is, and what's available to you, and how it works, and how to shop for a therapist, and how to talk to a therapist and test whether or not something is appropriate for you. [00:01:29.160] There's such a disconnect between that activity of finding a therapist versus a lot of the understanding that's out there about what a therapist is. So I noticed, and I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but I know at the more instinctive level or basic level for people who haven't been exposed to therapy. Therapists are a bit like police officers or lawyers or whatever. There's this sometimes idealization and also this mystique. Occasionally, people will, if I meet people at a random dinner or whatever and you tell them you're a therapist or whatever, they'll jokingly be like, Oh, well, are you analyzing me? There's this idea that we're these people who have this deep insight into people's body language and facial expressions and what they say, and that we're immediately diagnosing people in our heads and figuring them out. I don't want to increase the fear, but there's some truth to that, actually. Hopefully not in a toxic way. And if you've been a therapist for a while, you get pretty good at turning it off because it's silly. And no, we're not deeply invested in figuring you out. When we go to a party or dinner, we just want to have fun and maybe have a couple of drinks and tell a stupid joke and be silly. [00:02:57.170] But of course, if you sit there and analyze the human condition and spend a lot of time with people, you get pretty good at reading people's body language and facial expressions. It's just that you're not sitting there doing it. If someone is like a financial advisor and you happen to comment about your home and they know where you live, they're not sitting there doing a work-up in their head and figuring out what your finances are and whether, Oh, I know what job that guy has, and I know how much it probably pays, and I know how many kids he or she has, and I know the school district and the property values. So I can be pretty sure that that person has not put away enough for it. A financial advisor is not doing that. Well, it's the same thing, right? Therapists are not doing that. So it's tough. People don't really know what therapy is, and we get idealized a lot. So one of the things I do is I act as a liaison between the public at large... And also, I was a client for many, many years, and I was super lucky because I had a couple of therapists who were misfires or maybe even did a really poor job. [00:04:12.550] And then I had a couple just phenomenal therapists to whom I owe a lot for skills that I learned just by being a client, but also in the support that I received when I was doing my own work. So to bring it to the point, what I wanted to talk about was to give you some idea of what it means if you've never been in therapy and you don't really know how to start, to give you a more realistic idea of what it is. So let's start with the big scope. You have people who, most of the time, I haven't met anybody for whom it's otherwise. If someone's a therapist, a psychologist, a licensed clinical therapist, an LPCC, a counselor, most of us, and again, I haven't met anybody for whom this was not true, got into it because we had some real challenges. And therapy really helped us. And through our own work, self-help and also work in therapy, we really figured some things out and learned to love the process of that growth of overcoming really painful things and then gaining a lot of gifts and strengths out of that and using that. [00:05:33.100] So we fell in love with the experience of it ourselves. And then through that learning, got excited and realized, hey, there's so many people suffering just for lack of information and a lack of knowing how to approach things. And so most of us got in because we have some interest in the human condition and we are deeply interested in mitigating suffering or eliminating suffering. It all starts there. Well, when you think about that, what are we talking about? That's an enormous... What we're really talking about is the human condition. There can be people that are more life coach oriented who... Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. You start with that really big thing, and then people go through various programs. I'm a marriage and family therapist because that's a very California thing. If I had studied in some other state, I would probably be a licensed clinical professional clinical counselor. There are licensed social workers. There are licensed psychologists. Well, there are psychiatrists. And for some people, they don't even know what any of this means. So let's start with the basic breakdown. A marriage and family therapist is a masters level therapist who specializes in family systems, has had some exposure to couples work, has maybe had a bit of exposure. [00:07:03.650] You definitely have worked with kids. There are certain things that go along with that license, but there's a real orientation to the family system, to the family as a system, viewing things right for the family as a system. A licensed professional clinical counselor maybe has a little slight more emphasis on trauma. Social workers, they're getting trained on the same things, but there's an emphasis on the human being in the context of society and being able to find resources for people. So social workers maybe have a little bit more training and there's more of an instinct to go into case work, case management, to work in schools, to look at situations where society is legally interacting with individuals and hurting individuals or helping individuals. Social workers may be better at finding resources, and they may be used to interacting with counties and cities to find resources for an abused woman who needs to flee her home, things like that. Now, those are just very vaguely... Those are vague directions, right? And before I move on, a psychologist is a doctoral level, and they're studying the same things, but they're studying it more deeply, right? They've looked more deeply at CBT. [00:08:35.110] They've looked more deeply at different modalities. They've just spent more time with it. And you can go into research or you can go into clinical psychology, which means when it's clinical, the emphasis is on sitting in a room with people and helping them doing therapy. Whereas research is, Oh, I think that I can really work with anxiety. I want to do some research, really see what's going on. We're going to test some cortisol levels. I'm going to put together an experiment, and I'm going to run it through UCLA, and we're going to spend two years doing this, and I'm going to contribute data to the field that's going to help everyone better understand anxiety. So psychologists have that. There are school psychologists. That's still its own thing with its own training. So if you're getting the picture, there's this massive industry and way of attempting to relate to the population in a way that's supportive and helpful, that addresses clinical mental illness, diagnosable like, Oh, this person has chronic PTSD. This person has bipolar I. This person has schizophrenia. This person has a severe alcohol addiction. Whatever it is, and then mixed into all of that is the gray area where, is that a diagnosis? [00:10:02.520] Is that a medical condition which is not totally agreed upon? Or is it just a human condition? It's just people struggling? So therapists and psychologists are all like it's this massive catch-all industry. We're underpinning the whole thing. You're clinically responsible for some level of caregiving. You're clinically responsible for being aware if your client is dangerously suicidal or dangerously homicidal, or if they are so disabled, you have hopefully have been trained to be able to get them help to get them into a psychiatric hospital or program, an IOP, which is an intensive outpatient program, or an addiction program. So at the very clinical level, you've been trained to recognize these things. There's some legal liability. If you had a client who is badly suicidal and you decided, This is too stressful and I don't want it, you just told the client, You know what? I'm not going to work with you anymore, and they went out and killed themselves. Well, you're probably legally liable for that. That's a violation of duty of care is part of the mandate that you've been given. Once you take a client on you have this duty of care, right? So there's a clinical and then there's the whole human condition which we're dealing with. [00:11:29.240] The reason I love my job so much is because I love all that stuff. I love the complexity of it. I love the science of it, and I love the human condition, and I love pulling back from the clinical part of it and then moving back in if it really needs to be used to address something. And then people who come in convinced that they're totally clinical and they're not and they just need to be ignored. I love all of that, right? But this is why it's really confusing for the general public, because this is a massive social endeavor, social undertaking with clinical content, medical content. I didn't even get to what a psychiatrist is. And people get confused about that because there are psychiatrists who do therapy the way an MFT or a psychologist or a social worker does or a licensed clinical counselor. A psychiatrist is an MD, it's a doctor. A psychiatrist is an MD. They have gone through medical school and they had a specialization in the human brain and really they become really crucial when you get into schizophrenia, bipolar I, things where medication is really, really important. Or if someone has depression that's so severe that just talking to someone and getting some sunshine and exercise and figuring out that they have negative thought systems and working on those negative belief systems with a therapist isn't enough. [00:13:13.640] It's a dangerous... Okay, psychiatry is really important. You need to get them to a psychiatrist, and that psychiatrist needs to look at their brain chemistry and go, Hey, I'm going to put you on an SSRI. I'm going to give you this because we need to intercede here. So psychiatrists are their own little component of this community. Some of them do therapy. It's not as common. But they integrate with overall therapy in that they are medically treating the state of the brain, the physiological state of the brain. And again, whether or not they have humanistic sides, there are some psychiatrists who just pump people in every half hour. It's like, Come in, take down. How's everything going? What are you experiencing? Blah, blah, blah. Lovely people. They're kind people, but they are not doing therapy. They're just like, What are your symptoms? How long has it been here? What's the history? Et cetera, et cetera. Are you doing drugs? What's your diet? Okay, blah, blah, blah. Here's your script. Again, I don't mean to disparage, but they're really clinical and physiological and they're into the brain chemistry and correcting that so that people have a shot. [00:14:26.630] And usually there's a benefit in the relationship between the two. So you have marriage and family therapists, licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed clinical social worker. You have psychologists that could be clinical, people who do therapy, research. And you have psychiatrists who are medical doctors who can prescribe medication. And you want to be really clear about that, because if any therapist you go to is going to be willing to discuss medication with you, but it is illegal for them to advise you. They might on the download, just soft say, Hey, I think you should consider talking to a psychiatrist and seeing if an SSRI would work for you. But they should never be saying, You really need to be on Zoloft. That worked really well for a lot of my clients. They might, but strictly speaking, it's against the law. They're not a medical doctor. They're not a medical doctor. And it isn't even that maybe they might know. They might anecdotally have learned so well. And for example, me, I geek out on the brain physiology and the brain structures are like, I love that. I loved that when I was in the program. So I have maybe a little bit more of that packed away than other people. [00:15:53.700] That doesn't mean that I get to tell you that you should take a medication or that you should stop taking medication. That's against the law. I'm not an MD. A psychologist is at a PhD level, but they are not a medical doctor. They are not a psychiatrist. So there's this hard delineation there. Okay, that's all a bit sociological, and these are conversations that I have with people if they're not sure what the foundation is, like what is psychology? What is psychiatry? What's a therapist versus a psychologist? What does any of this mean? And for some people, it's significant to them that you have a doctorate. I've had those clients who will say, Well, they're a PhD. I want to tell you they've had a lot more training, but when it comes to the complexity of this thing, I've seen case workers with a high school education who were far more talented and wise therapists and counselors to clients than psychologists with a PhD. That is not to disparage someone who goes and get a PhD. What I'm saying is this thing is so complex, and it takes so much individual talent and motivation that you're really in a field where just saying, Well, they have a PhD, therefore they're better than so and so. [00:17:24.870] Again, when I was learning, when I was doing my internship, I worked with case managers who many of them didn't have a college degree. This was just their vocation, is what they decided to do. And their wisdom and their skill and their clinical knowledge from having worked with people, working with populations, I learned tons from them. And there were some of them just had this natural talent, this natural instinct that I envied, right? That I learned a lot. So when you get into this field, you have to be really careful about going like, Oh, this person has a PhD or this person has a Masters. This is a licensed whatever. When you get into the human condition, just look for wisdom, grounding, and connection to you. When it gets really clinical, well, if you need a medication, go to a psychiatrist. Maybe have a conversation with your therapist, but you need to go to an MD or a psychiatrist, right? If you want someone who can talk to you about data, maybe someone who's been through a PhD program just has more experience and have done more of that. Again, I've done a lot of that. [00:18:45.040] I read the data because it's interesting to me and I geek out on it, but that's just me. Okay, so then let's get to the human component. You, as a client, let's say you've never... Look, this is all overwhelming. You've just heard the last 20 minutes from JS WNDYRs, from John Sorensen, telling you about this field and how complex it is and how broad it is and how deep it can be, what the heck am I supposed to do? There's a couple of important things to know. At the more idealistic level, there may be a perception that every therapist you go to should have a basic knowledge. Effectively speaking, that's just not the case. It's too big and it's too broad. So first, you may not know what's going on with you. So this may be confusing. How am I supposed to know what's going on with me? How am I supposed to... But I want to give you some ways of approaching it to just have an idea of what questions to ask. Number one, finding a therapist is a little bit like dating someone or putting together a band or marrying someone. The chemistry is really, really important. [00:20:18.500] And so you should talk to somebody for half an hour, maybe 40 minutes. This again is why I donate a lot of time to people. I want them to talk to me. I don't want them to hear like, Oh, John's the guy to go to for this, and just to come in and then have three or four sessions and figure out like, There's something about John. Just doesn't work for me. And any therapist who's a really good therapist who works hard and has experience should learn what their limitations are. They should learn what their limitations are. For example, for me, I'm really warm. I love my clients. I develop feelings of warmth and affection to my clients, and it's not difficult for me to let them know. I like it. I really like the human component. I like to be clinical and intellectual and then just go to the human and curse if I need to be like, Hey, fuck it, man. What happened to you is bullshit. I hate it. I feel choked up right now thinking about it, and I wish that had not happened to you. That's part of who I am. [00:21:27.450] At the same time, when people are struggling with a need for someone who's really nurturing, I learned over a period of time that I'm not as nurturing as maybe as a female therapist or maybe a male therapist who just is more in touch with that. I have a tendency to be a little bit intellectual. I'm hyperverbal. And so that gets in the way a little bit. If you just need someone who really knows how to slow it down, soften it up, and who can just stop and go and just exude that. That's something that I'm working on continuing to develop. But there have been cases in the past where I'm like, Wow, I have a limitation here. Your therapist should know their own limitation. If you come to me and you say, Hey, I really want to get super behavioral and I want to do CBT, which is all about being very academic about your thoughts. Right? And it's this behavioral approach that is one of the most effective techniques. You shouldn't come to me. That's not my specialization. I don't specialize in that. So chemistry is important, and your therapists knowing what their strengths and what their, I don't want to call them weaknesses, but where they're limited as human being. [00:22:53.630] Like maybe that's not my thing. Sometimes just gender. I had someone do an intake with me who is talking about like, Hey, I want a therapist where I can really get in touch with the feminine divine and et cetera. I love working with women. That's one of my favorite things. I like, especially if they have wounding from men, and I can participate. And they allow me, if they honor me and allow me to help them heal from a male wound, I love that. That's so significant to me. I love it. But if you're looking for someone to help you explore the feminine divine and you want a feminine presence, you should probably look for a female therapist, right? There are these things. So A, shopping for a therapist. You don't want to just call someone up and feel that, in general, there's just this training and someone who is a therapist is there for someone who can deal with who I am, how I am, and what I'm struggling with. That doesn't mean they're a bad therapist. That doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you. I see people get really sad or depressed or almost feel like I'm abandoned, like the world is not for me because they've struggled for a long time and then they finally risk going to a therapist and they go to the first one and they go through two or three sessions and there's a disconnect. [00:24:21.440] The way that person talks or interacts just doesn't work for them. Then they really feel scared that it's like, Everyone told me to go to therapy and I went, and it was terrible. I had a horrible experience. Set yourself to... You probably won't take 5 or 10, but don't be surprised if you contact or maybe even try five or ten therapists. In between the therapists that I found who were just phenomenal for me, I flirted here and there and tried little programs and tried this and there. Sometimes they're therapists. I don't know what it was. Maybe I was weird. I don't know. There just wasn't a connection. It wasn't going to work. I didn't get them or they didn't get me. So when approaching, you want to know that there's no such thing as just calling up a therapist and having them call you back and go, Oh, this person is trained. Therefore, they know everything about psychological issues. There's no such thing. Human beings are incredibly complex. You might have a eating disorder, but the way you interact and what person you are and what your history is, is going to be totally different than this other person who has an eating disorder. [00:25:46.140] So yeah, you want to look for someone who specializes in eating disorders, but that doesn't mean that just because that person specializes in eating disorders that the first person who answers your call is your therapist. Don't feel that the world has abandoned you that there isn't an answer. Just relax, lay back and go, Oh, I'm interviewing for that special person who's really right for me, who has an energy and a way of being who's right for me. So that's the first thing. Knowing that this is a broad, massive field, there's different types of training. There are people with different focuses. Let's take someone who's in MFT. Someone might be in MFT, but they're much more oriented towards life coaching. They don't do deep developmental trauma. They don't do it. If you're up and running, but you're really depressed because you're going through a divorce, they're really good at getting you back up and getting you motivated and looking at really... That's just their personality. If you went to them and that's not what you wanted and you had deep developmental trauma and they didn't help you sort it out, that's not because they're a bad therapist or you're a hopeless case. [00:27:05.010] They're just not your therapist. Right? So this thing being this complex, again, this is why I do lots of free phone calls. I want to contribute by being a liaison because people need a way to access the psychology, the therapy community. That isn't just like someone, a family member being like, You really need therapy. And they just make some phone calls and they talk to somebody and they're like, Oh, my God, it didn't work. So prepare your sofa there being five or 10 interactions or interactions with five or 10 different people. Prepare your sofa that. That's normal. That doesn't mean anything about those therapists. So that's the number one. The number two is, ask questions about what their modality is, why they chose it. If someone asks me or when people come in, again, the reason I'll spend so much time for free is because you should know that my healing happened in somatic therapy, which is very much about the body. It's very scientific about your brain and your nervous system. That doesn't mean your therapist won't be really loving and caring and present as a human. But there's a lot of training and a lot of my healing happened in that community with my therapist from that community. [00:28:32.640] I'm really sold on it. I'm an EMDR practitioner and attachment focus, which is developmental trauma, right? So I have this orientation. I'm an MFT, so I'm very family systems oriented. So I can tell you that that's where I come from, and I can explain to you how that would translate into what you would experience. Right? If you've never been to therapy, ask the therapist you're talking to. We get past intake. You ask me all the questions or whatever. What happens? What actually happens? What does this look like? What do I do? What do you do? I can tell you, for example, if you came to me, I'm big on homework because somatic therapy is about you learning your nervous system, your brain and your body, and working some skills and working some things between sessions to help shift your baseline. I could explain to you, if you came in, we do a lot of history taking. You would talk as much as you needed to, but I'm a somatic therapist and an EMDR practitioner, which means I'm going to be gently leaning away from just talking and talking and talking, which has great value. You into what are you noticing? [00:29:47.120] What's going on with your body? How do you experience that? When I feel anxious, my heart pounds a little bit, my chest is a little tight. I feel like I can't get enough air. It's not super abdominal. For some people, they feel anxious. They get a pit in their stomach. These different things mean different things to somatic therapists. We use that as content. So we're constantly asking you, how does this stuff factor in? Imagine if you were someone who were raised and you were molested by a parent over a period of years, from two years old to eight years old. So you have this intense discomfort with your body. And that parent was constantly critical and talking about your body and verbally addressing your body and taking ownership of your brain and your body, constantly talking about like, Well, I think you feel like this, blah, blah, blah. Guess what? It's possible that a somatic therapist might not be the place for you to start. It's a really legitimate place, and it's really good at healing developmental trauma. But if you have a therapist whose very task is to ask you and for them to be aware of your body, and that is your trigger, and you don't want that, you're like, I don't want it. [00:31:13.230] I spent my whole childhood with that. Leave me alone. I don't want to do that. That's legitimate. You have a right to say that. A somatic therapist might not be the right therapist for you. So you can see right there, this is my own modality. I believe in it deeply. It is incredibly effective. It's scientific. There's data behind it. I won't take up this time to explain to you why it's so effective, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing for you. You might want to go to someone who's trained in classical Freudian psychotherapy or attachment-focused talk therapy, where you want someone to look you in the face and stay up here and let's be verbal. I need to talk. I need to talk. I need to talk about what I experience, and I don't want you taking ownership of it or talking about my body or refer it like that might be what you need. For me, I was hyperverbal, and I used verbalization to avoid how my body felt and to avoid healing. I was staying in my head. And so after a period of doing that with one therapist who did a great job at allowing me that, I moved into somatic therapy where I needed to stop talking. [00:32:31.980] But those were two different periods with two different needs. Some people need talk therapy. Some people need CBT. The therapist you talk to should be able to tell you how different modalities address different things. They should be able to explore with you what's going on, what your challenges are, what you can handle in session, what you can't handle, what your session might look like. If they can't explain that to you, or if they're one of these therapists who's like, Well, I've trained on everything and I have a good... They might be a good therapist. If you like their energy and their chemistry, go with it. But that's often a sign of a new therapist who actually doesn't know who they are. And at the beginning, you'll see them list like pages of like CBT and acceptance and commitment therapy and addiction treatment, and I treat depression, and I treat this, and I treat that, and eating disorders, and Jungian therapy, and attachment therapy, and blah, blah, blah, because they have been exposed to all that. But once you really figure out who you are as a human, as a healed human or a healing human and a therapist, and you figure out like, Oh, I have this personality, and this is the strength of this personality, but also the limit of this personality. [00:33:58.200] I'm hyperverbal. That is a strength of my personality, but it's also a limit. I guarantee you someone who has this really quiet, nonverbal energy, I can do that. I've trained myself to do that. But I guarantee you if that's really what you want, you should go to them, not me. Because I'm going to end up talking about what you're experiencing. I'm going to end up explaining things about your nervous system because that's who I am. That's part of what I do. So when you talk to the therapist, you want to ask them, What does the session actually look like? Once we get into the work, what's actually happening? What am I doing? You should ask, What am I doing? What do I do? Like me, the client, what do I do? Because lots of therapists may know what they do, but they may not really understand the dynamic of like, Well, this is what the client is responsible for. Again, I give lots of homework, so you don't have to do it. But if you're doing somatic therapy, you're retraining your brain and your body to a different baseline, a different way of being that's much more peaceful and much more resourced, imagine going to a trainer at the gym and you're like, Well, I want to bench 200 pounds. [00:35:18.460] They show you some techniques and they give you some exercises, and then you're going to meet them again in two weeks. Then you come back in two weeks and they're like, How did it go? You're like, What do you mean? They're like, Did you work on this stuff? You're like, No, you're my trainer. You make me stronger. No, that's not how it works. That's probably definitely not in somatic therapy. Again, if you don't, if you're so overwhelmed that you can't, there's nothing wrong with that. But if you come to somatic therapy, attachment-focused EMDR therapy with someone like myself, I'm going to give you homework. I'm going to say start with these breathing exercises. Then here's this resource that we worked on. Do you have enough time that you can do this once in the morning and once at night? Because repetitively, repetition is what changes the brain and the nervous system. It's what changes the body state. It's not just the therapist saying or helping you feel a certain way in the session and you go, Oh, my God, my therapist was so good and that felt really good and I feel better. That's great. [00:36:22.190] That should be true pretty often for any therapist. But if you go away for six days and feel horrible again, that just reinforces your body state. Anyway, I'm getting into my own stuff. But the point is, you should be able to ask your therapist, What does this actually look like? And have them explain their modality and explain what you're responsible for and what you would be doing and what you might be experiencing and ask what your fears are. I work with deep developmental trauma and PTSD and chronic PTSD. What that means is sometimes people have flashbacks. Sometimes they come to me because they're having such severe flashbacks that they're terrified of what's happening to them. They want to come in and be like, Well, what's going to happen? I have to be ethical and honest and tell them part of the work that we're doing is that we're going to trigger some trauma memories. I'm going to do everything I can such that it's not full-blown, but we don't have complete control of that. You don't have switches on the outside of your head. And so sometimes in therapy, you might have a flashback. Now, I'm trained. [00:37:34.350] I specialize in being able to help you and reground you and help you get back to a better place. But coming to therapy doesn't mean that you're never going to feel that again. Your therapist should be able to explain these things to you, what you will experience, what the risks are, what the strengths are, what the trajectory is. Possibly, how long does this take? I can't tell you upfront because I don't know what your childhood is. But within two or three months, if we've already spent a couple weeks in your history, and I've worked with you and worked with your body state, I have a pretty good idea. Not down to months or weeks. But I know if someone is in for three to five years versus two years, if someone has a really adaptive childhood and they just had one traumatizing experience, it could be weeks. It could be a month, right? We can predict those things. But if you get into complex developmental trauma, it gets way more complicated and the way more intense it is, the longer it can take. And it depends on how hard the person works. Right? And it depends on how hard they're able to work. [00:38:46.150] Someone with four kids in a really stressful job, it's not their fault. They're not working between sessions, and they're in for a very slow, gentle process that's going to be over a long period of time. Because they can't go to the gym every week and they can't do a bunch of homework. So your therapist should have an awareness of the human state, of the state of your life, what's possible for you. They should have some ability to talk to you about how long it could take, and how they approach things, and how you might experience how they approach things. Right? So we're looking at A, C, knowing that there are different ways of approaching and that there's chemistry. You should be evaluating five or ten therabists, if that's possible. You might find it on the first or second. Great. You should be looking at chemistry, personality. This person might sound right on paper, but do I feel comfortable with them? When I talk to them for an hour, do I sit in a room with them for an hour or sit on Zoom with them for an hour? Do I feel like I understand what's going on with them, and they understand what's going on with me? [00:40:05.620] Can I ask them these questions and get intelligible answers? Hey, Mr. Or Mrs. Therapist, what is your modality? How does that connect to what I'm experiencing? This is what I'm experiencing. This is what's going on with my head. This is what I've always struggled with. How does your modality connect? What's the point of doing that? They should even be able to explain to you how other modalities that are not their specialty connect. For example, CBT works really well with teens. It's very cerebral, but it gives them a lever. When they feel overwhelmed by hormones and life, and they're launching as new adults, young adults in this vast world, sometimes it's better for them to get something that's very concrete, is behavioral, and is about thoughts. It's about writing those thoughts down. I can explain that to you, and I can also tell you that that's not my specialty. I can find a CBT therapist and I can refer you. The therapist that you talk to should be able to do that. If what you're experiencing calls for a modality that is not that therapist's specialty, then that therapist should be able to tell you. They should be able to tell you why their modality is good for you and how it connects and can heal you. [00:41:37.280] If they're one of these people who, which I confess I was early on, you get really excited where you're like, Oh, man, EMDR, everything, somatic therapy, everything in different stages sometimes. Somatic therapy, when I started therapy, wouldn't have worked. I was hyperverbal, completely cut off from my body. It was going to be overwhelming to try to connect to me the state that my body was in, I needed to talk. After I did that work, somatic therapy became this beautiful thing that was just right. So you want to be able to ask a therapist, What am I going to experience? What is my responsibility? How does your modality connect to what I'm experiencing? And if it's a different modality that would be appropriate for me, can you to refer me to someone that you know? The therapist maybe should be able to be a liaison to the community and help you connect to the community in a way that supports you. That's the end of the spiel for today, but I wanted to give you guys something, especially for people who've never been to therapy or don't have referrals, some idea of how to approach this thing such that you have much more positive experiences. [00:43:00.020] It's much more hopeful. And so that you understand that when you call a therapist and their chemistry is wrong or they're too expensive and you can't afford them, or they can't take you on because they're like, Hey, that's not my specialty. That doesn't mean anything bad about you. It doesn't mean that you're abandoned. It doesn't mean that the therapy community can't be of significant help and support to you. It means that it's normal for you to call and to work through. You are evaluating them to make sure that you have someone who can truly support you and honor what your struggle is. Those are some things to look at. I hope that helps. I hope you guys have a wonderful day, and I will talk to you next time. Take care. Bye.

Meet your hosts:

Jon Sorensen


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