Every day more and more people seek the help of a therapist. Many begin this journey by asking friends and family if they know of a good therapist or counselor. Some might ask their primary care physician or another healthcare professional they trust. Some people do an internet search for the best therapists near them, occasionally adding the problem they face in their lives. But finding the right therapist for online therapy in Florida is challenging. It is more complex than a simple google search.
The therapeutic relationship is a unique one.
It requires you to feel safe, and connected, to have an alliance, and to be able to trust your online therapist. Your friends or family may have had great success with their therapist, but that does not mean they will be a good fit for you. Your struggle lived experience, and understanding of the issue is going to be different from that of your friends and family. You may even require someone with specified training in trauma, addiction, mothers, veterans, men’s issues, specific disorders, or even cultural factors. You may feel more open with a female therapist or a male therapist, or perhaps an LGBTQ+ allied therapist.
Your therapist should be in tune with your unique needs and it is easy to find one who is not.
This is not to suggest that they are a bad therapist, it simply means that they are not a good fit for you. So, how do you find the right therapist? I am glad you asked! In this blog, we will discuss some of the ways you can figure out if a potential therapist will be a good fit for you or not, and allow you to go into therapy ready to address your concerns and begin your healing journey.
Ask for a Quick Consult
This consult is not therapy. Often times it can be done over the phone or a video call and take only a few minutes. It is just as much about you learning about the potential therapist as it is for them to learn about you. Do not be afraid to ask them questions.
This is an opportunity to ask about their experience in your particular struggle.
If you want to work through trauma, unprocessed grief, anxiety, depression, or a recent diagnosis, this consult will allow you to learn about their experience. If you need to work through a history of trauma or suffer from PTSD, someone with very little or no experience in the area might not be the best therapist for you. Or if you have drastically different cultural practices which are important to the therapeutic process and they are unfamiliar with those cultural practices, it might not be a good fit.
Additionally, this consult will allow you to know what the therapeutic process will look like before you begin. How long are the sessions? What are the costs? Is it covered by insurance? Is there a sliding scale if you do not have insurance? Are they virtual online, live, or both? Do they diagnose and refer out or are they part of the entire process? Do they offer support groups for your conflict? Are they systemically focused or do they focus on pathology, which of those two would you rather work on?
The last question can be a hard one to know for sure, especially for clients new to therapy.
Systemic therapy focuses more on your lived experiences, culture, and relationships. Whereas pathology-focused therapy is more focused on the diagnoses, behaviors or actions associated with it, and treatment that aligns with the diagnosis. For example, someone with anxiety seeing a systemic therapist might focus on past traumas, how the anxiety affects relationships, and how it impacts their life. A therapist focused on pathology might utilize cognitive behavioral therapy to change thoughts and behavior associated with the anxiety and may even refer you to a psychiatrist for anti-anxiety medication.
How you approach this will be different for each individual. Some people want to avoid medication due to a history of addiction or health beliefs. Others may find relief in medication and learning cognitive behavioral skills. Both are highly beneficial, but what matters is which is most beneficial to you.
Be Honest in Online Therapy!
It is not uncommon to feel no connection with a therapist and to feel that there is no therapeutic alliance established. It is also not uncommon for an individual to continue attending sessions because they feel the therapist will be mad if they end therapy or will think less of them. Eventually, you may begin canceling sessions or not showing up. You may be turned off from therapy because they did not connect with you. Whatever the case, you are pushed back to square one and sometimes even left with less hope.
Therapists are aware that they will not be a good fit for everyone who walks into their office. Their goal is for you to reach your goals and find comfort. If that is not with them, they will understand, and they will be glad to offer referrals if you need them. If you feel you are not gaining anything from the therapeutic relationship, be honest. It is better to end therapy and find a therapist who will connect with you better than to continue in the current therapy.
There is nothing to be ashamed of in finding a new online therapist if you feel the one you are working with is not a good fit. You have complete autonomy in decision-making, and it is more important for you to exercise your best interest than the therapists.
Know Your Therapy Goals
It is common for someone to go to therapy saying, “I want to be happy.” Or, “I want to feel better.” “I want a healthier relationship.” While these are amazing goals to have and certain goals everyone should strive for, they are also very vague. Happiness to one person is not going to look the same as it does for someone else. Feeling better is also quite a perception-based goal. Even what a healthy relationship looks like is not the same for every individual. “Normal,” is another relative term a client tends to use a lot. Normal in the context of society at large? Or on your cultural factors? Normally based on your community?
Before entering online therapy, it is a good idea to know what it is exactly you want to be different. While you may not have a concrete answer to these questions, it is good to know what happiness means to you. How will you know you are happy? What will be different? How will you know your relationship is healthy? What does a healthy relationship look like to you? Comparatively, what is your context for normal? What makes being normal within that important for you?
Having a basic idea of these answers can help you and your therapist work together to accomplish your goals. Again, you should not expect to know the answers in depth, just a basic idea. For example, being happy might mean you feel good or content most days of the week rather than one or two days a month. From there you and your therapist can expand and create more in-depth goals.
Red Flags in Online Therapy
When you have begun therapy, there are a few things to look out for to make sure that your therapeutic relationship is solid. As in any form of treatment, there are some red flags to watch out for.
Your therapist does not honor, set, or maintain boundaries.
There are many ways to experience this, from unwanted touching to too many questions about unrelated topics. A therapist may also engage in counter-transference (the act of pushing personal beliefs on clients).
They violate confidentiality.
Therapists receive a lot of referrals from past and current clients. If the therapist brings up other client issues, particularly of someone who referred you, they are breaching confidentiality. In a family session, if they share something you talked about in an individual session without approval from you. A therapist should never share information about a client without their written consent except for very specific circumstances.
Self-disclosure at inappropriate or irrelevant times.
Therapy should always be about the client, if the therapist shares their experiences with every situation you bring up, that’s an issue. The act of self-disclosure itself is not harmful, in fact, it can be beneficial. Be cautious when therapy revolves more around the therapist than you.
Poor communication can really hinder the therapeutic relationship.
You should be concerned if your therapist misses appointments, double books, or doesn’t respond promptly. Therapists may not be available (except for emergencies) on weekends or holidays, or they may request 24 hours to respond. They have set those boundaries. But if they take days or weeks to respond to you, if at all, that is a red flag that the relationship probably will not be beneficial to you.
Judgment-free space is essential for therapy.
The last thing you need when going to therapy is to feel judged. Therapy should be the one place where you feel unconditionally accepted. When your therapist judges you and clearly disapproves of your actions or decisions, it will not help your relationship. However, it has ties to counter-transference.
If your therapist offers advice or tells you “How to fix a problem” that is a clear red flag.
While most clients want the therapist to tell them how to fix their problems and offer them advice, this is not the place of the therapist. Their role is to help you navigate your thoughts and conflicts in such a way that you come to your own conclusions. You must take control of your life and implement changes you feel will be of benefit.
Let’s Get Started Today with Online Therapy in Florida!
Online therapy is convenient and accessible for those looking for specialized help. If you’re looking for support from the comfort of your own space, we are here to serve you. Call us for your first appointment today at 3216138685. You will be working with one of our many skilled online therapists at the True You Always virtual therapy practice in Florida who are here to walk through whatever stage in life you’re dealing with at this moment. To get started with therapy, either schedule your free phone consultation to determine what service is right for you or follow these simple steps:
Other Services Offered at True You Always
Here at True You Always, we offer many services with a wide range of therapists. We are here to walk alongside you no matter what you’re dealing with. Our goal is to provide a safe and accepting space for you to breathe and be your authentic self. Along with therapy for teens, we offer additional services at our Florida practice. You may also be interested in therapy for first responders, therapy for work stress, anxiety, and stress treatment, or PTSD treatment and trauma therapy. Additionally, we offer couples therapy, family therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, therapy for disordered eating, therapy for teens and tweens, support for families with a loved one struggling with ED, therapy for adults, substance use disorders, therapy for spouses of first responders, play therapy, therapy for allergies, and chronic illness. Our services are provided both in-person and online therapy in Florida.