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How to find the right therapist: 3 Conversational 'Red Flags'

Finding a therapist nowadays is a difficult business. Let alone, one that treats your issues, accepts your insurance, and is affirming in all the right ways. If you have the right therapist for you, hooray! You did it! May you live happily ever after, or something like that. But if you're still looking, use these tips to help screen potential candidates.

Have you ever left a conversation with someone feeling unsettled? It's hard to describe, isn't it! Like on the surface things seemed fine and if anyone ever transcripted it, there's no real indication of error or wrong. But you have that gut feeling, an instinct, a small voice, an inner knowing, that something was off.

LISTEN TO IT! This is your finely tuned warning system giving you an error message.

Good things ahead when you heed these signs:

1) Lights are on, but no one is home

You know this look. Blank stares, disinterested "uh huh" answers, and they often repeat themselves without listening to you. Move on. They are probably too busy to remember your name. You need a live human.

2) Perfection. No person has it all together. Trying to sell perfection only leads to disappointment on both sides. Be honest about your flaws and areas for improvement, and expect the same.

3) Arrogance. I once visited a therapist (literally, one time), who proudly told me all about his vacation habits, hobbies, and side hustles during session. He shared about all the schooling he had done, what he was planning to do next (ministry, in case you wondered), and gave my actual presenting concerns very little face time in comparison. Which is weird for a first session, it's supposed to be about the client, right? It will come as no surprise to anyone that he is no longer a therapist. If your next first session is very much about the therapist, and less about your actual concerns or how they might help you, move on. This person has failed "Listening well" and thus does not deserve your money (or time, honestly).

That's all for now. I'll keep thinking, and in the meantime, happy hunting!

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