How to Pick a Therapist, Part Two

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by Rachael Clinton, Assistant Director of Program Development and Admissions for The Allender Center, as we continue a series about one of the most common questions we receive: What should I look for when I am picking a therapist? Rachael shares from her own recent experience of stepping back into therapy, and she and Dan reflect on what to look for and how to take those first steps.

Rachael: “It’s good to honor that, even when our heart really longs for finding a therapist, even when we know that it’s really important, even when there is a deep desire to really connect with someone, sometimes it takes a lot of courage to send that email or make that call.”

This process of finding a good therapist is not pleasant, it’s not usually going to be easy, and it’s going to require investigation.

Rachael and Dan talk about starting with referrals from trusted friends, then stepping into a few initial consultations to see how you connect, remembering that just because someone is a good therapist does not necessarily mean that they are the right therapist for you. They also discuss dual relationships, the awkwardness of bumping into your therapist at work or church, or the feeling that you need to censor yourself if you and your therapist move in the same social circles.

Rachael shares from her experience of PTSD and the temptation to lean on her experience, knowledge, and community to deal with it without therapy. “I was reaching moments where it was starting to prohibit my capacity to thrive,” she says. Also, working in a helping profession and tending to the trauma of others, Rachael found that she needed a space that was dedicated to her own healing, sitting with someone who was committed to her health and growth.

Rachael: “We enter therapy for different reasons and different seasons. Sometimes we enter therapy because the world is crashing down and we really need help even seeing what is true. Sometimes we enter therapy even though things in our life are going well, especially because things in our life are going well, and we know there are some places of healing that we want to tend to and feel like we have the resources to actually step into some of that work. I felt Jesus actually saying, ‘There are some places of your heart that I think you’re ready to step into. And you don’t have to do that alone.’”