Skip to content

Is it You or is it Me? Finding Your Best Therapeutic Fit

Is it You or is it Me? Finding Your Best Therapeutic Fit.

Whether it’s while we are scheduling our initial visit or during our intake session, I frequently get asked this question: How will I know if you’re the right counselor for me?

That is a FANTASTIC Question. The simple fact that you’re even asking that question is a good sign that you’re ready to do great therapeutic work!

RAPPORT

In an ideal world, you would strike gold on your first therapy appointment and have awesome rapport from “hello.” In reality, it may end up being more like test driving cars before deciding which make/model you actually want to end up with for the therapeutic journey.

Beginning therapy can be nerve-racking enough already. The last thing you need is to commit to counseling with someone who makes you feel like the therapeutic equivalent of buying a compact car when what you really need is enough leg room to stretch out.

So how can you tell that you’re on the right path with picking a therapist?

There are two questions you’ll want to keep in mind during your first session:

  1. Does your therapist give you the impression that she knows what she is talking about?
  2. Can you see yourself being comfortable sharing the ins and outs of your life with them?

If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” it may be an indicator that you haven’t quite found the right fit, therapeutically speaking. And that’s totally ok. There is someone for everyone. It’s not really even personal. Stay loyal to your goals and instincts and keep looking.

I truly want you to be with someone who feels “right” to you, and if something in your gut is telling you that it’s not me, I’d be more than happy to give you some great referrals who may better fit your needs and goals!

If the answer to both of the above questions is “yes,” it’s a good sign that you’re on the right path in finding a good therapeutic fit. You probably won’t be leaving the first session feeling like you’re 100% sure about your therapist. But you should have a good sense that you could see it working out well.

Other Considerations:

  • You shouldn’t leave your first session feeling judged, preached to, or confused.
  • You should have a good idea of how the therapy process works and an estimation of how long the process usually takes for goals similar to yours.
  • You should feel like your questions were answered and that you’ve found your way into the office of a person who isn’t shocked by what you’re saying.
  • You want to feel like you’re sitting with someone who has been down this road before.
  • Within a few sessions, you should understand what therapeutic framework your therapist uses and how your goals may be met through that framework.
  • Before too long, you’ll start to get a feel for the therapist’s personality and communication style.

For me, I like to be very collaborative in the therapeutic process. I want to hear how you respond to things. You’re a full partner in this process.

I like to be goal-directed in therapy. We will have a clear understanding of what you’d like to address in your past or change about your current life before we really begin the work of therapy. I’m going to want to know where exactly you want to go before we put the car in drive.

I tend to be very plain speaking and cut to the chase. And I shoot for discussing really difficult topics in really accessible ways.

With most people, I’m not exceedingly maternal. And no one has ever accused me of coddling.

Not every therapist is like me, and not every client wants my style. Stylistic preferences may be dealbreakers for some clients. And that’s 100% okay. Stay true to your gut and preferences!

Therapy Models:

Other people may care less about personality/style, but instead are looking for a specific therapeutic framework. Within a few sessions, you ought to be able to understand what therapeutic framework your therapist primarily uses and how it will fit with your goals.

For individual work, I typically use EMDR and CBT. For couples work, I tend to use more of an EFT approach (though I am less model driven with couple work than individual work). To me, the lack of a strong therapeutic framework can lead to an endless string of putting out fires in your personal life, instead of addressing root causes. I find these therapeutic models to be the best fit both for my strengths as a therapist and for the types of clients that I see in my practice.

The bottom line is: the therapy process should work for YOU. You owe it to yourself to find the right person for you, your personality and your needs. Trust your gut and your instincts. You know what “yes” feels like to you, and a good therapist will always support that, even if it means you end up in someone else’s office.

Check out this article for additional FAQ’s about my practice and therapy in general. If you have any specific questions for me regarding therapy or my practice, please contact me here! I have offices in Baton Rouge and Walker, Louisiana.

Accidental Disrespect

Portrait of a couple

Accidental Disrespect

Are You Accidentally Disrespecting the Man In Your Life?

I’ll tell it to you like this: It’s hard to be married to a marriage therapist. Yet, my husband does it very well.

This is an example of our lives that happened THIS WEEK. Unvarnished. Unedited. This is real life with me.

Wednesday night, we went to a crawfish boil with our small group at church. It was awesome.

On our way home, my husband, Chad, realized he left his Apple Watch with our friend, who kindly took it off of his wrist while he had nasty crawfish hands. We considered turning around but we were already about half an hour away from the party and our son was quickly losing his pleasant personality, ready for bed. I got to thinking, texted our friend, and made a plan for me to drive to her work during my lunch break.

Later on, I was about to hop in the shower and I asked Chad off-handedly to get me a towel from the linen closet. He replied with an unexpected and frustrated, “You know you ask me to do stuff for you ALL THE TIME?” <Scowl>

I was instantly very irritated. I didn’t want to get into right before bed, and one of us got me a towel. I really don’t remember whom.

Flash forward to the following morning. He snoozed through his 5:30am alarm for the *second* morning in a row. I was so irritated! I didn’t need to get up until 7:00am. And once I’m up, I’m UP. Second morning in a row. I laid there, fuming, for a few minutes. Angrily huffing…probably in a “kinda cute” way. I was intentionally flopping around like a fish out of water, being annoying. Eventually I got up and went to the bathroom. While in there, I remembered how irritated I was about the towel issue the night before.

I decided 5:36am was the best time to address this issue. So genius! (I am a marriage therapist, after all.) A few moments later, I flopped back into bed and announced, “Hey. I’m mad about last night when you said that I ask you to do stuff for me all the time. You don’t ask me to do stuff for you all the time because I do things for you without being asked. Like driving out of my way on my lunch break to get your Apple Watch that you forgot last night. Nobody had to ask me to do it. I just decided to do it to be nice and helpful. And you couldn’t walk 10 steps to get me a towel.” Suddenly, he decided he wasn’t sleepy anymore, and got out of bed to get ready for work. Why, though?? I was being so pleasant. Weird. (At least One of us was exercising some sound mind and self-control.)

Later that morning, he sent me the following text, verbatim:

When I said, “you always ask me to do things,” I just meant when I’m in the middle of a task, and then you asked for something, I have to stop what I’m doing to do that.
I don’t mean to minimize what you do for me.

To which, I skillfully responded:

I can actually see how that can feel disrespectful of what you’re doing and I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that.

So…as you can see, I’m very easy to live with and practice what I preach 100% of the time!

The truth is that I hadn’t even realized that he was doing anything when I asked him to get me a towel. I was just focused on my own need and hadn’t really paid attention to anything going on for him.

This whole scenario served as a CLEAR reminder that as women, we often unknowingly disrespect the men in our lives. And when disrespected, instead of articulating their feelings in the moment, they often respond in anger, irritation or frustration. Most men will NEVER state that the felt disrespected, especially for these “smaller” infractions. To articulate that feeling is like a double hit to the ego: they feel like they’d be jerks to demand respect and they feel winey to bring it up.

While this couldn’t be further form reality as far as I’m concerned, it’s the roadblock that most men run into.

The problem then becomes that these “minor” infractions of disrespect go unaddressed, and instead of just magically dissolve, they actually accumulate over time and cause tension and walls. Sadly, when combined with the fact that most men feel like a failure a home, this encourages the men in our lives to shut down, not communicate and build resentments.

It wouldn’t be a fun exercise, but it would be enlightening, if the next time your man responds in irritation with something, ask him if he feels disrespected. Did you low-grade correct him? Second guess his opinion or judgement? Interrupt a task or project? Ignore his feelings?

Your question will surprise him, but his answer will surprise you even more. Simply listen, don’t justify, minimize or argue, and start to come up with a game plan to keep these types of unintended disrespects at bay. He may or may not thank you for it verbally, but you’ll all be better off for using your words to honor and respect your man rather than inadvertently chip away at what you’re working hard to build!

If this is a struggle for you in your relationship, let’s talk about it! I can be found here. and in my counseling offices in Walker, Louisiana and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Beautiful photo by: Thanasis Zovoilis