Monday, February 14, 2005

Finding A Good Therapist

Many survivors struggle trying to find help. Finding a therapist is NOT an easy task. Just because someone is a psychotherapist, doesn't mean they have the education or training to work with survivors. Just because someone has experience working with survivors, doesn't mean that the therapist will be good for you as an individual.

How do you find a good therapsist? How do you know if the therapist you have is good for you? How do you know if you are making progress?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something good to keep in mind:

"The therapy relationship is unique in several respects. First, its sole purpose is to promote the recovery of the patient. In the furtherance of this goal, the therapist becomes the patient's ally, placing all the resources of her knowledge, skill, and experience at the pateint's disposal. Second, the therapy relationship is unique because of the contract between patient and therapist regarding the use of power. The patient enters therapy in need of help and care. By virtute of this fact, she voluntarily submits herself to an unequal relationship in which the therapist has superior status and power. Feelings related to the universal childhood experience of dependence on a parent are inevitably aroused. These feelings, known as transference, further exxagerate the power imbalance in the therapeutic relationship and render all patients vulnerable to exploitation. It is the therapist's responsibility to use the power that has been conferred upon her only to foster the recovery of the patient, resisting all temptations to abuse. This promise, which is central to the integrity of any therapeutic relationship, is of special importance to patients who are already suffering as the result of another's arbitrary and exploitative exercise of power.
....Working with victimized people requires a committed moral stance. The therapist is called upon to bear witness to a crime. She must affirm a position of solidarity with the victim.
...The alliance of therapy cannot be taken for granted; it must be painstakingly built by the effort of both patient and therapist. Therapy requires a collaborative working relationship in which both partners act on the basis of their implicit confidence in the value and efficacy of persuasion rather than coercion, ideas rather than force, mutuality rather than authoritarian control. These are precisely the beliefs that have been shattered by the traumatic experience. Trauma damages the patient's ability to enter into a trusting relationship; it also has an indirect but powerful impact on the therapist. As a result, both patient and therapist will have predictable diffculties coming to a working alliance. These difficulties must be understood and anticipated from the outset."

---Judith Herman, M.D., chapter "A Healing Relationship", from "Trauma and Recovery" pp. 134-136

February 15, 2005 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Dina Tamar said...

I have a problem with the language used in the quote by Judith Herman. I don't like being called a "patient," when and if I'm in therapy. It infers that I am sick, that there is something wrong with me.

If I am an incest survivor or of a sexual assault, I am NOT "sick" or "ill." I was violated. If I see a therapist, I should be considered a "client." It does not infer that I am sick, or ill. It infers that I'm consulting with someone due to a circumstance that was beyond my control.

February 15, 2005 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

I've found that when a therapist tells me how good they are during the initial telephone converstation or the first meeting, that it is a sign to run.

I want a therapist who is going to take a journey with me. I don't want one who's going to tell me where to go. The journey is mine, and I'm taking the therapist along for the ride.

February 15, 2005 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have a problem with the language used in the quote by Judith Herman."

---I would have preferred to see the word "client" as well, especially since in so much of the book she argues about moving it outside of the medical model.

February 15, 2005 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember interviewing a therapist and with in the first 5 minutes he went on and on about how perfect he was for me. He went on and on telling me what an expert he was.

When I got home I was shaking. Something inside me told me that he was a control freak. Why is it that there are so many mentally unhealthy therapists?

February 15, 2005 9:13 PM  

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