The first time I went to see a therapist, I was in college. I hadn't thought to do any research to find someone other than what was available at the counseling center. I didn't understand her credentials (she was an LCSW-C, which meant she was a licensed social worker... I wanted to see a counselor, not a social worker!), and to be honest, I am not even sure what I was looking to get out of the whole process. Allegedly, she was adept at managing all things related to surviving college and everything that goes along with it. But the only thing I really remember about her was that she had 2 party size bags of Doritos sitting in her office as though she was on her way out the door to a super fun get together with friends. Either that, or she brought her groceries into her office, instead of her house. I could never be sure.
Every week I sat there, resentment building, annoyed that she was clearly having a better time in her life than I was, since she was leading a life that required party sized bags of Doritos while my life had been split in two. It didn't help that her approach was not a match for my shell-shocked self. All in all, she was probably a very nice person, but her no nonsense approach and reactions to the few things I disclosed did not make me feel at ease (to say the least) and I was equally relieved and sad when she pointed out that this was not a good fit.
Seriously, she fired me! I didn't know therapists could even do that!
Side note: we can, and we do, but some of us are more gentle about it that others. But I digress…
Was this all there was? Where was the nurturing, comforting, ‘I get it’ lady I had been hoping for?
Here’s the point. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re contemplating finding a therapist. Or maybe you have found a therapist but aren't sure if they are the right one for you...remember that thing they said the other week that made you so mad? Or the time they gave you that look and you had no idea what it meant? Or maybe you are staring down a list of names from your insurance company, everyone with different alphabet letters after their names (do they even matter?). And then there is that one friend who suggested you try their life coach...
Wherever you are in the process, there is only One Thing that matters:
Cindy Goeller is a licensed therapist who loves listening to others, eating Maryland steamed crabs, and exploring the Finger Lakes of New York. When she is not in session with her clients, she can be found writing, baking, or spending time with her family.