Registered Psychologists have a common background of a minimum six years of training and supervised professional practice. Within that framework, as autonomous human beings with our own individual wealth of lived experience and understanding, we each bring something unique to the therapeutic table. By the same token, every client responds differently to coaching / mentoring / counselling.
This is to say that choosing the best psychologist for you is about understanding it is horses for courses.
The past doesn’t dictate the future
While you may have had a less than ideal past experience with therapy or counselling, that is not to say that the next interaction you have is inevitably destined to go the same way.
In fact, arguably, the more experience you have with different therapists and different approaches over time, the better equipped you are to identify what key characteristics are likely to maximise benefits for you in your next therapeutic encounter.
After all, you don’t write an essay on the basis of one book (well, you might, but probably wouldn’t expect a good result!). Rather, you read a few books in-depth and then draw on the key points of each to create a narrative in your own voice.
Understand your own needs
As the relationship between you and your psychologist can have a big impact on the outcomes of your therapy, it is important to spend some time understanding what it is you need and expect from your relationship with your psychologist before you engage in services.
In my initial client sessions, I usually explore past experiences you have had in counselling / coaching / mentoring relationships to discover what strategies worked better for you and which aspects you found more challenging. This helps me to deliver a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Talk with your therapist in your first session or two, to ensure you have a mutual appreciation for what you want out of the professional service, and let the therapist know about any queries or concerns you have about the process as you progress.
A good therapist will provide you with a space in which you can feel psychologically safe and supported while helping you to achieve your goals.