Imagine you’ve just moved into your first college dorm. You don’t recognize a single soul—no one from your high school graduating class is here to soften the blow of moving to a new place. You’re completely on your own.
Instead of sitting in your dorm room all by yourself, you decide to wander around campus and see if you can meet some new people. Wouldn’t hurt, right?
As soon as you close the door behind you and walk down the hall, someone approaches you. They introduce themselves and invite you into their dorm room to play video games. To be honest, you’ve never really been into video games, but you decide to accept the invitation, anyway. They seem nice enough, you think to yourself.
“I’ve never really played video games before,” you confess to this new acquaintance of yours.
“No problem,” they respond, “you can just watch me.”
You shrug your shoulders, sit back and relax a bit. Time passes, and you find yourself a little bored. As you’re watching them play, you notice their door is propped open just enough to see what’s going on across the hall. You suddenly spot a person in the other room reading your favorite magazine and listening to your favorite band of all time. Awesome, you think to yourself.
As your new acquaintance is battling the final boss of their video game, you respectfully tell them you’re going to wander around to meet some new people. You make your way across the hall and introduce yourself to the other person you noticed earlier, telling them how much you love the band they’re listening to and the magazine they’re reading. You both hit it off immediately.
Turns out, seeing a therapist is a lot like making new friends. You wouldn’t feel obligated to be BFFs with the first person you ever met, would you?
Sure, it happens, but we certainly don’t beat ourselves up if we don’t connect to someone right off the bat. We don’t swear off being friends with anyone ever again, do we?
Of course not! We keep meeting people until we click with the right person for us. So, why wouldn’t we use the same treatment with our therapist search?
Fact: Not All Therapists Are Made The Same
That’s right! Just like searching for a friend, a significant other or even a job, finding the right therapist for you takes time and some soul searching.
Notice how I said “for you.”
Just because you don’t care for your therapist doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad therapist—they’re just not the right one for you.
Remember that story from before about meeting your first acquaintance at college? Just because they wanted to play video games doesn’t make them a bad friend. It just means they’re not fit for you—someone who, in this made-up story, doesn’t like to play video games.
In fact, by respectfully leaving to meet the other person across the hall, you not only created a scenario for you to enjoy yourself with someone else, you left your video-game-playing acquaintance open to meeting other people they enjoyed better, too.
In other words, if you find yourself clashing with your therapist after a few sessions, don’t feel bad. It’s incredibly common! It doesn’t mean therapy’s not for you, it just means you haven’t found your match just yet. And, look at it this way: by respectfully moving on to another therapist, you’re freeing that same therapist up to meet someone else they click better with, too! It’s a win-win.
But trust me, your ideal therapist is out there somewhere! Don’t worry, they’re probably not that far away. In fact, they may be just across the hall.
Psst…need a little help finding your match? BetterHelp can help! Known as the world’s largest online counseling platform, they make professional counseling accessible, affordable and convenient—so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help anytime, anywhere. Click here to get started with a short assessment. By answering a few questions, they’ll match you to the right therapist for you.