Choosing a Therapist

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Choosing a Psychotherapist for Leaders or Executives

What should I do when choosing a therapist?

If you can ask others about therapists who are effective, without laying yourself open to criticism, you can ask colleagues, friends, and relatives about therapists known to help people like you with the kind of challenge you have.


If you need to keep the fact that you want therapy confidential, you can ask your GP or other trusted professionals who have a duty of confidentiality.

If your therapist specialises in helping people like you that indicates that s/he has a respect and admiration for your role in life. That also indicates that s/he has helped many people like you and therefore understands your world.


Therapists who have experienced your world and maybe even came from your world will be even more likely to connect well with you.

…in order to ensure the maximum chance of a successful outcome. However, here is a note of caution. People generally choose to spend time with people who validate their world view. If you choose a therapist based the fact that they make you feel good about your world view, and if your world view is either the cause of, or a contributory cause of, your problem, such a therapist will, because they probably share your world view, likely be blind to your problem. If you commission such a person, you will not have a therapist but a paid friend. Skilled and competent therapists are there, in part, to help you see what previously was invisible to you, so that you can address your challenge effectively and move on with your life.

Skilled and competent therapists are aware that the quality of the relationship is the most predictive factor of successful outcomes in therapy. In full awareness of that, a skilled therapist also chooses his/her clients. S/he does you a great service if s/he accepts you only after being sure that s/he can form a strong rapport with you.


Choose a therapist who clearly relates to you. Use your feelings to judge the quality of the rapport. If it is strong, that therapist may be the best currently available to you. That also means that if a skilled and competent therapist asks you to find someone else, it may be that s/he has someone in mind who can connect well with you. Such a suggestion is doing you a great service – referring you to a therapist with whom you can form a quality rapport will save you time and money. Your initial assessment of each other can be most cost effectively conducted by telephone.

The quality of the relationship is the most important predictor of a successful outcome for you.


Choose your therapist only after having had a conversation with them. Then, make clear that your first session is a trial session for you to ensure that the quality of relationship is strong. For emphasis, always speak to the therapist you are planning to use before starting work with them.

If you have chosen a competent and ethical therapist you should see results in every session. If you have chosen the wrong therapist they will say things like: “It takes many months to see therapeutic progress.” It does NOT! All skilled and ethical therapists seek to make every session have a clear and obvious outcome. You should make progress in EVERY session. For many executives and professionals between one and three sessions achieves the desired goal.

Never sign up for any fixed number of sessions.

Never accept any therapy arrangement other than one you can terminate on a session-to-session basis.

Many people believe that the more academic qualifications a person has the better they are as a therapist. The evidence does not support that. In fact, the factors that predict how skilled a therapist is have little, if anything, to do with qualifications. The factors most predictive of successful therapeutic outcomes are related to the relationship skills of the therapist. Some people with no qualifications, whatsoever, are brilliantly effective therapists. Some with doctorates are a disaster.

When you have overcome your problem, or, it is clear the therapist is no longer able to help you, which ever is first.

The person who should decide how many therapy sessions you should have is you. A competent therapist is able to estimate, but only you will be able to judge how you feel and if you are making progress.

Many people believe that one therapy style is more effective than another. Again, the evidence does not support that claim. In fact, as long as the therapists are equally competent in their relationship formation and building skills, it seems to matter little which school or branch of therapy, if any, they follow. if you do want a particular style of therapy choose a style or therapy method that makes sense to you.

Many therapists will resist your attempts to find out about their professional and personal lives, on the grounds that such crosses some therapeutic boundary. It does not. Your best therapist is one who connects best with you, and for that you need to know about his/her life, interests and previous experience. If they won’t tell you, you probably have a good indication about the future of the therapeutic relationship. Equally, if they take too much of your time telling you about their lives (not what they are being paid for), you may also have a pointer to choose another therapist.

During that first (and every other session) assess whether:


1. The therapist gets on with you
2. Understands your challenge
3. Seems competent, as far as you can tell, and
4. The session has helped you feel better
5. You can see a clear benefit from the session


If so, then, and only then, continue with another session. Many problems experienced by executives and professionals can be dramatically improved in one session; there may be no need for a second session.

To conduct that assessment, and if mutually successful, book an appointment call Telephone Number

You will appreciate that time is best used serving clients. When you call, please expect to leave a message on voicemail.