Therapy can be a very scary time for both the therapist and the client. What if I tell you, as a client, that I am scared of the dark? What if I tell you, as a client, that I am not sure I want this type of therapy or this kind of environment? What if I tell you that I am not very good at asking for help? What should clients do when they are scared to ask many of these kinds of questions?
Asking any therapist these questions can be scary. How do you know if you are a good therapist, or if you are dealing with someone who is abusive, controlling, or simply not good? How do you know if you are in an educational environment or in an abusive environment? Asking questions is how you find out what kind of therapist you are working with.
I recently did a workshop with several couples and it was very heartening to see the progress that we were making with our clients. The first time that I saw one of my clients afraid to ask questions, afraid to talk about her fears and feelings, was during our fist session. We had all been through similar experiences, and while she had been a little apprehensive during our first meeting, by the end of our second session she was ready to share with me everything that she had been feeling and going through and asking questions on how can I know if I am a good therapist and can I ask therapist questions.
First of all, if you are experiencing or thinking about experiencing any type of clinical depression, I would encourage you to seek out help. If there are no clinical depression counselors in your area or online who are willing to help you and are not charging for their services, then open-ended questions from you may be able to help you figure out the root cause of your unhappiness. If you are having difficulty sleeping, have trouble concentrating and/or having trouble making simple decisions, are constantly worrying, or just don’t feel that you are in control of the things happening around you, then you may be suffering from clinical depression. Some people will try to convince you that you just need to “get over it,” but this is not true. You must be willing to face up to the problems, learn to deal with them, and then change your way of thinking in order to move forward with your life and to find the happiness you once knew.
While asking yourself “how do you know if you are a good therapist?” is a good way to start, you must continue your search for a good psychotherapist by evaluating the services that they offer. Is their service more of a one-on-one counseling skills training, or do you receive a variety of therapy techniques that you will have to learn on your own. Are the techniques you receive confusing, or are they easy to understand? Some people learn better from a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic approach to learning.
There are counselors who will only provide therapy if you have all of the information necessary for the session. Others are more open to clients that share bits and pieces of their story through journaling and/or sharing telephone numbers and Skype/ webcam access. The bottom line is that you should never feel pressured or held accountable for the information your therapist has to offer you. As a client, you are entitled to your own thoughts and opinions.
One of the most common reasons why therapists ask open-ended questions while working with their clients is because they are recording the therapy. Some therapists will play the tape or video over again to reinforce the information they are conveying. If you are on a “therapy tape” you will likely be asked a question regarding a specific problem you have not discussed with anyone else, and you may even have to explain your answer to the therapist. This part of therapy is helpful, but many therapists find it difficult to talk through complicated personal issues without a voice recorder.
You are entitled to your thoughts and opinions, but you must remember that your therapist is listening to you and can offer support and guidance based upon their training and experience. When choosing which psychologist to work with, it is important that you make sure that both you and your psychologist have had good rapport. If you feel uncomfortable with the therapist at any time during the session, it is important that you keep looking for another psychologist. Working with a psychologist who you feel comfortable with will maximize your therapeutic experience.