How can one feel safe in finding a good psychologist?
What differentiates a really good psychologist from one who is not good?
To find a good psychologist that suits you, it is a good idea to book a visit with a few different psychologists who you think seem good. Make sure the psychologist is legitimate and then that he listens to you, is not judgmental, sees you as a person, and can describe his/her way of working so that it feels safe and interesting.
Notice if you gain confidence. And last but not least: change psychologist if you notice that the contact is not working for you.
Find a good psychologist that suits you
- 1 Find a good psychologist that suits you
- 2 A psychologist always has credentials
- 2.1 Good at listening
- 2.2 Non-Judgmental
- 2.3 You gain confidence
- 2.4 See you as a person and individual
- 2.5 Good treatment = understanding, explanations & tools
- 2.6 A healthy relationship
- 2.7 Transparency with treatment
Start by starting with the information below with the description of how a good psychologist and treatment works. Search for psychologists who seem to suit you, for example, the psychologist’s guide (external link) where almost all privately practicing legitimate psychologists are listed. Or maybe you got a recommendation from someone you think has similar needs to you.
Booking a “try-out” visit is always a good idea. Some psychologists charge for this visit even if you do not think the contact worked. But with others (for example with us ) you do not have to pay if you announce in the first visit that it did not feel right.
It may be a good investment to have a little to compare with before deciding. There are some specific things to look for when looking for a good psychologist:
A psychologist always has credentials
A person’s credentials are a minimum quality requirement when seeking a psychologist. The person should have the title Leg. Psychologist. It shows that the person has a basic competence and is responsible for his or her treatment according to law and is approved by the Social Board.
People without credentials often call themselves “conversation therapist”, “coach” or “counselor” but these have only gone to short courses and are not responsible for the advice or treatment they provide.
In the worst case, you can be misbehaved, exploited financially or emotionally, and then have no way of getting it right. That risk is minimal if you turn to a licensed practitioner.
Good at listening
Psychologists have training in listening in and actively showing that they listen and understand what you are saying. Having the psychologist listen to you is a fundamental part of conversion therapy. If you do not feel that you are reaching the psychologist then this is not a good psychologist for you.
Meeting a psychologist who does not seem to listen to what you say can mean that you do not get the right help, you may think that you can not get help, instead think that it was the contact with the psychologist that did not work so well.
A psychologist should not judge you, it is quite natural that you get problems or feel so bad and that you need help to find out and move on. Then it is good and a sign of strength that you seek help.
So for a good psychologist, it is not strange or wrong that you have the problems that you are seeking help for. Even if you, for example, struggle with anxiety and feel shame and guilt, it is not what a good psychologist sees.
If you feel doomed, dismissed, diminished, or criticized by a psychologist, it is wrong to continue contact. Feeling that the psychologist has a judgmental attitude risks leading to a negative spiral that in the future you do not feel safe to deal with difficulties, which is a prerequisite for the treatment to work.
You gain confidence
Often we know quite directly whether we gain confidence in a person, whether he seems reliable or not. A psychologist should in still confidence fairly directly, for example by being welcomed and matching your needs initially in the contact. So you must listen to your “gut feeling”, and if it does not feel good then it is not good.
See you as a person and individual
A good psychologist takes into account your background and personal experiences. Whether the focus of therapy is now or more on the past, it is always important that your therapist is interested and gives you space to describe a little about who you are, what you think and think, what you feel good or bad about and what you’ve been through before.
This is usually done during the first meeting, but it should also not feel like a questioning or a long start-up but as a conversation where you feel comfortable and comfortable. And a natural part of the contact.
Good treatment = understanding, explanations & tools
In a good treatment, you will get understanding, explanations, and tools that work for you
For conversation therapy to be helpful and effective, it needs to match your needs throughout the process. Often you need to describe and talk through the situation with someone who listens well, this can also give you new understanding.
This phase also allows the psychologist to understand what weighs you down and how you work and think in different ways.
The psychologist should also provide explanations and describe contexts that may help sort your thoughts and help you to sort out the situation.
Last but not least, the psychologist should be able to give you tools, for example in the form of home tasks, advice, or ideas, these must be adapted to your situation and how you work. Otherwise, the risk is that you won’t get as much out of them.
A healthy relationship
All the headings above form the basis of a healthy therapeutic relationship, a relationship that is based on a common sense of respect and trust. It is scientifically proven that having a healthy relationship in therapy is of great importance to the effect of therapy.
It is important to know that it is the psychologist’s responsibility to create that relationship with you, by providing you with the right conditions.
For the relationship to be safe, it mustn’t become too private on the part of the psychologist. You should experience the psychologist as pleasant, helpful, warm, and supportive in a way that feels comfortable to you.
The psychologist should never go beyond the scope of what is appropriate. Psychologists have professional ethical principles (external link) that guide them in this.
Transparency with treatment
The psychologist should be able to describe his methods, thoughts, and conclusions about your situation, difficulties, and possible treatment methods and arrangements. The psychologist should be able to describe a comprehensive plan for the treatment that includes adapting to you as a person and the experiences you make during treatment.
This openness means that you can feel confident knowing what the idea of the treatment is and that you are involved in evaluating whether the treatment feels good and works for you.
As you can see above, therapy should be a positive and developing experience. It should not be based on uncertainty, critical questioning, or a sense of being left out. So a short rule is: If it feels wrong then it’s wrong. And then we recommend that you take the step and change psychology.
If the contact does not feel good: should you address it? try to stand out? or change direction?
It is good if you can bring up the psychologist if the contact does not feel good. If you cannot or we raise your feelings with the psychologist, you can change without explaining. And you should not try to endure a treatment that you do not feel well.
If the psychologist can meet your feelings and thoughts with interest and empathy and put things right, then it is good. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of time and energy worrying and raising questions about contact with your psychologist.
If you feel unsure about this then take the help of a friend or other outsider to help make a decision, a step may also be to go on a test visit with another psychologist so you get a little new perspective.