Therapy is an important part of treating bipolar disorder. Seeking therapy with a qualified therapist you can trust is crucial to good mental health. Use some of these pointers when considering a new therapist.
Finding the Right Doctor
There are different types of therapy that can help you deal with your circumstances and what personal changes you can make to improve your life. Deciding the format of your therapy will make it easier for you to feel relaxed and willing to share.
If you prefer a private setting, a one-on-one talk therapy session might be the best option.
If you want to know you're not alone in your condition, group therapy may help you overcome those feelings and feel more connected with others who are experiencing similar problems.
Get a Consultation
Most mental health professionals will begin with an over-the-phone consultation where you describe why you're seeking treatment and other details. This is when you can ask whatever questions you'd like to ask.
You can also ask for a face-to-face consultation where you can meet a potential therapist. This can make a world's worth of difference in your assessment. It's perfectly normal to meet a therapist in person and not click with him or her right away. If you get even the slightest hint you may not trust the therapist, politely state that you don't believe the relationship will work out and continue your search until you find someone who suits you.
The Doctor-Patient Relationship
In order for you to get the best therapy available, you must have a good working relationship with your therapist. There are several factors that go into this, including your therapist's listening skills, and how closely your values align.
For example, if you're an atheist, it's probably not a good idea to seek therapy from a priest or other religious leader. Also, you don't want to seek therapy from anyone you feel is judgmental or unsupportive of your efforts.
As all therapy takes time, be wary if your therapist is giving you quick fixes without providing you with tools you need for long-term stability. This could include being too eager to please you, such as always blaming others for your problems. A therapist is supposed to be on your side, but perpetuating a cycle of victimhood.
The Fine Print
Just as important as the style of your therapy is how you can fit it into your life. When choosing a therapy, there are some important logistical concerns:
- location: find a therapist that is easy to get to. The easier the therapy is to travel to, the less likely you'll miss an appointment, and the more likely you will arrive to the appointment in a calm mood and ready to share.
- price: when you first meet your therapist, you'll agree on a price for your sessions and how often you will see each other. If the therapy is way beyond what you can afford, you should negotiate the price or find something that suits your income better. The financial impact of therapy shouldn't be yet another stressor.
- training: your therapist doesn't need to have a PhD or an M.D. to be good at his or her job, but you should inquire as to where he or she studied and his or her area of expertise. Don't be afraid to Google them either.
- experience: training and experience are two different things. Ask your therapist how much experience he or she has, including years in the field or
Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship, especially one where you will be telling someone your deepest emotional troubles and secrets.
Tone, demeanor, and numerous other things can affect the way we view someone. If you don't feel like you're clicking with your therapist, you should mention it to him or her. If they are truly professional, your therapist will help to find someone else for you to see. If they take offense to it, then you know it's time to find another therapist.
Therapy involves team work, so it's important that you feel comfortable with being on the same team as your therapist.