How many pairs of shoes do you try on before buying a pair?  

Some things we can order online and know they will work out.  Other things are much more individual or are too important to not be tried before committing.  Sure we can return the "looked-nice-on-Amazon" winter jacket, but do we always do it? 

Many times people don't even return counselors when they are not fitting.  Especially when depression, anxiety or substance abuse are involved, people are likely to identify themselves as the reason counseling is not working.  As a counselor I appreciate this as it reduces my responsibility, but the reality is that most counselors are not right for any one person. I will say this again because it is important: 

Most counselors are not a good fit for any one person
 Sometimes it is the therapist who isn't helping the situation

Sometimes it is the therapist who isn't helping the situation

It is sometimes about technique, sometimes about context, but usually it's about a feeling of trust and honesty.  As a counselor I can sometimes see this when people are talking without processing what they are saying (which is a nice way of saying rambling). It's easy for me to believe they are simply struggling to understand something or are not fully aware of an unconscious problem, but often the reality is that they aren't really comfortable being honest about what is banging around in their head for real.  

In some instances this can be circumvented by re-negotiating the relationship with the person or talking to them about their expectations or previous experience at sharing their life story.  In many instances, though, it's simply that I am just not a great fit for the person.  You need to feel like you are getting what you need.  I am not directive (much). I do talk in therapy, while some simply want a listener.  I do expect that we will be able to change our own feelings by interrupting our brain's current pattern of thought, while some want to "process" their history many times over without their reality being challenged.

I have become okay with being fired because my intention is to help people become skilled at finding the supportive therapist they need for who they are.  So go ahead, fire your counselor, fire me if I'm not working out.  Counseling is about you building the skills to positively influence your own future.  Committing to a long-term relationship to a counselor should not be a worry.  Counseling doesn't even need to be monogamous. Try several counselors out and see who is a good fit, who you like to share with, and who you can be risky with.  If you are feeling held back in therapy, trying a new counselor is a great way to decide if it is you or if it is the therapist. 

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