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What Is a Good Therapist?

A good therapist is first and foremost a good person. By that I mean, a person with compassion, empathy, and true care and concern for you, the client or patient. Someone who is more than just his or her credential. Someone who is able to be present and real with you while maintaining professional boundaries. Therapists who have had to fight their own demons and stand up to their personal challenges have more to offer than academic solutions or active listening. The best therapists I know have therapists of their own. Being in therapy helps therapists stay clear about their issues and not confuse them with yours. Good therapists don't have to be in therapy now, yet they should have spent years in therapy working on their issues. I've learned so much about therapy by being in therapy myself. You see, the more therapists learn about themselves and deal with their issues, the better they can serve you. A therapist can't take you any further than he or she has gone.

Therapy is a well-defined partnership. It's a journey that two people embark on. The therapist is your guide, and the journey is yours. Before you enter therapy, you should know what fee you will be charged, how long sessions last, and how often you will meet.

You don't have to settle with feeling miserable. It's even harder to continue to abuse yourself when you know you don't have to. Take what works for you from this session. Try some of the suggestions, even if they are scary. Nothing is more frightening than drinking, drugging, eating, starving yourself to death, or any other addictive behavior.

Good luck as you embark on this important journey.