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You’re thinking about talking to a professional because things just aren’t the way you want them to be in your life right now. Perhaps you’re feeling depressed or anxious or have extremely stressful or difficult people or situations to deal with. You’re looking for some help to feel better as soon as possible. It’s very important for you to feel comfortable and confident enough in your therapist to honestly disclose what is truly happening in your life. While it usually takes a number of sessions for the relationship to develop into one of deep understanding and trust, you should know in the first one or two sessions if you think you will be able to build a relationship that feels good to you. Remember that you are purchasing a service and you have the right to interview and shop around for a therapist that feels right to you.

It is important to trust your instincts and to ask direct questions about your therapist's philosophy, training, and experience if that information hasn’t been provided. Make sure to be clear about any other questions or concerns you may have about the process including the business arrangement, length and frequency of sessions and professional boundaries. Specific answers to many of these questions may not be as important as the therapist's style in responding. Look for respectful and sincere replies that lack defensiveness. A good therapist is not afraid to say, "I don't know" when asked how long therapy will take or how exactly things might progress. Most importantly, you should feel as if the therapist understands and cares about your problems. The research shows that the most critical factor in a successful therapeutic outcome is the relationship between the client and therapist so it’s important to choose carefully.

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