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Finding A Therapist

Question:

Why is it so difficult to locate a therapist with whom you can form a good working relationship?? I’ve suffered from increasing depression for the past year and had little success with the recommendations of my HMO. I’ve tried a couple other sources and have had the same problems. I truly want to work through whatever is causing this, but haven’t been able to find someone who seems to grasp my issues.

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

There are many possible reasons why you’ve had so much difficulty in connecting with a therapist. Two extremes from amongst these possibilities: perhaps all of the therapists you’ve seen just don’t have the right approach or are in some way incapable of forming a good connection with you. Alternatively, perhaps the problems you are experiencing have made it difficult for you to feel connected to others (including most therapists). You don’t say what the sort of problem you’ve experienced has been so it is hard to know if one (or both) of these possibilities are accurate. If you are finding that you’ve run through more than four or five therapists and can’t find a way to work with any of them effectively then I would guess that it is more likely that your difficulties might be creating barriers to allowing you to form the therapeutic relationships you need/want. This sort of thing (mistaking the responsibility for difficulty in relating to another) happens all the time to all sorts of people. You may not realize this – but it is entirely possible to want to work on your issues very much and to sabotage work on them at the same time. People are funny that way. If it is the case that your problem is preventing you from forming the therapeutic relationship you want then you will have to accept the problem and work around it. I would suggest figuring out which of the therapists you had worked with was the least bad (and most trustworthy appearing) and going back to that therapist and making a conscious decision to trust that therapist enough to openly discuss how you find that you can’t seem to connect with any therapists. It might be worth a try anyway. Good Luck! Dr. Dombeck

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