What do I want in a therapist?

I don’t know what I want in a therapist. When I first started therapy, I had no idea what to expect. My therapist was an older woman, and I’ve mentioned her before on this blog; she was kind, and she listened more than she talked. At the time, that’s what I needed, because there were a lot of thoughts racing through my brain that I couldn’t sort through them. I benefited from therapy, but another thing is that I needed some guidance, and I felt like she didn’t give me as much guidance as I would’ve liked. It was hard because being a teenager is a difficult time, but I’m just glad that I made it into therapy and that my parents found somebody.

What are my therapist requirements?

I’ve been through so many different modalities of therapy. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. From psychodynamic to CBT, from Gestalt to psychoanalysis, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I relate to the world. I’ve decided that I needed to focus on my trauma before anything else. I started EMDR and worked through some painful experiences. After that, I decided it was time to learn how to tolerate emotional distress and work on my relationships with loved ones. I’m starting Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT.) I’m nervous because DBT is an intense process, and I’ll be committing to the program for one year, and I know that there’s an absence policy, but more than that, I think that we all have standards that we expect a therapist to abide by. So, I’m thinking right now about what I want my therapist to give me.


First, I want respect. I don’t want them to be condescending. I want them to care about me. I want my therapist to be comfortable giving me constructive criticism, but also, not be judgmental. I want my therapist to want the best for me, but not be afraid to give me harsh truths if there are things I’m doing that are destructive or harmful. These are all things that I feel comfortable asking for from a therapist and feel that I can get. So, I wonder, is my therapist going to be able to give me those things? I’ll have to find out. Upon first meeting with my DBT one-on-one therapist, I got a good impression. However, he is extremely structured. He told me that he has a phone number that can be used in a crisis situation. Sometimes, my anxiety leaves me feeling like I am in an emergency, and I don’t currently have all the tools to be able to handle panic. I want those tools and the toolbox that they live in so I can feel calm. I am a sensitive person, and I struggle with taking things personally. I want to figure out how to view things objectively. I don’t want to be offended when it’s not about me. I know that DBT can help with these issues.

DBT and Mood Disorders

I’m excited to start DBT, but I’m also frightened. I’m used to being anxious most of the time, and this will be a change to let go of anxiety. However, DBT is supposed to be really helpful for people who have mood disorders. Still, I’m worried that I’m going to get stuck and not be able to regulate my emotions. Fear, as they say in Dune, is the mind killer. I’ve lived my life being ruled by fear when I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m scared of so many things. So, here we go, everybody. I’ll let you know what happens in DBT, and see if my therapist meets my internal requirements.