Okay, that’s inappropriate, and it’s a bad title. I have ADHD though, I’m prone to blurting out inappropriate things, ask any of my friends.
And yes, that title does imply a relationship that should never occur, bear with me. I know I’ve crossed a line, but I can explain. I’m thinking that a lot of what goes into being a good therapist is on the shortlist for an ADHDer’s partner.
So what makes a good therapist?
Several websites offer resources for those who wish to head off to therapy forewarned and forearmed. Here at Psych Central we have an article titled “10 Ways to Find a Good Therapist” by Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D. We also have an online book titled “How to Find a Good Therapist” with a traditional bound version available. It also comes as an e-book if you’re e-reader savvy.
But what makes a good therapist?
Still, finding a therapist and assessing a therapist are two different things. Although assessment is covered to some extent in our resources, this is something that cannot be understated, therapy is only as good as the relationship between therapist and consumer. For that relationship to thrive, the consumer must have confidence in their therapist. They must believe their therapist is the right person for the job. Let’s take a look at some of the details:
- First, the therapists411 page suggest that you need to be sure you’re getting the right therapy from the right therapist. They ask “Is the attitude of your therapist not to your liking?” If not, you are advised to either end the relationship (their word) and move to another therapist or raise your concerns with your therapist. You are not advised to continue being unhappy or concerned. An ADHDer needs to feel comfortable in therapy or distractions will ensue. So comfort is on the top of the list and a positive attitude goes a long way in creating a comfortable environment.
- Next, therapists411.com says a good therapist is a good listener. For those of us whose hyperactivity has internalized and become hyperchatter, we need a good listener. Dinah Miller, M.D. of getbetterhealth.com agrees. In answer to the “What makes a good therapist?” question, Miller writes: “The ability to listen and hear what the patient is saying, even if the shrink doesn’t agree. A non-judgmental stance, and this can be harder than it appears.”
- The next thing on the list at therapists411.com is “Trust is another ingredient of a good therapist.” This is essential. If you don’t trust your therapist how can you divulge the issues that are troubling you? If they were easily shared with anyone you’d just talk out your problems with friends. A therapist is the person you can tell your secrets to and trust that those secrets will stay with that person and not follow you back out the door and into the world.
- Both therapists411.com and getbetterhealth.com talk about a certain je ne sais quoi that a therapist needs to have. Getbetterhealth.com calls it empathy, among other things and suggests that it is there or it isn’t. Therapists411.com talk of respect and honesty and suggest that the right therapist will “[…] not hesitate to challenge you or place you in a position where you need to work hard to resolve an issue.”
Yes, I remember my title
Okay, suggesting that a therapist would make the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend was a bit dramatic. On the other hand, a good, trustful listener who has a positive attitude and the ability to empathize is a great place to start if you’re an ADHDer looking for a significant other. It’s a great place to start no matter who you are.
But it may be a bad idea to actually consider your therapist for the role. Besides being unethical, you really don’t know them as well as you think you do. They’re trained to be receptive and supportive, but that doesn’t mean they share all your interests and opinions. It just seems that way, at least with the good ones.
So first, let’s get through therapy, okay?