Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Yeah, me too. I've seen therapists who seemed more interested in their own stories than in helping me. Therapists who sat there silently, waiting for me to speak, not guiding the session at all. I guess that works for some people, but it wasn't what I found therapeutic. There were therapists who tried to make me do what they wanted me to do, regardless of whether it was authentic to me. One therapist even let me tell me cry through the entire intake session, only to announce that she no longer had availability to see me! Bad therapy experiences are not easy to recover from and can really leave a bad taste in your mouth.
The fact is, it can take a while to find a "good fit" between client and therapist. When I worked in an Intensive Outpatient program, one of my jobs was helping my clients to find an outpatient therapist, before discharging them from our agency. I would encourage them to use the initial phone call to learn as much as they could, before making an appointment. I suggested they ask the therapist to "tell me about your approach to counseling." A therapist should be able to tell you, in a few sentences, how they work with clients and what their expectations are for the counseling relationship.
If you're thinking about seeing a therapist, think about what you'd like to know about them. Maybe even check out their website and see what you can learn, before you call. That way, you can have a sense of who they are and if you think it's a good fit, BEFORE the first counseling session. I offer free, initial consultations for new clients. Because my practice is online, I can see clients residing anywhere in NJ.