How to choose a therapist - EMDR & very effective body based therapies -or- EMDR & integrative / relational counseling

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starlight89

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I need to choose a therapist soon - I have really bad PTSD from a shock a year ago as well as loads of trauma from before - CPTSD probably. I just struggle with life a lot.

I know I want / need EMDR. I found an EMDR therapist but she's still in training, she also does integrative counselling which is talk therapy. I basically trust her and feel really good with her. Then there's another one who is fully trained in EMDR and does a few other different body based therapies that I know are really effective and that I like, as well as being a trained psychotherapist. But I don't have the same 'love' feeling from talking to her on the phone, as the first.

Don't know what to do! Don't want to waste my time on a therapy that doesn't work for me (IC) but I know that it's important to feel safe and feel a heart connection with your therapist. A lot of the harm done to me was done by 'therapists' (who weren't really therapists), and trust / decision making is really really tough for me.

Thanks in advance.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome!

That's tricky. Choice between feeling instant connection (leading to confidence that you will open up) versus experience.

What's more important to you?

It's also a decision you can change
Do you want to dive straight into EDMR? Or get to a point with a therapist before you try that modality?

For me, connection was key. I have no idea how long she has been qualified for. Never asked.
But that's me! You got to do you!
 

Friday

Moderator
I had an amazing connection with an MFT who was just starting their EMDR training, that I was seeing for issues surrounding my divorce.

I flat out refused to do EMDR with him.

A few years later? (I know him socially, great guy) He practically fell over himself thanking me for that / apologizing that he didn’t know then what he knew now : That any kind of complex trauma was waaaaaaay out of his skill set, and that there was virtually no way he could have attempted to help someone with my history, without f*cking me up, as well as seriously risking my life. As in he actually went stone white, and broke out into a sweat, and was babbling whilst giving me a giant hug. A very holy f*cking shit, I can’t believe I almost did that! I’m so sorry! Thank you so much!

But at the time? He was new. He was gung-ho. He liked me and reeeeeally wanted to help me / thought the supervised training hours were a perfect 2-for-1 opportunity for me. In short? He didn’t know what he didn’t know.

A lot of the harm done to me was done by 'therapists' (who weren't really therapists),
Coming from this history?

Go with the person who is NOT in training, and is fully qualified & board certified, and knows exactly what they’re getting into treating someone with complex trauma.

It might not be the second therapist you interviewed. But simply as a baseline. You’ve already done the under qualified thing, and reaped those consequences. No reason to repeat the same mistakes, expecting different results.
 

Soleil

New Here
I too, went looking for an EMDR therapist specifically. He also does CBT and others.

What worked for me was:
1. Google (location) EMDR therapy
2. Used the PsychologyToday link that popped up.
3. Got names from PT site
4. Googled therapist name to locate their website.

5. Read About Us sections (at the time, he was the only therapist in the practice. He now has 3 others and a new location). He had a few blog articles and his picture. I read those. He sounded perfect for me!

I also specifically looked for a man I wasn't even remotely physically attracted to, so I wouldn't have transference temptations (I still haven't).

6. Searched my insurance website to ensure he was a Provider

7. Went to my first appt and treated it like the interview it was. *I* needed to make sure *he* was a good fit and vice versa.

8. I trusted my instincts. I'm getting better at doing that because of therapy. And if I'd known what therapy *actually* was, I would have gone 30 yrs ago and my life would've been so different! Ah well. Live and learn :).

He was perfect for me, and I've been his patient for 5 years (lots of cptsd because of childhood and recent traumas. Lots of losses too and 1st time seeing a therapist).

If I ever need a new therapist, I will go through the same process.

Hth. Trust yourself. You're probably better at choosing than you think. You got this! 💪💕

P.S. doing this homework first also helped me to strengthen my instincts. I just knew some weren't the one for me. And I got better at knowing as I did my research. GL!
 
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Paula

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I need to choose a therapist soon - I have really bad PTSD from a shock a year ago as well as loads of trauma from before - CPTSD probably. I just struggle with life a lot.

I know I want / need EMDR. I found an EMDR therapist but she's still in training, she also does integrative counselling which is talk therapy. I basically trust her and feel really good with her. Then there's another one who is fully trained in EMDR and does a few other different body based therapies that I know are really effective and that I like, as well as being a trained psychotherapist. But I don't have the same 'love' feeling from talking to her on the phone, as the first.

Don't know what to do! Don't want to waste my time on a therapy that doesn't work for me (IC) but I know that it's important to feel safe and feel a heart connection with your therapist. A lot of the harm done to me was done by 'therapists' (who weren't really therapists), and trust / decision making is really really tough for me.

Thanks in advance.
Hi there. I have been doing EMDR for almost 4 yrs. Give your gut feeling credit. It is your gut feeling with is your intuition. I have CPTSD,and my female therapist was really great,she retired. I then had no therapy for almost a yr. Not good. I was blessed then with the current therapist,who is a male. I have extreme issues with being sexually assaulted twice. Imagine my shock when the therapy office called me and told me that they had a therapist for me. I said great,what is HER Name? I was told that it was a male and his name is Anuar. I was speechless,but my Spirit desperately needed help. I took a deep breathe and stepped out in faith. What a great service Anuar has been given to me. I am so grateful. Take a step in faith,it is worth it and although not easy at all,Anuar has demonstrated over and over again how committed he is to his clients and healing. May you take this to heart and believe that when a student is ready the teacher will appear. Bless you on your healing journey.
 
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starlight89

Thanks everyone. So just to clarify, the therapist (let's call her therapist 1) I feel a heart connection with has just completed the third (out of four) EMDR trainings, I think. She has 12 years of experience as an integrative counsellor. So the question actually is - do I go for integrative / relational counselling with her OVER EMDR. I'm still getting in touch with therapists and have sent a message to another one I haven't spoken to before, still searching.

Also re: transference - that is a fear I have. What if my heart connection with therapist 1 is actually something more unhealthy, like transference? I definitely have this feeling of softness and wanting her to kinda stroke me and hold me. I feel like I would trust her though and would feel safe to open up to her. Having said that I definitely would, with anyone I go for, take time to test the trust / build it slowly, rather than diving in deep. I'm just referring to a natural feeling I have towards her, which is absent elsewhere.

Thanks so much for the help.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
It’s actually a really great problem to have. As you have options and can choose.

totally get the transference thing. And I’m personally stuck in that. Given you feel that with the therapist who works relationally, (which mine does too), I’d say that transference is really going to be brought out. Which is meant to be a good thing to work through?

what would be your ideal? Having that connection and the exerpienced EDMR therapist? Do you think you can’t get that connection at all with the second T?
 

Soleil

New Here
Thanks everyone. So just to clarify, the therapist (let's call her therapist 1) I feel a heart connection with has just completed the third (out of four) EMDR trainings, I think. She has 12 years of experience as an integrative counsellor. So the question actually is - do I go for integrative / relational counselling with her OVER EMDR. I'm still getting in touch with therapists and have sent a message to another one I haven't spoken to before, still searching.

Also re: transference - that is a fear I have. What if my heart connection with therapist 1 is actually something more unhealthy, like transference? I definitely have this feeling of softness and wanting her to kinda stroke me and hold me. I feel like I would trust her though and would feel safe to open up to her.
Hi Starlight! I've been meaning to respond for forever, but have been super busy getting ready for a move.

If your T1 offers both types of therapies, it means you don't have to choose between them! 😊 My T offers EMDR, CBT + his own intuitive style that just works great for me!

Also, if you think you want/need to choose, it's definitely a convo to have with your T1.

The feeling of wanting her to hold me/stroke me is not something I'd ever want to deal with. If you're still feeling that way toward her, you DEFINITELY need to tell her so it can be addressed in whatever way is best for you.

Me personally? I avoid any temptation of transference at all costs lol (could be good, maybe not so good. Idk lol 🤷‍♀️ I just have so many other issues I'm working on, I don't want to add another lmao)

Hth. GL! 😊💕
 
Hi @Starlight89

Given your history, yes I would definitely choose the more experienced counsellor who is fully EMDR trained. Although the therapist in training will likely have Supervision, they aren't going to be there during your sessions, and it is your wellbeing that counts.

I know what you are saying about having transference for a therapist, it's a killer; so probably best to avoid working with someone whom you think it might happen with, if at all possible. It sounds as though you do have options, which is good. Main thing to remember is always go with a therapist who is registered with an official mental health body, at least you are reasonably protected and have some comeback if anything goes wrong.

Good luck!
 
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