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What recommendations should be given to a psychologist to potential clients when choosing a family or individual psychologist?

The success of psychotherapy depends on the choice of the psychologist. It is a combination of professional knowledge and experience of the psychologist, plus his individual qualities are crucial in solving your problems. Therefore, the choice should be solid, because it is this person who will help you change for the better.

In our country, psychological counseling and psychotherapy are a relatively new offer on the market of services. Uniform professional standards, ethical norms, and instances controlling the quality of services provided in this field have not yet been formed.

Evaluating such specialists, clients risk making two opposite mistakes. The first is to select a psychologist solely for personal emotions and impressions: “liked” or “did not like”. In this case, you can miss the most important thing - professionalism. In addition, psychologists say, customer satisfaction does not always mean successful work in consultation. A session can take place in a very tough manner, which is peculiar to some specialists; but if the client received a clear understanding of the problem, saw ways to solve it, or expanded ideas about himself, the psychologist completed his task.

The second error is the reverse. It is made less often. In this case, the client seeks to completely formalize the selection of a psychologist, assessing him in absentia by certain criteria. As a rule, instructions for choosing a consultant consist of dozens of complex characteristics: it is difficult for an unprepared person not only to figure them out, but even to remember. It should be borne in mind that the work of the psychologist is based on human contact. It is simply impossible to drive it into a set of “technical parameters” - all preferences of the client, individual features and personal equipment owned by specific specialists will remain overboard.

It is quite difficult to find a competent practicing professional in the city, despite the abundance of “graduates in the specialty”. In order not to get to amateurs from psychology and make the best choice, you need to go between these two extremes: rationally evaluate what you can and rely on the experience - someone else's and your own. What factors are really important for choosing a psychologist?

1) Fundamental education and specialization in the field of psychology / therapy. Education is confirmed by a diploma of higher professional education, specialization and qualification - certificates. A guarantee of professional competence is regular certification, which pass medical and pedagogical institutions. Psychologists and psychotherapists are certified every 5 years.

2) Recommendations of friends and colleagues. One of the ways to find out the most reliable information about a psychologist is to listen to real reviews of his clients.

3) Experience. The principle applies to the consulting psychologist: the more experience, the better. However, if it is important for the client to speak out, bring order to emotions, cope with depression, or learn how to quickly get out of stressful situations, the consultant’s life experience will not be decisive - basic psychological skills are enough. However, it is absolutely necessary that the family relationship or conflict counselor himself has experience in a prosperous family life. This item is sometimes found in the recommendations ("the psychologist must have a harmonious personal life"), but you will hardly find any concrete advice anywhere: how to find out about it? Not everyone will decide at the first meeting to ask a specialist about his family (imagine the question: “do you have a personal life in harmony?”). In addition, there is a rule among psychologists - not to talk about your business to the client in order to maintain distance and a sober look. Therefore, it is best to ask all the questions to the psychologist at the first meeting, whatever they are, in psychology there are no “right” and “not right questions”, there are only questions that “concern” at the moment for the client to protect themselves, and this is quite fine.

4) Pure emotional factor: with a good psychologist, the client feels safe.
First of all, you should trust your own feelings, starting with the first dose. You must make sure that you did not come to a closed community and not to a self-taught shaman who is trying to make you think according to his doctrine.

5) A professional psychologist never gives directive advice ("do this ..."). An indicator of a well-conducted consultation is the client's own understanding, a mini-insight, in which the person himself discovers a new vision of the situation or finds confirmation of his guesses. At this point, according to psychologists, his state is clearly changing (physically or internally: relief, a fresh look, etc.). Then the specialist does not declare that the right solution has been found, but, as a rule, asks: how do you see your actions? In this case, he retains the client freedom of choice and independent decision.

6) Definitely quackery are correspondence or in-person promises to improve everything and correct any marital status. By such promises, you can easily recognize the advertising techniques of county "teachers of life". Not every family discord is reparable. There are cases when the spouses, having reasonably assessed the situation and their joint experience, understand that it will be better for them to leave. Another thing is that such cases are sporadic, and their number is immeasurably less than the number of divorces. The divorce rate can be reduced just by a timely appeal to a family psychologist (today in Russia, up to 40% of couples are divorced).

7) Like any other professional, psychologists have their own strengths: one relieves stress better, the other is well able to inspire and give impetus to life, the third gives an excellent rational analysis of the problem, etc. Of these skills, as a rule, you may not need all at once, but one specific, depending on the situation and personal preferences. The advantage of an institution over an independent psychologist is obvious here - they can always refer you to the right specialist in an organization (“It will help you better with this problem ...” - such a phrase speaks of a conscientious approach and interest in the decision). Plus, the whole collective experience works for the client. It is better to apply to an individual psychologist who leads a private practice when he has a reputation, and you understand what methods he uses and what he specializes in.

8) The quality of work can be judged by the result of the first meeting. According to one of the models of therapy (Bowen), the effect of the first session is to reduce anxiety. Often this is noticed even by the client’s family, which he leads to a second or third consultation. The symptom of unprofessionalism is such work, in which anxiety is not lifted, but instead the psychologist begins to lecture, set tasks or issue ready-made solutions without feeling the client’s condition. The tacit principle of a competent therapist: confession must be carried through to the end.

No less dangerous is the bias in the other direction, when there comes a complete "joining" to the problem, the coincidence of experiences (deep empathy). At this stage the consultation ends. Psychotherapy degenerates into "kitchen therapy." This is possible if the psychologist is not engaged in professional development and does not solve his own problems, family or personal. During the session, this can lead to phenomena of transference and countertransference, and instead of psychological help, the client receives the illusion of sympathy.

Consultation or a session, however, is a reciprocal process. It requires complicity in change. The client should feel that he is communicating with a living person who, like him, is able to discover new aspects of life. If the psychologist begins to show superiority, play the prophet and teach you life, you can easily recognize it by tone and your own discomfort.

“Effective therapists love people, they see strength where others see only weakness or depravity. They do not pose a threat and create islands of security where you feel that you are cared for and will not be exploited ”(C. Kramer).
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