For me, the most important qualification of a mental health professional is just plain old knowledge. Education is extremely important, and so is staying up to date with current research and medical developments. If you pursue the appropriate level of education for the kind of therapy you want to do and continue to research even after you graduate, you'll probably be fine. That's kind of a boring answer, but honestly I think that's the real secret to being a good therapist.
Other than being an actor or musician, one of my dream jobs is becoming a psychotherapist, but one of my biggest fears is not being able to come through for patients (or to be more blunt, failing to help them at all) and for those who have gotten therapists that really helped you before or have one right now, what are some qualities about them that you really like or methods from them that were really effective for you? I just don't want to become a therapist that doesn't help or makes things worse, bc I've heard about pretty bad ones out there ;;
Milkweed lol yeah it's an obvious answer, but I guess that's what makes it the best answer, right? Education is super important for building a foundation and more, though it'd be nice to know some little tips that you wouldn't normally see in your average textbook or article. I know that it'll be impossible to be the "right" therapist for everyone, but if I can get to as many people as I can with advice that could go a long way that would be enough
Attaining an apparent personal connection, whilst not letting your patient's lives bleed into your "civilian life". Basically making the patient feel like what they're saying is valued.
I went to a child psychiatrist a lot once upon a time, due to frequent panic attacks I had as a kid. I started visiting her again in high school for a bit due to depression and a mental breakdown, before she diagnosed me with mild Asperger's Syndrome and handed me over to a psychotherapist she knew. Figured that we'd get along with each-other due to him actually knowing a thing or two about the subjects I was into. She was right. The therapist was a gamer, a GoT fan and I got him into Doctor Who. :D
It was easier to speak to him, because he actually knew about fantasy tropes and understood roleplay-lingo from having played mmo's, so I felt he understood me. We'd speak of my issues a lot but sometimes, when there was time, also of videogames or my roleplay characters. I don't think he agreed with my Asperger's diagnosis. To be honest, neither do I nowadays, because the key symptoms don't line up. I think my former psychiatrist had just seriously never met a socially anxious geek before, while my psychotherapist had dealt with them a lot. Anyway the psychotherapist ended up helping me through a really rough patch and doing so in a way that I still believe he genuinely enjoyed speaking with me. I didn't agree with everything he said but these disagreements only humanized him.
Cliodna That's really cool! Being able to relate to someone is a good way of making them feel belonged, unfortunately I'm not savvy in anything like MMOs rip, but whatever the person is interested in I'm gonna do my best to understand ;v;
my least fave therapist talked at me, and told me things that a life coach would probably say. it was weird, like walking in and sitting down to some sort of motivational pep talk that somehow managed to be nagging at the same time. she never even addressed my problems that i wanted to talk about lol...
my favourite therapist was really down to earth and i was able to click with her, because we had a similar sense of humour and she was very direct with me, and i appreciated that. where i had questions about diagnosises(?), she had answers. when i was meeting with her, i also met with a psychiatrist who i liked, but came off a bit to Mothering imo, and an advocate who i loved and admired and shared so much in common with (interests, terrible coping mechanisms, we're both in the LGBT community, etc). they were open and honest with me, and i was to them too, and it was a safe place for me
snufkin That sounds great, having your therapist/psychiatrist be a good listener! The most important part of helping people is to listen to them, sorry to hear that the least fave wasn't able to do that :'/ While I wouldn't know for sure, I feel like the worst part of any mental health problem is the feeling of not being listened to, or whatever you're saying wouldn't be valuable, but no one should feel discredited especially when they are needing help
I haven't been to a therapist, but I been to a curator, a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and I feel like with all work of this type being able to connect with your patient without going too personal is the key. All the good mental health professionals I have worked with always listened to me, gave me time to think about what I want to say and kept the situation comfortable. Long silences usually weren't awkward, and I personally benefit a lot if I'm directly being asked things like "How was your week" or "how do you feel about this thing X" as they help me to get into the conversation and open up easier. I also loved the fact the good ones never belittled me and were openly condemning the abuse I talked about to them, and feeling like these people were on MY side was a really big thing to me! Because a lot of time you're led to believe you're alone with these things and you're victimizing yourself, so getting that "hey, what was done to you is wrong and we're on your side here" is extremely important to me!
On the other hand the only iffy and uncomfortable psychologist I had sessions with was someone who lied to me about her level of knowledge (she said she was very knowledgeable about LGBT+ issues and had talked with "a lot of people like me" but then she had to ask every single little small and basic thing from me, totally implying she didn't know heck damn about ANYTHING). I also got the feeling she belittled my dreams and if I talked about my future plans she immediately questioned me, when that wasn't needed at all nor was it the reason I was there in the first place. She also did this thing where she took me in 5 minutes late and ended the session 10 minutes early because "we have a meeting", meaning my 45min session each week was actually only 30min. 30min literally isn't enough time to talk about literally anything and I found it super rude and disrespectful :/
Caine Yeah, honesty is important, I'm trying to work one tgat because sonetimes I tend to sugarcoat things even though I know it does more harm than good ripp, but I hope I can get at the level that your good mental health professionals were at c: