Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Trusting Your Gut

I had an interesting experience yesterday I would like to share.

Like women do every day in the U.S., I made an appointment to talk to a new hairstylist. I was considering switching, and wanted to talk with the new one before doing so.

Within five minutes, I began to feel odd. Uncomfortable. Almost surreal. The place had a weird energy- there was no reception area, there was nowhere to wait, and I had to search around to find who I was looking for. Stop being such a snob, I told myself.

But then it got a bit stranger. I started to feel uncomfortable with the person. I’m not sure if it was the disjointed speech, the slightly disheveled appearance or the fact that this person’s hair looked bad. Really bad.

Never trust a skinny cook, a poor stockbroker or a hairdresser with bad hair.

Still, I doubted myself. The longer I spent with this person, the more uncomfortable I became. I felt disconnected, out-of-place. I could not follow what was being said. The topic jumped back and forth from hair color to where I lived and worked and what nationality I was. These questions are too intrusive, I thought. Still, I did not get up to leave. Why? I doubted my gut.

Walking out to my car, I just had this really bad feeling. I thought, this is silly. What do I have to be upset about? Then I realized. It was my gut telling me not to go back to that hairstylist. The more I considered the facts (the inordinate amount of time it would take, the fact that this stylist had lots of openings and they were still in school, the inappropriate conversation) I realized an amazing thing: My gut was correct! My gut has always been correct! Whenever I have listened to it, I have never been sorry.

At least when I verify it. I never listen to my gut without verification.

So, what does all of this have to do with you?

Listen to your gut. Then verify.

When you visit a counselor, whether it’s me or someone else, pay attention to how you feel when you are around that person. Don’t just look at the credentials on the wall or the price. If you get that “bad feeling”, ask yourself: is this person really listening? Do they care? Does their style of communication fit with mine (does the conversation feel comfortable)? Are they focused or do they seem distracted? Do they change topics suddenly and seem to forget what they have just told you?

If your “bad feelings” are verified with observable facts, don’t go back. Find another counselor. Keep looking until you find one you feel comfortable talking to. Research shows that the counseling relationship accounts for approximately 40% of the outcome. If you don’t have a good relationship with your counselor, your chances of success are already down to 60%. Why do that to yourself? The work you do in counseling is difficult enough without adding an artificial challenge. So…listen to your gut. Then verify.

1 Comment

  1. Ana Iosipan

    I enjoy reading your blog. I agree about keep looking for the right therapist until your gut tells you ” this is the right one for me”.

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