Michael Byrne, ND, MA
Psychotherapist, Naturopathic Physician
Seattle Healing Arts Center
6300 9th Ave. NE, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98115 [map]
(206) 428-2067

Finding the right practitioner


One of the most important factors for success in therapy is the quality of your relationship with the practitioner(s) providing therapy. And by “therapy,” I am actually referring to any therapeutic modality (surgery, bodywork, nutritional advice, etc.), and truly, any helping relationship at all.

The most important quality I think a practitioner can have, is a belief that you can make progress inĀ  changing your life in the direction you desire. It is not helpful to simply have a “yes man” who just agrees with everything you say. What I am talking about is that the practitioner holds an overarching belief in your ability to affect your life in a positive way. If a helper does not deep down inside believe in you, they are not going to be very helpful.

It probably goes without saying that not only should they believe in your ability to make positive changes in your life, but they also need to believe in what they have to offer. Most practitioners do, so I guess what I am pointing to here is that you should feel confident in their ability to help you. You should feel hopeful about them, their therapy, their profession, their organization. Listen to you intuition and to your body. Notice if you feel strongly in favor, or not, of what they are offering, and their ability to deliver it. If you feel good about the therapy, but not the practitioner, find another practitioner. If you feel good about the practitioner, but not the therapy, ask them if they have any other type of therapy to offer.

Ask questions. Whatever you are curious about, ask. A practitioner who is right for you will be able to answer questions to your satisfaction. They can be questions about logistics, billing, therapies, philosophy, etc. Not every practitioner is the same, and so finding someone with a style that fits you is important. For example, I invite people to ask me any question they like, including personal ones, on two conditions: (1) they are in fact willing to hear my answer, and (2) they are willing to hear me say that I choose not to answer that question.

Studies have shown that you should feel either improvement, or a sense that you are going in the right direction, quite early in therapy if there is to be any improvement at all with that approach and that practitioner. If you do not believe things are headed (or bound to head) in the right direction after even just 3 sessions, bring it up with your therapist. They should either be able to change their approach with you, or recommend a colleague.

I wish you the best in your journey to realize your wholeness. You are not alone. It is a journey we are all on.