Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

How do you find a psychotherapist that you can trust? An Interview with Judith D. Schwartz

Awhile back I published an excerpt from Judith Schwartz’s amazing book, “The Therapist’s New Clothes.” Her words left me with many more questions than answers, so I’ve decided to interview her about the unique and complicated relationship between a therapist and her client. Judith is a journalist and author who’s latest book, “The Therapist’s New Clothes”, is a memoir about training as a psychotherapist–and a cautionary tale about the seductions of therapy. Click here to visit her website.


Question: You have written a brave and bold book about not making psychotherapy your God. Wow. Can you give us five warnings signs that you’ve become too dependent on psychotherapy?


  • Your treatment becomes more interesting to you than other aspects of your life
  • Your mind keeps running in psychotherapy mode much of the time
  • A therapy appointment is not merely the highlight of your day/week, but the time that feels most “real”; all else pales in comparison
  • If someone questions whether your therapy is helping, you get extremely defensive, even enraged
  • The mere thought of having to miss an appointment sends you into a panic

Question: How does a person go about finding a psychotherapist that she can trust?


Judith: Credentials and reputation are important but not a guarantee. I’d be wary of anyone who tries to impose restrictions on you, or is so invested in a treatment philosophy that you don’t feel he or she is really “getting” you. You want someone who is trying to understand where you are as opposed to fitting you in to a particular view or treatment school.

Question: And finally, how do you make peace with the fact that you can’t fix yourself entirely?

Judith: That was never the problem for me — I would gladly have remained unfixed if I felt okay. I felt miserable all the time (what I now know as mixed anxiety and depression) and bought into the idea that “working out my issues” was the only way to get better. The effort I devoted to psychotherapy treatment reflected my desperation to feel better. Now that, thanks to medication, I am better, I need to accept that I’m not going to feel okay all the time. I have to remind myself that I’ll have low or anxious days, and that this doesn’t mean that I’ll never feel okay again. That’s what I have to make peace with: the fact that I’ll always have that fear.


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  • Michael

    This is a tough one. I’ve found that if I don’t click with a therapist right away, then it is a bad fit. I felt very uncomfortable with one therapist on the first visit and it never got better. After five or six visits, I quit going to her and found another one who seemed to get me right away. I haven’t been in therapy for years now and don’t know where more old therapist is anymore. I’ve found that some therapists want to just have you keep coming in every week while others worked with me to set goals and develop tools to accomplsh those goals.

  • Elizabeth

    This is such a sad story. I’m sure you already know about it but if not, I pasted the link into the subject line. It is about the Growing Pains actor’s death.

  • Cole Bitting

    I have a friend who says, “Some people go to church once a week, I go to therapy.” And he was right, for him, it was a noteworthy event in his week, but just a part of it too.
    A therapist is not a person. A therapist is a therapist. If you expect a full-on two way relationship, you’ll be working for something which will not happen. That said, therapy is a relationship. The client is confessing, and confession is a bonding experience. The therapy makes great use of the bond to support the client. Trust the bond, but don’t look for a relationship.
    I find the people who make the best out of therapy are the ones who understand the nature of that relationship, and how to make therapy useful. Why do you go? If it’s just to talk, then it might help to ask the therapist, “what kind of interaction makes for the best therapy?” “Why?” “What do you contribute?”
    Also there are many different styles of therapy, some backed by loads of psych literature, others more obscure. It’s helpful to figure out what kind of therapy you think suits you and your style best.
    A good therapist provides the raw material for trust, but the client creates it. If you know what kind of therapy, how to work the therapy and that you give trust rather than receive it, therapy anxiety can be alot lower.

  • LindseyRonda30

    I would like to propose not to wait until you earn enough amount of money to order all you need! You can get the personal loans or sba loan and feel yourself comfortable

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