Licensed Professional CounselorDoes it matter if your therapist is the same gender as you are? Does it matter if your race is the same, if your culture is the same? Does it matter if you’re gay and your therapist is straight, or vice versa? Does it matter if you’re older or younger?

Here’s the answer to those questions: It matters if you say so. Whatever makes you comfortable or uncomfortable in therapy is very important. And you have every right to choose a therapist who is right for you. In fact, it’s essential.

So how do you choose? Just as there are many therapists to choose from, there are hundreds of theories and styles of treatment as well. All of the major psychological approaches have been shown to work. So researchers examined what successful treatments have in common. And what they found is that they all involve a good relationship between therapist and patient.

Therapy is good when therapist and patient connect, when there is trust and understanding. My strong desire as a therapist is to listen deeply and understand accurately. If there’s a part of your story that I’m missing because we differ somehow, then I want to understand it.

Getting yourself heard and understood might be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for. Learn to say what you’re feeling in the moment. When you get your emotional needs met in therapy, you can take that skill out into the world. And you can get yourself understood and your needs met out there as well.