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How to choose a Healer, Therapist, or Coach

by Luna Lee Bear 2 months ago in courses
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And the red flags to look for

How to choose a Healer, Therapist, or Coach
Photo by Adrien King on Unsplash

I asked myself, why do I want to write this article? It'll ruffle feathers and it is not easy to write in a clear way.

I guess my main motive is to ward people against the horror stories that my clients bring to me on a monthly basis and the ones that I lived in first person as well.

A quick caveat before I start this: everyone reading this should follow their own best judgement before choosing or leaving a professional they have been working with (also because there are many nuances of this).

However, I have been a client and a healer for long enough now to have noticed some patterns, and I think this can save so much heartache and wrong treatments.

What to ask a professional when you first approach them:

- How did you choose to do this work? This may seem more of a date-type question, but the world is full of people who chose a career for prestige, money, or for a saviour complex. You don't have to analyze them, but their answer will often be very informative on their values.

- Do you consider yourself trauma-informed? This will be a big filter because so many professionals don't really consider this as part of their work. And that's something that will need to be rectified at some point because most people do have some trauma in their body (sometimes minor), which influences their overall health. This is an excellent question even if you're seeing a specialist for diabetes, autoimmune illnesses, coping with ADD or ADHD - because all those things can be strongly influenced by trauma.

- When and how can I talk to you? Some people need to know that they can reach the person that they're working with easily. Some, like me, prefer a very hands-off approach. If their answer isn't compatible with what you need, let them know to see if something can be done.

I will not mention asking for certifications here for a very good reason: a piece of paper does not make a good professional. Certainly, though, it's worth checking someone's reviews and having a chat with them beforehand.

What I'm saying is: don't end up in a cult, but also don't let big words and fool you.

Red flags

There are certain behaviours that are unacceptable in a health and wellness professional, whether it's a Doctor or a Life Coach and everything in between.

- Being dismissive. Some of us are hypochondriacs, others are very in touch with our bodies and intuition. Both of those categories may insist to a professional that something isn't clear or needs revising. It's the professional's job to listen and consider what you are saying.

Even if you are effectively making things up in your mind, that is causing you distress and it's important that you receive some tools for that.

I remember talking to a social worker when I was 18, to see if I could get some STI tests. I had slept with someone who wasn't my boyfriend and I wanted to make sure everything was safe. When I described the situation to her, it was clear that I had been abundantly safe, but I was still freaking out. She sat with me and she explained that it was very likely to be my sense of guilt causing my anxiety, and nothing else.

I always remembered that moment, because everyone else I had talked to had either dismissed me or guilted me more, and that kindness and honesty were what I most needed.

- The guilt and shame you. Many professionals nowadays seem to think that the tough approach is the best one. Let me make this abundantly clear, it is never ok to disrespect you, no matter how much more information they may have about your current condition.

To give you an example, someone who is proactively calling you out on a lack of accountability would say something like: "Look, you told me that your goal is XYZ and we agreed that ZYW was a sustainable way to do it. Has something changed? If not, I need you to do the thing, otherwise, I don't know how to help you. Are there ways this would be easier?"

Someone who is shaming and guilting you would say things like: "I don't know what to do with you" or "if you don't do this then you're just asking to be unwell".

You'll notice that in the second part there is a lack of willingness to understand, just do the thing or stay unwell. The first phrase still underlines that if there is no accountability there will be no progress, but it offers room for improvement.

- "I will heal you" or "I will fix you" vs "I can help you" and "I can guide you". The words may differ, but you will feel the vibe. People who make you into the poor poor fella who has finally found their saviour are a walking red flag. I know it's difficult sometimes, to resist a person that seems professional and that promises all the quick results and none of the effort, or that is overly invested in making you into a different person.

Ultimately though, that is a trauma bond built on the assumption that the way you are now is unworthy and that only spending that money will make you worthy of what you are looking for.

Look for people who remind you of your value now, that treat you like a sovereign person who is able to decide freely, and that won't use your pain to convince you to buy from them.

Things to communicate to make the relationship with a professional easier:

- Communicate your needs or ask them for ways that you can let them know something. One of my current clients is great at this! She told me that she understands me better when I send her voice notes rather than long messages, and she always lets me know if she is less receptive to information and she needs some time to mull things over. That makes my job much easier because, as attuned as I might be, I don't read minds.

Someone who cares about your well-being should be able to receive that information and let you know if they can accommodate them or not in a neutral way.

I asked my healer (and all my friends) to ask me questions because sometimes I don't know something is going on until someone asks me how I am doing or if there's something I'd like to share.

- Treat them like people. Sometimes when we meet someone that can help us after long-suffering, we are tempted to put them on a pedestal (professionals who enjoy this are also kind of a red flag).

That behaviour doesn't benefit you, because you lose touch with your better judgement and you'll be prone to doing things even if they don't align with what you can handle at the moment or your values. And it doesn't benefit the professional, who never has to grow and deal with different circumstances - which is the best way to improve in one's practice.

I hope this was useful. Is there something that you'd like to add?

*****

Hi! I am Luna and I am starting a new chapter of my life. Writing is a big part of my newfound freedom and joy, and every share, pledge and tip would help me immensely with it. Thank you in advance, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

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About the author

Luna Lee Bear

Eclectic healer and all-around weird person, guiding people through big life changes, dark nights of the Soul and spiritual awakenings. I draw connections, highlight patterns, and write about life from unusual points of view.

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