Here’s What Makes a Good Therapist: 17 Signs to Look For

therapist word cloud

What makes a good therapist goes beyond the ability to make a client feel a little better. Because most forms of psychotherapy are effective, any competent and licensed therapist can make a small difference.

A good therapist, on the other hand, can make a huge impact in a client’s life. He or she can teach clients new cognitive and emotional skills, help them overcome trauma, guide them toward better relationships and transform them into better versions of themselves.

As a client it can be easy to confuse how skilled a therapist is with how well you match with them. Still, there are some objective signs of a good therapist that apply whether you like the person or not. Keep reading to learn what they are so you can quickly decide whether the therapist you are working with is someone who can make a big positive difference in your life.

To make the article comprehensive, we broke the signs down based on how you are interacting with your therapist. Most signs apply to any therapeutic interaction, but there are some that only apply to online therapy or in-person therapy. Continue reading Here’s What Makes a Good Therapist: 17 Signs to Look For

Meet Our Therapists: Kate Denihan


Name: Katharine “Kate” Denihan
Licensing Info: NYS LCSW-R 072088
Where you live: New York, NY
Hometown: New York, NY
Time working at Talkspace: 11 months
Time working as a Therapist: 15 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I am working in mental health because I feel a deep need to help others who are seeking assistance, guidance and support. I have two personal life experiences, one from childhood and one more recent, that solidified my dedication to this special field.

Growing up with a brother who has special needs, I wanted to have a voice and be an advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves. My brother, Tully, has more challenges than most people I know. Nonetheless, he brings joy and this unexplainable light to all he comes into contact with. Tully’s big-heartedness inspires me to help people find inner peace and happiness.

About two years ago, I lost my youngest brother, Charlie, at the age of 28 to an accidental drug overdose. Mental health, addiction, stigma, loss, and the intricacies of care are all very personal to me. There is no other field in which I could bring this breadth of knowledge, experience and deep desire to help. While this tragic experience is at times hard to articulate, the lingering feeling of loss has forever changed my outlook on life and in many ways has helped me to emphasize the importance of mental health. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Kate Denihan

5 Qualities That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Therapy

5 therapy art heads

Anyone can benefit from a fresh, skilled perspective and a supportive ear. There are, however, some types of individuals who make more — or at least faster — progress in therapy.

Here are some traits that predict a beneficial outcome in counseling, from my experience working with adults and couples in my private practice. You can still succeed without them, but doing so might take longer. Continue reading 5 Qualities That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Therapy

25 Signs of a Bad Therapist: You Deserve Better

Therapist on his phone

Some signs of a bad therapist are easy to spot. If your therapist insults or shames you, it’s time to find someone new.

Others are more difficult. The therapist might encourage you to blame others or become overly defensive about a criticism. These issues may not hurt your feelings, but they hinder progress in therapy.

This guide will help you spot all the signs of a bad therapist. That way you can avoid bad therapists and find the quality therapy you deserve. Continue reading 25 Signs of a Bad Therapist: You Deserve Better

The Basics of SAD and How You Can Treat It: A Therapist’s Perspective

woman coffee light therapy

Many people with mood disorders, and those without, struggle in the cooler months with shorter days and much less sunlight. When the sun goes down, so does our energy and mood.

For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD], this change can be debilitating. The change in seasons and less daylight hours can lead to missed days from school or work, relationship problems and drastic changes in mood and weight. The effects of SAD can be devastating.

As a therapist, I come across many clients who experience symptoms such as these and come to understand these cluster of behaviors and experiences as SAD. As the summer months wind down, I can hear the worry and concern in their voices: “But what is winter going to be like for me?” Continue reading The Basics of SAD and How You Can Treat It: A Therapist’s Perspective

Why You Might Feel Bad (Or Worse) After Therapy

Man on leather chair with his head in his hand

You finished chatting with your therapist and you feel bad, horrible even. It’s frustrating because therapy was supposed to make you feel better. Now you’re feeling awful, maybe worse than before you started therapy.

It is actually normal to occasionally feel bad or worse after therapy, especially during the beginning of your work with a therapist. It can be a sign of progress. As counterintuitive as it may sound, feeling bad during therapy can be good. Continue reading Why You Might Feel Bad (Or Worse) After Therapy

Different Types of Therapy [Psychotherapy]: Which is Best For You?

types of psychotherapy factors

There are dozens of different types of therapy that might be right for you. To make the choice manageable, we broke them down into the factors that make a “type” of psychotherapy (you can use the handy links below to jump around the guide):

Whether you are an aspiring therapist planning your career path or a potential client looking for the type of therapy that best fits your preferences, considering all of these factors is crucial. “Type of therapy” typically refers to therapeutic approach, but this factor is not more important than others. Many clients and therapists value the other factors far more than therapeutic approach. Continue reading Different Types of Therapy [Psychotherapy]: Which is Best For You?

How Ricardo Used Talkspace to Overcome Depression, Anxiety, and Abuse

Ricardo Talkspace headshot

Talkspace can change your life for the better. But how can you believe us until we show you?

Ricardo is one of thousands of people who use Talkspace to live a happier life and cope with mental health issues. Maybe his story will offer insights into how Talkspace could help you.

Ricardo’s Testimony

I came across Talkspace by accident as I was desperately searching for answers. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and was in the middle of a serious bout with both. Continue reading How Ricardo Used Talkspace to Overcome Depression, Anxiety, and Abuse

Why Is Suicide Increasing in Black Children?

young black girl sad

In July 2015, published research by JAMA Pediatrics indicated the suicide rate among elementary school children (under 12 years of age) had stabilized over two decades. What they were surprised to find was that Black children were at an increased incidence of suicide whereas their White counterparts demonstrated a significant decrease in suicide incidence. While White children’s rates of suicide has stabilized, those of Black children had increased.

What’s happening to our young Black children? Continue reading Why Is Suicide Increasing in Black Children?

Online vs. Traditional Therapy: The Pros and Cons

therapist couch client smartphone

The online vs. traditional therapy debate is on! As more people try the computer and smartphone over the couch, both mental health professionals and therapy-goers are discussing the pros and cons.

Online therapy is not trying to replace traditional therapy, but it is a better fit for millions of people. To decide which is best for you — whether you are a potential client or therapist — try weighing the pros and cons in the context of your life.

Continue reading Online vs. Traditional Therapy: The Pros and Cons