A good counselor can be a life saver. They can help someone who believes their life is in shambles and give them hope, motivation, and restore enjoyment to things they once used to love. They can work with a couple who is seriously considering divorce as their only options for their relationship and restore their broken communication. If you are considering therapy, you need to find a therapist who is best for you. When you meet for your first session, here are some signs that you’ve found the right counselor.

They’re Empathetic

A counselor needs to have strong empathy skills in order to be good at their job. Empathy involves putting themselves in your shoes and seeing things through your perspective. They are able to relate and they can make you feel like you’re talking to a good friend rather than a professional. Their ability to listen to and process what you’re saying so that you feel heard and understood is key for a successful therapeutic relationship.

They Are Flexible

A good counselor will need to have flexibility. For example, an online counselor such as those that are found on BetterHelp.com will need to be available when you’re at your lowest and need to talk to someone. Online platforms allow for 24/7 messaging, where you can send your therapist a message in the middle of the night, if you need. And if the plan you’re on requires visit frequency or timeslot changes, a therapist can quickly adjust your plan accordingly and make sure it’s the best for you.

They’re Focused Entirely on You

A good therapist will be one who isn’t distracted whenever you’re in a session. They’ll silence their phone, not keep glancing at the clock, and look you straight in the eyes. A therapist who may not work for you could be one that is distracted by notification noises that they’ve forgotten to turn off on their computer and/or phone, keeps checking the time, or seems disengaged from you.

A Therapist Listens – and Constructively Responds

A therapist should be someone who listens to you, but that isn’t all that they should do. They will respond whenever needed and they won’t be someone who you need to repeat yourself with constantly. They’ll be able to respond with more pointed questions to help you express your feelings further, or can provide you with words of affirmation and understanding if you are having a tough time with something.

They’ll Teach You to be Self-Aware

Many people’s problems can be solved when they practice some form of self-awareness. Self-awareness involves examining yourself and identifying and realizing which emotions, memories, or thoughts you are struggling with. Some therapists will teach you mindfulness, which involves being aware of the present and focusing on the here and now. Other therapists might have you examine past behaviors and help you identify a pattern of thoughts or actions that you can try to avoid in the future to prevent relapse.

They’re Brutally Honest, but Gentle

A good therapist will help you realize when and which problems are due to your own doing, but they’ll do so in a gentle and constructive manner, with your best interests in mind. A bad therapist will harshly criticize you, and this will do nothing but make you more defensive. When working with a therapist, trusting their judgment and feeling like you are a partner in your treatment is more effective than brutal honesty.

These are many other traits a good therapist will have, but these are just a few of them. If you want to seek therapy, look for these traits. Read some reviews. By finding a therapist who is right for you, your life will change in so many ways that it’s hard to name them all.