EasyAsABC
For those in therapy post affair(s), what did you look for in a therapist? Specifically those of you that aren’t looking for therapy to help in the reconciliation process. 
My situation is a little unique, I know that. I’m not sure what I’m looking to get out of therapy, but I’m not sure I’m getting anything right now, and I’ve been doing this for months. 
A quick backstory: I had a traumatic childhood. Then I was in an abusive marriage (mental, physical and sexual) to an unfaithful partner. After going to an in home separation I met another man that helped me flee my now ex-husband. We started a relationship, but he had a long time GF at home. I tried to end things with this new man, and then was sexually assaulted by a stranger, and he was there for me through that as well. Eventually, his double life caught up with him, and when faced with leaving her to stay with me, or leaving me to stay with her, he chose to stay with her for the sake of their child, but kept in contact with me for months after DDay, and we continued to see each other for a while as well. There’s obviously more to the story, this is the readers digest version. 
I didn’t know what to look for in a therapist, all I knew was that I refused to go to a faith based therapist. 
My therapist is nice, she listens well. But she also thinks that whatever I do is “fine”. I don’t know if I have unrealistic expectations, but she doesn’t call me out on my bullsh*t. 
As an example, I struggle with quite severe depression, and during one of my most recent lows (very very recently), I reached out to my ex-AP/MM. He responded and we chatted a bit, for the first time in months. 
My therapist said this was “understandable” given where I was emotionally, and given where our relationship was at the end, and the role he often played for me. Her only suggestion was that maybe I contact her directly if I’m feeling like that again. 
Im not looking for her to ream me for talking to him, but it also seems like she justifies everything I do based on past trauma. And I feel like I’m supposed to be finding new coping methods, not positive reinforcements for old ones. 
I’m not looking for a new therapist, yet. Before I do that, I’d like to maybe set out clear goals for what I’d like to see from my current therapy sessions. I feel like it was helping in the beginning, but I’m slipping into my old ways again and it’s no longer helping. 
Theres much more than my role as the OW to address here, and I don’t at all want that year of my life to be the main focus. 
BS to an abusive H 2009-2018
OW 2018-2019
I wear many hats.
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ThrivenotSurvive
Based on people I've worked with, as well as personal friends/family who have some common threads with your past, my suggestion would be to look for someone who comes highly recommended by those who work with domestic abuse and/or childhood abuse victims.  You may want to ask for referrals from groups that work with these individuals (social services, group therapy/support groups etc.)  

Another thing you can look for is a "therapist's therapist"  - these are people who are so far along in their career that they actually are sought out by their peers.  Generally speaking they have a LOT more experience and because they work with other professionals - their BS meter is well attuned.  

Your situation as an OW (in my opinion) is a SYMPTOM of what you've been through.  I think you would find therapy that focused on family of origin issues and your early experiences in relationships far more beneficial than those of the recent past.  Those situations largely exist because of the far more distant past and patterns that started in childhood and early adulthood.  But I've seen excellent results with therapists who take a very "strengths based" approach as well where less emphasis is spent on the past and more on building on what healthy mechanisms you already have and expanding them.

You may also want to consider eye movement therapy in working with any remaining trauma/triggers (where there is a physical response in the body) and/or hypnotherapy for looking into unhealthy thought/emotional patterns formed in VERY early time periods (sometimes pre-verbal.)  If your home life  was bad during the first 6-10 years of your life you likely have deeply buried subconscious beliefs about yourself directly formed from that environment.  These can be very, very hard to find, much less change, in traditional therapy because they are formed in a child's mind and imagery (no logic to it in the least.)  

The best way to tell if you have these is asking yourself - "Are there recurring situations where I find that even when i am CONSCIOUSLY making every effort to "do it differently" somehow I find myself in the same place/ with same kind of person/doing the same things?  If YES, you are likely acting from a childhood script that is on autopilot.   Even while you are diligently staring at the map and trying to drive to somewhere new, your subconscious mind is taking you to the same old place you've always gone. Some people find that hypnotherapy can really help find these - and allow them to replace it with a healthier pattern.  

It is my opinion that once a counselor has gained your trust and created rapport (which should be accomplished to some degree within 2-3 sessions), they SHOULD push you.  Otherwise they are a paid friend.  They are there to help you look at things in a new way, call you on your BS and help you see yourself and your future in a new way.  If you don't leave at least 1 session out of every 4 with your mind racing and feeling a bit challenged - then she's probably not helping you as MUCH as she could.  That doesn't mean she isn't helping you, just that you may be ready for more  

You should also REGULARLY have "homework" - thinks you should be doing/thinking about/acting on in-between sessions.  Just my two cents.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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Sadie
I highly recommend that you have a frank discussion with your therapist as to how you feel things are going.   Your therapist is there to help you.    If you do not feel she is being strong enough with you, then let her know that.   I am hopeful that she will provide you with more insight in to her method, or refer you to someone else with no hard feelings.
      I say this, as it has been my own personal experience.  At times I felt that my therapist was going too easy on me and bless her, she would explain to me why, as I told her in my very first session with her how I respond best in situations...I need to be pushed, I need to be called on my bs and I needed her to be very frank with me.   
      She agreed with me to a point...lol.  And go figure, she was right, that at times, I needed a different approach.   I had no idea, until she explained it to me.    It happens and I was so very glad she and I had heart to hearts about the process instead of just dropping her and moving on, even though, sometimes that is a necessary step.
     I wish you luck in your progress.
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anthro
Work on two assumptions:

1. You'll need to go through a few therapists before you find one that feels right.
2. If it isn't painful and confronting and difficult enough to make you want to quit, it probably isn't doing you much good.
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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hurting
I would be looking for someone who would call me out on any BS upfront and not be afraid to address it directly. Someone who thinks whatever I do is ‘fine’ would be useless to me. If I’m going, it’s because I need to be challenged in my thought processes and the things in struggle with. Not because I need validation.

Our first MC was like that. Completely useless. The second one I went to told me at the start that she is quite direct and will push us- I said no problem. That’s exactly what I want. My WS is passive and needs pushing. I am not afraid of saying exactly what I mean and I needed someone who could also rein me in. 
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Jennifer
Since there is a lot of trauma in your story, looking for a therapist who is trauma informed would be helpful as well. A counselor who has been trained in EMDR therapy could be a good fit along with everything stated by the other members.
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