Many people hate the idea of therapy. They think it’s a way to rattle off about your day without healing your traumas. Or worse yet, they think therapists will heighten their mental anguish.

Most therapists are honest, helpful people. But there are many mistakes you can make when selecting a therapist that ruins your chances of healing.

In this episode, I reveal the 5 key traits you need to look for in a therapist so you can build a strong therapy-client relationship and heal, grow, and strengthen your psychological well-being.

Listen to this episode now before you waste a bunch of money on a therapist who can’t help you with your unique circumstances.

 Show highlights include:

  • How attacking your fears head on lets you experience a deep sense of joy and love (6:08)
  • Here’s how to get affordable therapeutic treatment if you can’t afford $300 an hour for a therapist (8:29)
  • The weird way venting about your feelings makes you wealthier (9:15)
  • Why “wasting” money on a 1-on-1 coach 10x’s your results compared to spending the same time in a group (10:14)
  • How treating yourself like your dog makes it easier to invest in your mental health (11:53)
  • Why psychiatrists won’t help you solve your traumas (and what kind of expert to go to instead) (12:58)
  • How picking a therapist with the same cultural upbringing as you helps you get better results (21:54)
  • Why many online relationship coaches sabotage your ability to find unconditional love (even if they’re not pickup artists) (27:11)
  • The “Experiential Therapy” method that blows talking to a therapist out of the water (31:23)
  • 4 simple steps to find a high-quality therapist by the end of the day (35:32)

    Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at now.

For more about David Tian, go here:

    Get access to all my current and future online coaching courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership program today at:


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Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: I’m David Tian, and welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast

In the previous two episodes, I was speaking especially to our entrepreneurial achievers amongst us and I pointed out and busted up the myth of the “value love” myth, and pointed out the limitations and real pain points of having a performance-based self-worth, a possession-based self-worth, an attribute-based self-worth or other-based self-worth, all of which are built into the value system of the “value love” myth, which is the myth that your worthiness for love is based on the value that you provide or can bring or have created—and, instead, contrasting this with a healthy self-worth, a healthy sense of self-esteem that comes from just your very existence that you’re worthy of love from the moment you’re born. [01:13.0]

In the past couple episodes, we went deep into childhood dynamics, into who you ended up becoming as a result, a pleaser or a rebel, and asking these big questions of “When is it enough?”—when will it be enough, this achievement, this significance-driven need to create or accomplish enough value, so that you can be finally worthy of love?—and the caretaking of your parents’ emotions when you were a child, being a parentified child and boundaries.

We also covered the meaning of life, the point of life, the end-of-life questions in the last episode, and how if you answer those questions honestly, authentically and sincerely, you’ll get to not accomplishments or creations as your legacy, but, instead, the importance of the primacy of experience and the experience of emotions and of relationships and of people in your life, actual individuals that you think of, and then ultimately going to love as the grounding emotion of life, and giving you kind of taste of that experientially where I attempted to in the last episode. [02:21.5]

In this episode, we’re going to get a lot more practical. I’m going to get into the five points, the five suggestions that I think are requirements for finding the right guide to lead you to the switch or the transformation or the shift in the value system and worldview for you to experience a love and a life with love, instead of being left at the end of your life, looking back on it, having sacrificed so much to strive for the pursuit of worthiness—only discovering at the end of your life how it was devoid of the gift of the presence of love. [03:00.0]

Instead, being able to move into that right away right now and begin to experience what you may only appreciate at the end of your life, but to experience that now, and to experience and achieve ongoing success from the vantage point of fulfillment and of inner peace.

It’s not the striving born from torture or of a neurotic pursuit of a lack of worthiness that only when you create this amazing project or legacy or achievement, only then will you finally be worthy of experiencing this love, so you can finally rest, and all along actually being driven by fear, fear that if you explore or turn towards your vulnerability—this aspect of yourself that you’ve been repressing, pushing back, exiling, disowning for so long in order to keep going on that rat race, keep beating yourself up to create some outsized success, financially or whatever it is—that having to turn to that vulnerability requires you to face that fear, that that would somehow weaken you and remove the motivation for you to finally create enough worthiness to be worthy of love. [04:13.0]

Instead of being driven by this fear of your own vulnerability and shame, and maybe a perceived weakness, instead, starting from a vantage point of seeing that the experience of love is what gives life, meaning, it is the highest form of experience of life, and starting from there and the abundance that that gives—already worthy, already enough, already significant, just in who you are—then creating success becomes an afterthought.

It becomes natural and relatively effortless because it comes from an energy of expression, of expressing and pursuing activities that you enjoy and find deeper meaning in, and find a sense of contribution and beyond yourself. That naturally pulls you towards and gives you greater energy. It gives you energy so that you don’t need to have energy to do it and it’s a completely different experience of success. [05:09.0]

You can have that only when you let go of the “value love” myth, only when you are free of the toxic neurotic pursuit of success through beating yourself up, through the pursuit, thinking that the pursuit of that success is what will give you the worthiness of finally being good enough for that love that you seek.

That’s what we’ve been attacking in the past couple of episodes, the “value love” myth. Today, because it’s one thing to devote episodes to talking about it, but this is not something that can be arrived at intellectually. The intellectual project is just to remove obstacles, so that you’re open enough to follow along experientially, but, in fact, the longer you stay in the intellectual, the more you just activate philosophical parts that just use intellect as a shield or as a distraction mechanism to stay up there in the head and away from the heart, because the heart is where all of the fear lies. [06:10.0]

The fear itself is in the heart, and then all of the good stuff is also in the heart. All of the good stuff of the love, the joy, the happiness, the connection, that’s all in the heart as well, and so it’s all in the heart. The fear itself is just the gateway through to that, because on the other side of fear is what you discover the thing that you want the most but are afraid that it won’t be coming.

But, actually, you won’t discover the thing you want the most until you face the fears. We’ve already done that in the last episode a little bit by facing the fear of death by having you imagine. Hopefully you followed along and did that sincerely, and I focused on it. We experienced some of the awakening and the insight that can come from facing that fear and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. [06:55.1]

What I’m suggesting here, if you’re following me and I have your trust enough to recommend for you that the next step, the most direct step, the most effective solution or the most effective method for getting to that, getting through the therapeutic process and getting that healing and unburdening that’s required to discover that inner freedom, that the most direct way to do this is to get a guide, a mentor, or a teacher, and I will suggest a therapist here.

I’ll point it out for you. For those who have already been thinking of pursuing therapy, I’ll give you five pointers on how to find the best therapist for you. This is the most direct way, and I do know, as a caveat before I launch into the five points, that some of us won’t be able to handle this financially.

I was lucky enough that at the universities when I was a student that our universities subsidized our therapy, so the co-pay was like 10, 15 bucks per session and the normal fee would have been 150 back then, so that was very generous. When I discovered that, I took advantage of it in my PhD program as a student. [08:00.0]

But apart from these types of subsidies, in some countries like Australia, I think last time I checked, the government will cover for every citizen. I think it’s 10 sessions per year, maybe 20 sessions, I forget. In those cases, that’s helpful. You want to take advantage of that. Maybe your insurance will cover it. I think those are really good insurance packages. Most insurance probably doesn’t extend very far for mental health at the moment. Maybe that will change in the future.

Nowadays, good therapists charge 200 to 300 per hour-long session, depending on the city that they live in. I think, for New York City, it’s around 300. For those who live or the therapists who live in places where the cost of living is lower, probably it will charge lower, so that’s something to be aware of—but if you can’t afford, I think, a minimum to set for yourself in your mind would be 175 per session. If you can’t afford that, I have created online courses to help you move through the therapeutic process. [09:00.0]

For many of our students, it acts as a good substitute for therapy, for personal therapy, and it’ll take you quite a long way. Then you might want to get therapy to kind of top it off for yourself and as you become more successful, because one thing we’ve discovered is that the further along in the therapeutic process you go, the more easily success comes to you in your career.

Not at the beginning, because as you go through the beginning and you get into the dark cave of exploring your shadow parts and so forth, you’d probably be distracted in that sense, but then once you start to free up and unburden these parts of you that were laboring under this toxic burdens and you’re unburdened, achievement becomes a lot more natural and automatic. Then maybe you’ll be able to afford one-on-one therapy. You might get it, you won’t maybe need it on a weekly basis, maybe every other week or so. [09:53.5]

That’s something we’ve discovered. If you want to stick with our recorded courses for the first year or so, and then save up for therapy later, that’s one route to go. But for our entrepreneurial achievers for whom money is generally not an object or an issue, the most direct thing to do is to get obviously your personal, private one-on-one coaching. I do that for myself in every area of life that I want to get good at.

Recently, I’ve discovered it again, it was a really great decision, getting good at now tackling various mixed martial arts disciplines. There are so many. Instead of going to the group classes for some of them that are very popular, had popular teachers or popular times that might have timings, might have 20, 30 students in the class and getting the diluted attention from the instructor, just paying a lot more relatively to the group class, I don’t know, maybe … what would it be? 10X, 10 to 15, 20X, more for that same amount of time, but getting all of the undivided attention from the private instructor is way more value. You’re going to get 100X value in terms of just what you can pick up, can experience and can learn, the rate of learning. [11:02.0]

I mean, that has been the case for every area of life in which I’ve decided is important, getting that one-on-one coach, mentor, teacher, who can focus on you and your unique set of problems in your background and so forth is always worth it if you can afford it.

When it comes to your mental health and your psychology, it’s actually an investment in yourself. Like I said, the more you are freed up internally, the more you can perform on the outside, too, and the more money you will generally make down the road, or at least, at the minimum, you’ll enjoy your life a lot more.

That’s different from just blowing a bunch of money on alcohol or a night out in the town, or splashing out on, I don’t know, a first-class flight or whatever the luxuries are in your life, getting a new pair of shoes. We, generally, will spend all the time to get the new iPhone or whatever for a marginal increase in functionality, but we are stingy when it comes to investing in ourselves. [12:02.8]

This has actually been proven out in research that if you think about yourself, you’ll be less diligent in investing, but if you’re taking care of somebody else, even in your dog, and especially your kids, you’ll generally be a lot more generous. So, treat yourself. I’m going to quote right from Jordan Peterson. Treat yourself as somebody that you want the best for. I think I’m paraphrasing there that that principal he had in one of his books.

Okay, I’ll give you these five points—and two more quick caveats. When it comes to your mental health psychology, these issues that I’ve been discussing in a lot of these episodes, but especially the past two in attacking the “value love” myth and so forth, and helping you to explore your childhood patterns and dynamics and so on, and becoming freed up, freeing from yourself from those legacy burdens that have you’ve inherited from your parents and your upbringing, that you should look for a psychotherapist, not a psychiatrist. [13:00.5]

This is a really basic distinction. A psychiatrist is somebody who went through medical school, got an MD, and then did a fellowship or some kind of specialty training for a year or two to learn how to diagnose mental illness based on a textbook, basically the DSM, this book that helps you to connect the diagnosis to the prescription, and then they prescribe a drug that you ingest to help you calm down your biochemistry.

Now, if it turns out that medication will help you, a psychotherapist can refer you to a psychiatrist who can then write you your prescription, but psychiatrists aren’t trained in and don’t specialize in psychotherapy. There’s a huge world of difference there and I realized people in the ’80s and ’90s when mental health was still really new didn’t know this distinction in psychiatry. Back then, it was in their heyday. They had this kind of idealistic optimism about the effectiveness of drugs for treating psychology, and that has been proven to be false, a false kind of idealism, or, I mean, it’s just idealistic. [14:11.8]

It turned out that the reality was a lot messier than that, and unless you want to just get medicated, which just really are sort of like further aids to repression, right? It just sort of numbs you out or whatever. There it’s just a way of dealing with it that doesn’t actually solve the problem. I recommend that you don’t see or look for a psychiatrist as your default go-to for addressing any of these psychological issues.

Now, there are exceptions of those who have a psychiatric background or who are psychiatrists who can prescribe medication, who also have many years of psychotherapy training. Bessel van der Kolk is a great example. If you haven’t read The Body Keeps the Score, it has been sitting on the New York Times bestseller list for years. That’s actually the first book I recommend to people, especially achievers who have any kind of science background, this first book for understanding psychotherapy, and he’s a psychiatrist by training. Daniel Siegel is another famous psychiatrist who has a lot of experience with psychotherapy. [15:11.0]

There are these exceptions, but they are exceptions. Generally speaking, when you’re doing the psychology work or you want to do the psychology work and do the therapeutic process, I recommend a psychotherapist, not a psychiatrist.

The third and final caveat and just to give a context for the five points, the pointers I want to share, be aware that therapists are people, too. In other words, they have parts, and if the five pointers are to help you, help you and them make the whole process easier. Make it easier for them and for you by finding a therapist who doesn’t have to work hard to get you. That’s sort of the overarching point here. This covers this point of making it easier for them and for you by finding a therapist who naturally gets you already. It actually covers at least four out of five of these points. Okay, so that’s a big overarching thing. [16:04.8]

Realize that therapists are people, too. Most therapists have very good intentions, and if they’re responsible, well-meaning therapists, they’ll try their hardest to meet you where you’re at and to be there for you and access compassion for you. But sometimes it’s harder because they just don’t have that experience, life experience, that you are referring to and they have other parts come up that may get in the way. Just make it as easy as possible for yourself and them to find a good match, right, so it’s kind of like a good match.

Okay, the five pointers.

The first pointer. Finding the right type of therapist for you who can act as a mentor and a guide as well through this process is the first one. It’s not in a particular order. It’s kind of more of the order that I just thought of it as I jotted down in my notes here. The first one is to find a therapist who understands the current dating landscape and has had a diverse dating background, and who won’t bring moral judgment to your dating goals or background or experiences, and who can understand you and what you’re after. [17:14.2]

This is in the context of people who are my listenership or audience, generally speaking, who have found me through Googling or searching for dating advice, and this is why it’s unusual for people who start off looking for dating advice to go and find a therapist. That’s really new. I think I may be the only one who is doing this, pushing in that direction, because I have been, over the many years, referring guys to various therapists that I think are good and suitable.

They don’t tell me anything about any of the clients, by the way. That’s all confidential. It’s just so that you know that, just to appease or to assuage any fears there. But I do hear back and from therapists thinking their impressions of this is kind of weird for them, but they like it. It’s a new challenge, but it’s not something that they’re training has prepared them for. [18:02.8]

Okay, that doesn’t mean that they can’t help you with that, but it does mean that it’s an unusual ask and it’s an unusual entry point for therapy. You show up to your therapist, your first meeting, and that’s often just a meet and greet kind of get to know you, get your background, and that’s just kind of sussing things out.

You might find it’s kind of strange to say, What brings you to my office? “I want to hook up with some more girls.” It’s going to be a really weird thing—and, hopefully, you’re not doing that to hook up with more girls because that’s not the most direct way. Hopefully, you’re looking for something deeper and maybe a connection of intimacy, or to create a love relationship, and then that will make more sense in that context. But just to be a better pickup artist, I don’t think you need therapy for that and I’m not currently trying to help guys with that, in case there’s any guys following me for it and have been not watching or consuming any of my content for the past 10 years and jumped from me as a pickup artist coach way back when to now. [19:02.5]

The dating background, that’s really important. I will give you an example from my own life. Many years ago, when I was looking for a therapist because I was in a kind of suicidal dark place and trying out lots of therapists, back then, I was living in Singapore, and even before that, because when I was a student, I took advantage of the copay, the insurance coverage as a student of the therapist in the university clinic, and how cheap they were there and great value.

Right when I started as a professor at the National University of Singapore, I went to their university clinic, like, This is great. Back then it was mostly talk therapy, so at worst, it was like somebody who is paid to, pay a little money to listen to you and all your problems. You can guilt-free offload your issues, right? [19:52.7]

Right away, I was already discovering, man, there’s a lot of sexual shame in this country, lots of moral judgment, and even just looking at these other people I’m sitting across the room from this as my therapist, I could tell this guy does not have much experience with sex or with dating, or has probably never stepped foot in a nightclub, so he can’t understand what I’m talking about in my day-to-day life, the issues that are coming up, and instead I’m getting moral judgment here.

It’s so important to find a therapist who doesn’t get activated, triggered by you sharing honestly and frankly your sexual escapades or whatever, wherever you’re at, or even just your sexual desires. Many of my clients who have been through my courses are now successful compared to the average person in society, successful optimizing their lifestyles, and part of it is just becoming really successful in your dating life, and this might be very unusual for those who have never done this to themselves.

Just look out for that. That’s the first point. Find a therapist or a mentor or a guide who has experienced personally with the dating background that you either want to explore or have explored, so that it doesn’t trigger their moral judging parts. [21:14.5]

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The second point related to this—find someone who has personal experience or knowledge of your background, broadly speaking. This includes, I would add in their race, your culture, your upbringing, your society, and your career. The career is a little bit special, so I’ll leave that for the end here, but race, culture, society, upbringing. [22:16.5]

I discovered, looking for therapists in Asia, they didn’t get me because I grew up and was raised mostly in Canada and my grad school was in the U.S., though I first immigrated to the U.S., so the first four years was in the U.S. coming out of Taiwan. I needed to have a therapist who I didn’t have to bring up to speed and have him or her do lots of homework to understand me. I wanted somebody who just kind of got me because that’s their background, too, so it was easier if they had been raised in North America and knew what society was like there and how different it was.

To me, it was a lot more open and accepting than the toxics kind of sexual shame and moral-judging society that I found in Singapore in the 2000s and 2010s. It might still be like that, though I think it has opened up a lot and matured a lot more since that time, especially in mental health, or maybe it’s just that I was meeting a lot more younger therapists at the various trainings I was attending. [23:17.7]

But I think it’s improving in Singapore, but it was just expected to be more of … Similarly, for those who were raised in Singapore, it was extra homework for me that I had to do and that I have done over the several years working there to get inside the upbringing and what it was like to be raised in that type of more sexually-stifling culture and just basic differences there that are very important.

Don’t make it harder for your therapist to get you. Just look for a therapist who you can assume already kind of gets you and look for somebody who was raised, at a minimum, the kind of maybe social strata or socioeconomic class, or can share their experiences as a minority as you have, sharing the race or culture and the upbringing, and so that all helps, okay, somebody who kind of gets you already just by their personal experience in life. [24:17.3]

Then the one extra special thing is career. One thing I discovered, and I’ll be sharing this towards the end after I share these five pointers, for those who are entrepreneurs, especially those who are in careers or fields that are cutting edge … so nowadays, after COVID, we all get remote work, but three years ago, I found there are therapists just trying to wrap their minds around remote work, which is crazy.

I also found therapists who had so many limiting beliefs when it came to their profession, when it came to business, because they’re not business people, but they’re just stuck in their old ways. Even therapists who refuse to use calendars, online calendars like scheduling apps because they’re like Luddites basically, because they’ve done it one way their whole career and why would they change? Why should they change? They have this fear around technology and I found it’s just sort of like talking to my parents of an older generation and I have to coach them through email, but at least my parents are open-minded to it a bit more than some of these therapists I’ve met. [25:16.8]

I’ve had clients who have seen other therapists who are older in their sixties and sometimes in their fifties already, who just didn’t understand how they could be digital nomads. They thought that that was unhealthy. They treated it as if it were some kind of addiction to a substance and that it was unhealthy mentally, just because they didn’t understand how you could use technology and you could work remotely, and they felt like there’s this moral judgment around being different. Look out for that. You want to find somebody who is hip and kind of with it and keeping abreast of the changes in your background. [25:59.8]

Some of you might also be anti-technology. I know there are quite a few of you who have a limiting belief that you have to see a therapist in person, and you’re just way behind because soon it’s going to be VR and AR and the Metaverse and so on. I get it, so whatever area, wherever you’re at in terms of your career, society, upbringing, race, culture, find someone and it would be easier for you if you found a therapist who could naturally meet you there. The more you know yourself, the easier it will be to find a good therapist to match with you. That’s something to look out for.

In other words, I would then look for a therapist for myself who has either been trained in or spent a lot of time in or currently lives in North America, even better, Toronto, my hometown, and I can at least guarantee that I would understand where he’s coming from and he’d understand where I was coming from, and then ideally you find someone who gets your career.

Now, I’m in a really tough bind because there’s almost no one who has the same background as me. For me, it’s always a concession no matter who I work with and that’s just something I need to deal with, but make it as easy as possible for the two of you to really understand each other right. [27:06.2]

Then the third pointer is to find someone who has personal experience. If you’re looking for help with relationships, find someone who has a personal experience with marriage. I’ve discovered that there are guys coming to me who have tried out relationship coaches who aren’t even in a relationship when we go and look at kind of trying to figure out, Where are you coming from? Where did you get these ideas or these frameworks? I look up the names they’ve suggested and I’m shocked to find that there are these relationship coaches who are just now getting a girlfriend, who are young guys in their thirties, who actually have no experience with marriage.

If you would like to be in a successful relationship, the bare minimum is to find and to work with someone who has personal experience with a successful relationship, up to the point in which you meet them, right? That’s important, in addition to their own relationship, to be able to have them help many, many others with their relationships. [28:04.0]

The most important thing is their day-to-day lived experience. Look for that that they’re living it, that they’re not just getting it from theory off a textbook or off some training course or something like that. When it comes to coaching, which is different from just therapy, there are lots of mail-order coaches. Mail-order therapy is a lot harder to find. There’s a lot more care around therapy training and who can qualify for the therapy training and get this certifications and so forth and registrations and all of that.

Then if you’re already in any of those Western countries, I think there are five Western countries and actually have licensing at the government level, which is you have to understand that’s unusual in the world. Those who live in these countries have a kind of myopia and a kind of parochialism around their experience is the world’s experience, but actually they’re in the minority and these are America, Canada, UK, Australia. Am I missing any? New Zealand. These are the only countries where the government gets involved with licensing. In all the other places in the world, you leave it to the professional boards themselves that do this to issue certifications and so forth. [29:12.5]

Coaching is a lot more of the Wild West, where if you just pay a bunch of money, whatever it is, some thousands, you would just get the certificate for it and you just go through the motions, the hoops. Relationship coaching, unfortunately, is a lot like that. A lot of relationship coaches out there actually don’t have much experience themselves with a successful relationship and they’ve kind of learned it in a cookie-cutter kind of fashion.

If you’re coming out of a divorce or are navigating a current relationship that might end up in a divorce, I think it would be wise for you to find a therapist who has personal experience with divorce as well. An ideal situation would be somebody who has come out of a divorce or he knows how bad it can be and has navigated that, the end of that relationship and the growing out of it, and then also has experienced and is experiencing a successful relationship himself. [30:09.6]

I think that’s important when you’re looking for somebody who can guide you through your own relationship issues. Okay, that’s the third, personal experience with marriage, and then if you’re looking for help with coming out of a divorce, somebody who has experience with successfully navigating a divorce into a new relationship.

The fourth pointer is to look for a therapist, a mentor or guide, who has personal experience with the next stages, not just the next stage coming up, but the next stages. One easy way to do it is just look for a guy who has kids and who has kids who seem to have a good relationship with him or with her, the therapist who has a good relationship with their kids.

Now, you’re not going to be able to figure that out very easily. You can figure out whether they have kids by just asking them. I mean, this is just something to look out for. If they have a blog, a podcast, that sort of thing, you can kind of do your background research on this person. [31:02.8]

But, immediately, they probably will be a lot more private about this and I think that’s very understandable, but if you can get that intel, that will be helpful, too, to just see if they have personal experience with the next stages, maybe if they have grandkids—that would be even better—and their relationship with their kids and that’s something that you can look out for as well. That’s the fourth point.

Then the fifth pointer is to look for a style of therapy or a therapist who has experienced training in experiential therapy, not just talk therapy. What that’s getting at is a therapist who will get you into your emotions and not just stay in your head, debating you intellectually or just teaching you like a lecturer because you can get that from YouTube or a book, which you don’t want to spend your therapy time and money on, on just talk therapy, and the perception that most people in the world have of what therapy is is talk therapy. [31:58.0]

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of publicity around CBT because CBT is the most basic type of therapy. It’s the easiest to learn. You can learn it from a book. It’s the easiest, therefore, to teach youngsters, kids in their twenties who have just come out of undergrad, don’t really have much more life experience, aren’t married yet, haven’t had a divorce yet or haven’t had really any kind of adult trauma really yet, and they’re just want to get into therapy as a career—and so, what are you going to teach them?

It’s hard to teach them experiential because that will require some of their own wisdom, so then it’s just easy to give them a kind of cookie-cutter CBT, where it’s just more of identifying this thought distortions. They call them cognitive distortions. If you’re trained in philosophy, you’re already awesome at CBT.

CBT comes out of Socratic, Platonic dialogues. I mean, it comes out of the kind of examining of your thoughts and looking for irrationality or unsound or illogical thought patterns, or thoughts or conclusions, and just analyzing arguments, really, arguments for or against certain conclusions. If you’re good already at analyzing premises leading to conclusions, arguments, in other words, CBT is really easy. [33:10.8]

I wouldn’t spend too much time or money on talk therapy. Don’t judge the efficacy of psychotherapy based on the efficacy or the effectiveness of talk therapy. Experiential is what gets you into the emotions, and if you are encountering your inner child in your therapy, if you’re closing your eyes and sensing into your psychological parts, that type of work is experiential.

They might also be psychosomatic in the sense of somatic work, where you’re getting involved physically with yourself, like touching parts of yourself. That’s also somatic work. That sounds really weird, “touching parts of yourself,” but it’s hard to explain it with words and not make it sound weird. But there’s a whole other type of therapy that can also be incorporated into experiential therapy, which is somatic. [33:58.5]

Now, the experiential therapy that I recommend the most is IFS therapy and that type of therapy, IFS, and most experiential therapies like Gestalt, even more advanced types of CBT, like third-wave CBT, which is like schema therapy, which does a lot of reparenting work and imagery rescripting and so forth. This is really good for online work. It’s very good for doing over virtual or video calling, through Zoom or some other secure platform, and this means that it opens you up to be able to work with a good therapist that’s not restricted to your geographic location.

As long as the timing works out for you, you can take advantage of the best therapists in the world that you can afford or who have availability, and you can take advantage of that technology, because you’re not supposed to be touching each other. As long as you can see the facial expressions and obviously you can hear them through the audio, and you have a good internet connection, then there’s no reason you can’t get this, a hundred percent of the experience, and the effectiveness and power of therapy through virtual therapy or over Zoom or whatever video call. [35:17.0]

Just keep that in mind. The fifth point is experiential, not just talk therapy. Practicalities of this are taking advantage of the fact that you can do this over the internet, virtually through video call.

Then I’ll just leave you with a couple practicalities for those who are like, Okay, this is what I want to do. I want to try this out. Here’s a first step here. You can go to a directory and I recommend the IFS Therapy Directory. You can literally Google this, the letters I-F-S, IFS therapy directory. The first search result on Google should be the actual directory. You click on that and you can search by place, country, state, and all of that. I would recommend just looking for anyone in the time zone that you’d be comfortable meeting them in, and so maybe you can maybe start with your time zone and then maybe just pick your country and then go from there. [36:06.0]

In the IFS directory, I recommend that you find a therapist who has Level-2 training and above. Certification also helps. Level 3 means you’ve had a training with Richard Schwartz or one of two other people and that’s really what Level 3 is. It doesn’t mean that you’re actually learning much more advanced concepts or trainings. All of the advanced specialty trainings are happening in Level 2. There are many different types of Level-2 training. Level 3 is simply signifying that you’ve had training with one of the founders of the IFS therapy model. Level-2 or above, I recommend that.

Then what will happen is you click on the name of the person and you can also search by availability. It’ll be like red light, green light, yellow, I think. Green is that they are currently taking clients, and if you’ve searched by availability and by your country, or your neighboring region—you can look for neighboring countries if you don’t find anybody in your country—then you can click on the name. [37:01.5]

The name should pull up a small profile that gives you some basic information. It should list a website. You can click on the website of the people that you’re interested in, the therapists you’re interested in, and check them out. Hopefully, the website has a kind of personal statement about what their take is on things and their unique perspectives and trainings, and tell you a bit about them personally. A minority of therapists have podcasts or blogs or written articles that you can read up on, and then through that, just kind of checking them out online. You can kind of get a sense of their background.

You can then run it through the five pointers. What’s their dating background like? How much of their upbringing or their race, culture, society, their career background will help them get you, understand you? What about their personal experience with marriage or divorce, or kids or grandkids? And what are the other modalities of therapy that they’re familiar with or have experience or training in? All of those things you can figure out, generally speaking, from their website or their bios or whatever. [38:03.3]

Then you just simply email three or four, or however many you can get. Generally, you want to pick as many as you can, and then kind of copy and paste the same general email, basically telling them that you are interested in IFS therapy and looking for their availability for a new client, and any kind of other background that you can give in a brief form will be helpful to decide whether to take you on as a client. If they’re good, they probably are going to be in demand. Every time I have referred others to a therapist, very quickly that therapist’s schedule fills up and then he’s on waitlist, so jump on it if they have availability.

Sometimes I have availability, so if you’re interested in working with me, I have a private practice for therapy. You can write to or go to my website. If I am currently listing psychotherapy on there, that probably means I have an opening or two, and you can take advantage of that. [39:02.3]

Sometimes the page to sign up is not connected to my website because I’m not currently taking clients, but you can always email or and inquire into availability and get on the waiting list if it’s full, or, I mean, if my schedule is full.

Okay, those are the practicalities of emailing and checking out the backgrounds of the various people that you’re interested in, and just as a recap, the five pointers are:

  • Look for someone who gets your dating background or your dating goals, and has no moral judgment around that.
  • Also, number two, somebody who understands your race, culture, career, society, upbringing, background.
  • Number three, someone who has personal experience with marriage, and maybe even with divorce, if that’s something that you want help with.
  • Then, number four, find somebody who has personal experience with not just the next stage, but the next several stages beyond where you’re at, so look for somebody who has kids or grandkids and a good relationship with them. [40:00.8]
  • Then, number five, look for somebody who has experience and specialty in experiential therapy, not just talk therapy, who can help you get into your emotions and do your emotional processing, not just intellectualizing and just talking, okay, and just staying in the cognitive. You want to get into the emotional. That’s where the transformation is.

Okay, and just to end off here sharing that story of someone who actually was working with me in an online course and then joined the Platinum Partnership, and his name is Daniel. Daniel had a unique career background, a very high-level professional then moved into an entrepreneurial career, I mean, starting his own businesses.

Between going from a traditional, but very successful professional, he then went into a digital nomad kind of situation where he was—in case you don’t know what that is, it’s working off your computer, but living in really cool places that are generally more affordable—then transitioning into a full-on business that has multiple offices and manufacturing, and it’s a physical product. This is now more of a traditional business he runs. [41:13.8]

Then finding that the therapist that he was getting off the directories just weren’t getting it. They were just spending all this time stumped on just learning about his career moves and not getting into any of the therapy, so just giving him these pointers, I helped him then find someone who really got him, and now the therapist that I recommended to him—from him coming to me frustrated that none of the therapists he personally went out and found were working well with him, and he felt that they were wasting his time and were asking stupid questions—hooking them up with therapist that I thought was good. Now that therapist is fully booked, so I’m not going to be able to refer anyone else to that person. [41:53.1]

But just as an example, there are therapists who are well-meaning, but just because of their upbringing, maybe they spent their entire lives in one town and just had a traditional upbringing in a socioeconomic class or maybe their risk profile is very different from yours. It’s important for somebody to get you at the personal level and professional level, so that there’s less work that that person has to do homework to just understand you and doesn’t have to tend to their own parts in working with you.

Make it as easy for yourself as possible by finding someone who is similar, and then some similar to you, but also someone who is far enough ahead in their personal development that they can guide you through not just to the next stage, but the next several stages.

Okay, so that’s an important set of pointers to hand out. I just want to thank all those who have been sharing their feedback on previous episodes. Thank you so much. If this episode resonated with you and helped you please share it with anyone that you think would benefit from it and leave a rating on Apple Podcasts. That always helps, and I’d love to hear your feedback on any of these episodes, so I look forward to that and interacting with you.

Thank you so much for following along and listening. I really appreciate it. David Tian, signing out. [43:06.7]

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