by Brian Baez, Caregiver Liaison and Executive Coordinator
It can be a little like a first-date. Is he/she going to like me? What if we don’t click? Do I have an out? These may be some of the questions that those who are looking for an aphasia therapist might be asking.
Our first experience with a speech therapist was at the hospital’s outpatient clinic. I don’t know how often she encountered aphasia in her day-to-day practice, but it seemed to us that it was not very often. Her frustrations would mount as Jason was unable to complete tasks or make progress towards goals. Jason would come home defeated, anxious, and stressed out at the thought of having to go back and endure another session. It was evident that these two were not a good match. After only 10 sessions, roughly 3 weeks, she discharged Jason from therapy for not making gains. He was still unable to say any coherent words at that time.
But just as quickly as Jason knew that he and his first therapist were not a good fit, he knew he met his match when he met his therapists at The Aphasia Center. It could have been any number of reasons, not to mention the expertise of everyone at the center. He and the therapy team were closer in age, and while they pushed him really hard, they never got frustrated when he had difficulties. Their no-nonsense yet fun and personal approach was in line with how Jason used to run his high school classroom. His progress was the proof that chemistry between client and therapist is an important element.
Finding a therapist who you feel comfortable with is going to be a major factor in how you approach your own recovery. I/we have been on both sides of this, and I can tell you first-hand how much of a difference it makes. Knowing you are in safe, competent, and thoughtful hands will help you bring your own guard down, allowing you to make the needed mistakes in session in order to make progress.