Seven Signs You Need to Find a New Therapist
I am always sad to hear of an individual or couple giving up on important help after one or two bad sessions with a therapist. If you are in therapy now or considering it in the future, it is important to not only choose a professional who is the right fit for you, but also change if the therapeutic relationship has come to a natural end. Therapists have personality quirks and are unique in their specific approaches. You deserve one who is qualified to meet your specific needs. Changing therapists is sometimes needed for a variety of reasons.
Here are signs that you may need to consider finding a new therapist:
- Connection is missing.
As with any relationship, a connection between the therapist and client needs to develop. This is important. If you do not feel a professional connection or trust starting to build between you and your therapist after several sessions, it might be good to consider trying someone else.
- No improvement.
Some issues take longer to solve or learn to manage than others do, but there should be some improvement over time. If you see a therapist for several months and do not feel any progress or your situation has devolved, consider a different approach with a different therapist.
- Lack of boundaries.
Your therapist should not talk to you in depth about his or her own personal life or problems and should share nothing personal without an apparent therapeutic purpose. A therapist who wants to have a personal relationship with you – friendship, romance, even just on social media – is showing a lack of appropriate professional boundaries. If you cannot seem to get a word in during your session, you definitely need a new therapist.
If your therapist takes calls or texts during sessions or if they are consistently late or canceling often, it shows that they are not respectful of you or your time. Not only is this rude, but you are paying them for a service. You should expect the full attention of a therapist during your session. If your therapist is clearly distracted, change to someone else.
- Feeling shamed and judged.
Feeling guilty because you are doing or have done something that conflicts with your belief system is normal and appropriate. However, therapists are people too and have their own values and belief systems, and these may be in conflict with yours. If you find that your therapist is making you feel ashamed of issues that are not shameful in your belief system, there is a problem. For example, a therapist who judges you for being gay, having had an abortion, or being a person with substance use disorder (in or out of recovery), is out of line. If you feel constantly judged by your therapist, you need a new one.
- Not qualified or a specialist.
Some therapists claim to be able to treat a wide variety of issues and there are those who are truly generalists. But if you have a particular presenting issue that is of concern to you – addiction, gender identity, sexuality, infidelity, childhood trauma, veterans’ issues, etc. – find someone who specializes in your issue. Specialized training, certification and experience will help your therapist best meet your particular needs.
- Trust yourself.
In the end, you need to trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about a therapist or question their ability, find a new one.