The importance of choosing the right therapist
When you’re dealing with mental health issues, finding the right therapist can make all the difference.
However, just because a therapist comes highly-recommended doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll provide the right treatment for you—and in many cases, seeing someone who’s a bad fit can do more harm than good.
Not every therapist works for everyone.
Being aware of the warning signs your therapist isn’t right for you, will help you to avoid wasting time, money, and emotional energy on those who don’t deserve it.
Warning signs you are not working with the right therapist
1. Not listening or responding
This is the most obvious one. Therapists need to listen and respond to what you’re saying. An experienced therapist knows how to listen to you without getting caught up in the details of the words you’re choosing. They are looking for the underlying message behind what you’re saying. And they should be able to pick up on the unsaid things and ask the right questions to get you to the next level. If they are clearly not making enough effort to understand you and provide guidance, it’s time to bounce and find someone better.
2. Seeing them stresses you out
While seeing a therapist should be a net positive in a patient’s life, that doesn’t mean sessions will always be stress-free, especially when you’re exploring trauma. That said, if every single session is stressful to the point where you dread going, it’s time to find someone new. Feeling overwhelmingly negative and stressed out about your therapist—and therapy itself—only makes it harder to open up and work toward the goals you’re trying to accomplish.
3. You have concerns about confidentiality
A therapist is legally bound to protect your privacy. He or she should only share confidential information if it is necessary to save a life.
Confidentiality is essential in any patient-doctor one, and that goes doubly for a therapeutic relationship. If you can’t trust your therapist to keep the details of your sessions and your relationship private, there’s no healthy or safe way to continue working together.
4. Talking too much about him or herself
It’s OK for therapists to talk about themselves a little. Sometimes it helps build a strong therapeutic alliance that increases positive results in therapy.
The vast majority of therapy should be about you, though.
It’s important that your treatment remains a one-way street. If your therapist is revealing intimate details about their personal life, complaining about things that happened to them, or talking to you like a friend rather than a client, it’s time to reconsider your relationship.
5. They seem disinterested.
If they’re being adequately professional, your therapist will never share the same kind of interest in your personal problems that a friend would. But that doesn’t mean an air of disinterest is ever appropriate, either. If your therapist seems like they’re not invested—even in a professional capacity—in what you’re discussing with them, it’s time to move on.
6. You leave therapy feeling frustrated
Some therapy sessions are inevitably going to be tough. And working through trauma, grief and anger can be cleansing.
But if you find yourself often leaving a session feeling frustrated or like no progress has been made it can be one of the most obvious signs your therapist isn’t right for you.
At times it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what’s not working out.
Sometimes a therapist just doesn’t bring you out of your shell; other times the whole environment of a therapist’s office and demeanor can somehow make you depressed.
it’s vital that you pay attention to how a therapy session leaves you afterward.
If you’re walking out with a knot in your stomach, it’s time to start searching for a new therapist.
7. Your therapist makes negative comments
Nobody is perfect, not even your therapist. Nonetheless, if they are making negative comments it’s time to think about changing your therapist.
You should never feel judged by your therapist. If you do, then it’s a sign that you might need to find another one right away.
At the same time, it’s important not to understand that your therapist will occasionally say something strange.
The problem is when it becomes common or starts to seriously affect your relationship and makes you realize they’re not right for you.
8. You’re experiencing communication issues.
Being able to talk to each other is crucial. It’s a troubling sign if your therapist is talking too much or not at all. Your psychologist should pay attention to what you want to get out of therapy, and be able to communicate with you so you can accomplish that,
9. Show insensitivity to your culture, religion, orientation, race, age, etc.
The need for therapists to be sensitive to personal, cultural, and religious backgrounds is important. If a therapist isn’t able to respect your traditional customs, it can damage your trust and hinder your progress.
10. There just isn’t chemistry.
It’s important to feel a true connection with your therapist. It’s the secret ingredient to being able to accept constructive criticism from your therapist without feeling attacked and allows you to fully open up.
Signs that apply to online therapy
These signs apply more to online or telephone counseling
1. Looking or clicking around their desktop or phone
During a video chat, you can see a therapist’s eyes wander constantly if they are multitasking while chatting with you. It’s a sign of disrespect.
2. Too much background noise, not enough privacy
If there is a ton of background noise during your scheduled live video chat, it shows the therapist didn’t care or wasn’t organized enough to find a quiet space for the chat. Environments like this risk other people hearing what the therapist is saying. This can violate your privacy.
3. They are unresponsive
If you aren’t getting a timely response from your therapist, then you are likely to grow frustrated. If you find yourself in this situation, consider looking for a different therapist who is more responsive to your communication.
4. Their messages are full of errors
If you are using a texting or email counseling option and find that your therapist is sending you messages that are full of typos or grammatically incorrect, then it’s a safe bet that they aren’t putting effort into your counseling sessions. You want a therapist whois taking the time to respond to you and paying attention to you. If you aren’t getting that, then you are wasting both your time and your money.
Finding the right therapist: get the help you need
If you’ve had a bad experience with a therapist, don’t hesitate to call it quits with them. Just because therapy with one person doesn’t work does not mean that there is a problem with you. Not every therapist is going to be the right fit for you.
It can be discouraging when you put yourself out there to get help and don’t receive what you expected.
But there are good therapists. Don’t let one lousy therapist ruin your opinion of therapy as a whole. Be encouraged to look for another one, and don’t give up until you make a great connection with a therapist that can help you improve your life for the better.
You might consider trying online therapy. Research shows that electronically delivered therapy is as effective as in person therapy.