7 Signs That it’s Time to Change Your Therapist
Just as we go to the doctor when we are physically ill, we may decide we need help from a therapist to combat issues like anxiety or depression or to get advice on our relationships with others. But finding the right therapist may not be as easy as it sounds. It’s a very personal choice, and a therapist who is highly recommended by others may still not be right for you. Should you change counsellors at any time? Here are 7 good reasons why finding another therapist could be the best solution for you.
1. You Don’t Like the Person
It’s impossible to open up to someone you really don’t like. Your relationship with a therapist should be one of trust and mutual respect. If you don’t feel respected, or struggle to like and respect your therapist in return, then it’s time to start searching for a new one. Connection is a very personal thing, so don’t feel bad if others are surprised at your decision. It’s your emotional and mental health, and choosing the right person to work with you on it is entirely up to you.
2. You’re Not Reaching Your Goals or the Goals are Unclear
Nobody attends therapy just for fun. While reaching your final goal may need to take place in stages, your therapist should be clear about your treatment plan and what it is meant to achieve. There should be reachable milestones to strive towards and celebrate. In short, there must be progress. If there’s no progress, or you aren’t even sure what you’re supposed to be working toward, your therapist is not doing his or her job and it’s time to move on.
3. Therapy is too Impersonal – Or Inappropriately Personal
There’s no doubt that striking a balance between professionalism and interpersonal connection can be difficult for therapists. But you’re on the receiving end of the balancing act, and if it isn’t working for you, it may well be time to move on. Whether your therapist seems too cold and impersonal, or is making you uncomfortable by attempting to assume too close a relationship, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to talk to them about it or just move on.
4. You Have Difficulty Being Honest With Your Therapist
Whether it’s because of your therapist’s reactions toward you when you are open and honest, or whether you feel too intimidated to be open in the first place, therapy won’t work for you if you don’t feel able to share your inner feelings. If you don’t, it’s time to try another therapist. For those who simply find a therapist’s office environment too intimidating, there are great telehealth options out there. It might be worth a try!
5. You Need More Specialized Help
Sometimes a generalist therapist isn’t enough to help you to progress against a specific challenge. For example, if you have an eating disorder like bulimia, it may be best to visit a therapist who specializes in this area. If your therapist seems pleasant enough but seems at something of a loss with how to help you progress, it may be better for you to seek out one who understands the issues you want to work on better.
6. Your Therapist Spends More Time talking Than Listening
You’re looking for a therapist, not a motivational speaker. Yes, some motivational talk is just fine, but if you feel you’re getting talked to more than you’re being allowed to talk, your therapist may have a few issues of his or her own. After all, therapy is about you, and you should be given sufficient opportunity to express yourself. A therapist with an overly large ego will be too focussed on him or herself and insufficiently focussed on you. Of course, if you tend to be naturally reticent, a bit of talk might help you to come out of your shell, but you’ll know when you’re not being given enough space to have a proper discussion.
7. Your Therapist is Inflexible and Doesn’t Adjust to Your Needs
When working with people, therapists need to keep an open mind and be able to adjust to individual needs. A therapist who has a “recipe,” and refuses to adjust it in the light of your unique situation will be less helpful to you than one who listens to you and adapts their thinking accordingly. When this happens, you’ll notice that your input isn’t really getting taken on board. Your therapist has found a “box” to put you in and doesn’t want to accept that he or she may need to adjust that view. Get another therapist who understands the principle of flexibility in psychotherapy.
Sometimes, it’s Just a Matter of Getting a Fresh Perspective
While skipping from one therapist to another without good reason could limit your progress, you might find that after a time, you’re ready to try a new approach and get a fresh perspective. Ultimately, your choice of therapist remains just that: your choice. If you feel it’s time to ring the changes, it probably is.