Comments on
10 Signs You Need A Different Therapist


 

There are some circumstances where a client should find a new therapist. And by therapist I mean a mental health therapist. I understand how difficult it is being a client in a new therapeutic relationship. There’s all that talking; bringing up the past, bringing up the present, talking about fears for the future. It’s hard. It’s tiring. And when you think you’ve shared it all… your therapist wants clarification. They ask you questions because in order to understand you properly, in order to tailor a treatment approach to you specifically, they need to know you as an individual. Each person has strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. And your therapist should be very sensitive to those.

Every therapeutic relationship is different. Some clients like a direct, confronting approach; others prefer a casual talk-therapy approach. It all depends on the client. But some therapists make outright mistakes in sessions. Sometimes they’re aware of it, sometimes they’re not. Mostly, therapists stick to their ethical guidelines, seek supervision in difficult cases and keep up-to-date with industry standards. This is a good thing. Regardless, each therapist has their own approach to providing therapy and for you, the client, sometimes you need to make a decision about what kind of therapy or therapist, is right for you.

So to avoid investing all that time into the wrong therapist. Here are some warning signs your therapist is not a good fit for you. Some of these are fun, and I hope you’ll take them as such:

21 thoughts on “10 Signs You Need A Different Therapist

  • September 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

    What a great article and guide for clients! The only thing I would disagree with is creating the treatment plan in the first 1 to 2 sessions. I will often ask my Clients what their goal for therapy is in the first session, which I agree is essential. But often the intake process, especially with couples, can take a few sessions. All goals are not often present until all areas in the relationship are reviewed. I have found that initial goals can change once all areas of the relationship are reviewed. A conflict that intially seemed to be about parenting could actually be about conflict management or communication. I often complete the treatment plans in the fourth session when a clearer picture of the relational problem is present.

    Reply
    • September 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Hey Lyndsey,

      Yes, I agree that the process of setting goals can be delayed until the clients have been properly reviewed. As long as the therapist mentions that goals will be set and worked towards and that happens some time during the future, that’s all that matters. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

    That’s a great list. Thank you. 🙂

    What if my T takes a Psychodynamic approach but I would prefer/need a more present based approach (or at least a mix of the two)? What should I do? Can I just ask my T to change his approach? T seams to think I am wrong about needing a present based approach. But I know I have at least some insight into what caused my issue and I know (at least some of it) is because of the present.

    Reply
  • April 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Thank you, Ms. Coulter, for this insightful list.

    I have had only 2 sessions with my new therapist and am going through a chaotic time in my life. At my 2nd session she told me in no uncertain terms that someone close to me “had to go.” I am not certain that I can or should send this person away.

    Is it overstepping her bounds to tell me and warn me severely that I should force someone I care about out of my house and into the street?

    I want to do what’s best for my family and for me but this seems like too much to ask after only meeting with me for two hours.

    Thank you,
    Lauren Andrews (pseudonym)

    Reply
  • April 23, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Hi, I would like to know. Is it normal for a psycologist to start any subject without asking you first or whithout gettting any background info from you? He did most of the talking and he made me feel very uncomfortable, taking about sex. Asking me questions like “does your husband masturbate in front of you? Do you want to help him? Do you masturbate infront of him? Do you want him to help you? Do you have oral sex?”

    I feel violated and upset with myself for not just getting up and walking out. I dont know what to do about this. It was my first time at a psycologist and I didnt know what to expect, but I so badly wanted to talk to somebody about imporntat issues.

    Reply
    • April 25, 2013 at 2:01 am

      Stay away from that man he sounds like he’s trouble. Someone who is doing things properly would not ask all sorts of questions like that and in that way.

      Reply
    • August 12, 2016 at 10:39 am

      I would report him. That sounds awful.

      Reply
  • August 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Telling consumers to question their therapists could be highly dangerous advice. Therapists can be exceedingly fragile and have enormous god complexes. They’re accustomed to being blameless and exempt from criticism. When a therapist’s authority is questioned, he can have an extremely vicious, toxic response.

    There are many paths to growth outside of therapy. The growth happens in living life anyway, not yowling in the consulting room.

    Reply
    • January 4, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Would not want to hurt a therapists ego. Better to say less, cannot speak up sometimes. They might like you less if you speak up for yourself. If a therapist cannot handle any criticsm he might consider that he needs therapy. A therapist who cannot cope and has any addiction could be very problematic. I saw a gr eat list of what to look for. It said look for sign of drug use. They could be high while in couselling. their office.

      Reply
    • February 20, 2018 at 8:12 am

      This is so true sadly for many! One called me a victim when having marriages issues, my husband said nothing about it. She seemed to intentionally triangulatie herself in the spotlight and she made me look very inferior to her. I have survived tremendous abuse, late stage cancer and a husband runnng around in me. It scares me she is “helping people” another told me how to think and then shamed me, another keep reading her text messages. Too many bad T I rather just try to read online to help myself.

      Reply
  • April 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Some good guidance here, and some that is not quite on target. Discomfort, infatuation, irritation etc. with the therapist is often, I would say usually, a result of transference, which is exactly what should happen in therapy. That is not a signal to leave, but rather provides the opportunity for closer examination of the patient’s internal process.

    Reply
    • May 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Responding to someone who said go back when there is transference. Irritation, annoyance infatuation. Go back for more. If you are qute aware and very lucky you could get help. If you are human and you miss something you might get much more than you came for. Nobody attends therapy just to stroke a man’s ego. (or woman’s ego). What do you get out of feeling so uncomfortable you are almost creeped out. Are you supposed to pay good money to tell the thearpist you are almsot attracted to him but think he is ugly? That sounds like a mature discussion!! For $80-150 hr I”d be very happy for someone to tell me I am starting to look old and mature. Bring it on!!!

      Reply
  • May 22, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Eight sessions into therapy my therapist didn’t believe what I told her. She said sometimes later ppl come back and say that wasn’t the truth. Since I’m not a drug user I told her that. She was surprised, assuming drug use is more common than it is actually. My point isn’t about drug use. My point is that I wanted to help a relative who uses often and I cannot relate to this young relative. Therapists make too many assumptions based on their experience, what they hear. or some other source. A true professional will not assume most humans do or don’t do certain behaviors.

    Reply
  • June 28, 2015 at 9:52 am

    My husband’s therapist has suggested from the start that he keep his therapy, just the fact that he was beginning to see one a secret from his wife. What are your thoughts on that type of behavior.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Why do you think this is? I would ask myself this question first?
      Do you approve of him going? Why? Why not?
      Why is it upsetting?
      If you can’t answer why, or it is not out of jealousy or control. Then I would worry..
      It’s a well known fact that there are many many bad therapists out there who do things they shouldn’t be doing. However, you can’t stop that or control that.
      My guess is that your fearful of him cheating on you or revealing personal things about you to his t.. Things you consider personal?

      Reply
  • February 24, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I need some advice: I recently did a background check on the psychologist that I’ve been going to and found out that he was arrested for drunken driving about a year ago. He doesn’t know that I know this about him. I’m wondering if I should say anything or if I should just stop going to see him and find a new therapist.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    There is some serious misinformation in this piece. Goodness. If something about your therapist irritates you that much then you should be interested in that, not taking it as a cue to change therapist! You say: “. Something about your therapist annoys you or distracts you so much that you can’t focus on therapy.”

    What do you think therapy is? Describing a problem and receiving advice? You think being annoyed by your therapist can’t be part of the therapy? If someone has that strong a reaction they should try to explore it. And everything that happens in the room is therapy. You can’t be distracted from therapy – it’s all therapy. Which you seem to have confused with life coaching.

    Secondly, it’s completely fine not to set goals. Again, the idea that all clients require goal-setting suggests you have confused therapy with life coaching.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2016 at 10:43 am

    My husband is going to a sex T to find out more about becoming a woman. I’m not on board but what can I do? I’m trying to be supportive and I’m doing all I can to help him even though I don’t like it. I come to terms with it and I’m hoping he can be happy dressing up and not actually become a woman. My daughter is very upset. She is 18 and I fear she will run away. I’m trying. I love him. We been married 22 years.

    Reply
    • August 3, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Andrea, my first and best advice to you, is to pray constantly about this situation; and seek out marital counseling from your religious institution or a *good* marriage counselor if you’re not religious. After that, here’s my second suggestion and other thoughts about your situation. When the officiant pronounced you as “man and wife”, *that* was the assumed parameter in your marriage. Any attempt by him to change that reality after the fact, might negate your vows and render them unbinding. I would check with a marriage lawyer *and* with an officiant of the faith you belong to. You can still love him as a person, and can be supportive of him even if you separate or divorce (as he’s most likely not going to be able to still function, or feel interiorly, or behave like a male.) It is not fair of him – Or of yourself, to *expect* you to be alright with remaining married to a completely different person than to whom you exchanged solemn vows! You’ll see in time this is probably *not* just “a phase” he can pull himself out of. If you try your best to remain best friends, it might be possible that you will have his support as a best friend after you separate & then divorce. If he’s on board with this, maybe you can explain to him how you have built your *whole world* around him and your marriage, *exclusively*, and how since he *promised* to fulfill that role to you in your vows; that maybe he can continue to be supportive of you as well and be there for you as a *best* friend would, through all the many years to come. I have NEVER advocated divorce, (unless there is abuse), since I am a married Catholic woman myself, I have to say, my advice to you may or may not be supported by your faith institution, but I’m hedging my bets that I’m 100% correct, that by changing his gender, he is hence, making your marriage vows null and void. Good luck and God Bless You! You have a long and difficult road ahead of you, because things will probably never go back to your former “normal”. It’s possible he’s not even attracted to women any longer, but hopefully you can both come to an understanding as *true* best friends for life, supporting and helping each other out through the very difficult and painful (for you), changes and years ahead.

      Reply
  • August 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I worked in health care for over twenty years. Began experiencing health issues,Tremendous stress on the job, and finally was diagnosed with PTST, Major depression disorder, anxiety, finally panic disorder!
    As a nurse My clients were my main priority, I found total fulfillment in the face of many challenges in short staffing and other budget cutbacks.
    In 2016 I found myself in therapy, which has helped me tremendously. This year I was assigned to a PTSD specialist, who actually told me she doesn’t have time to spend on the phone for preapproval of medication that is vital to my recovery. So I will simply look for a more compassionate doctor, that has time to help me navigate the health manage care insurance!
    When you find your health care provider appearing to need therapy and medication management more than you, get out of that unhealthy relationship ASAP! Find a competent provider! Save yourself! ❤️

    Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 11:11 am

    On Feb. 6th 2018, my daughters boyfriend was let out of jail. He has come my home an pulled out a knife, slashed our tires an broken in to my home. This guy beat my daughter. I’m diagnosed with depression, social anxiety an PTSD. I needed to be seen the day he got out. My therapist was unavailable so I called to see if someone could see me. My next session my therapist was 15 minutes late, wouldn’t look at me, playing with her phone, I think she was recording the session. So I said what is going on, your ignoring me. She yelled how dare you go to my boss, then says I don’t know who you are an I’ve been with her a year. Then says you must have a brain block, do you even want to get better. I should terminate you. As you know with depression comes personal hygiene problems an she said you look clean to me an I hadn’t showered in 4 days. Then she threatened to mess with my paperwork. The one person I trusted had hurt me. I went a week not knowing if she was still angry. I haven’t slept in 4 nights, anxious an depressed with my blood pressure through the roof. I can’t stop replaying that in my head. Do I report her or see how she treats me this Thursday? If I go to her boss she said she would create havoc with my disability.

    Reply
 

Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *