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Is This Normal? When to Leave Your Therapist

Hannah Hopper, LPC

Some signs of a bad therapist are easier to spot than others. If your therapist is shaming you or insulting you, that’s a good indication to find someone else. And when looking out for the warning signs, it’s important to remember that therapists aren’t perfect; they’re people too and will make mistakes like everyone else. If there’s something your therapist is doing that’s bothering you, consider talking to them about it to see if there’s something you two can work on together. If you and your therapist are a good fit in many other areas, it’d be a bummer to leave them over something that could’ve been resolved. 

What to look out for: 

  1. Talking too much about him or herself 

It’s okay for therapists to share some personal details about themselves, and it can even help strengthen the relationship for better results in therapy. But if lots of the conversation revolves around your therapist and their experiences, or the information they share makes you uncomfortable, this is worth looking into. 

  1. Pushing political or spiritual beliefs 

Part of a therapist’s job is understanding your beliefs, and the experiences that have shaped these beliefs. This means respecting your view on something, even if they don’t personally align with it. 

  1. Rushing a diagnosis or over diagnosing 

Not every issue you bring to therapy needs a clinical label to go with it. Rushing a diagnosis can be dehumanizing (you’re a person first, not a label), or may lead to an incorrect diagnosis if the therapist hasn’t taken time to get to know you more. Unless you ask for a diagnosis right away, it shouldn’t be part of your first few sessions. 

  1. Pushing you to talk about something you aren’t ready for yet

As the client, it’s your choice as to decide what you talk about and when you talk about it. Even if your therapist believes there are certain things that would be helpful for you to work through, it’s important that you get to talk about them if and when you’re ready. It takes time to build trust, and your therapist needs to respect your timing. 

  1. Telling you what to do

It’s okay for a therapist to share thoughts and opinions with you when you ask, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re being ordered around. Therapy is designed to empower you and give you the tools you need to make decisions for your life. Telling you exactly what to do changes this dynamic and can take away your ability to choose how to move forward. 

  1. Trying to be your friend

Your therapist shouldn’t try to be your friend and hang out with you outside of therapy. Therapy is designed to be a place where you’re interacting with someone objective, and a friendship can get in the way of this. 

If you have encountered some of these things and tried to address them with your therapist but noticed no change, it might be time to move on. There are therapists out there who will fit your needs and preferences, and will be open to talking through issues you encountered previously. If you still want to work on your mental health, it’s worth putting in the effort to find the right fit.

If you’re ready to take that first step and schedule a counseling session with Symmetry Counseling, you can browse our therapist bios to find someone that’s the right fit for you. We also have intake specialists to find a therapist that specializes in what you’re wanting to work through. You can also contact Symmetry Counseling today by calling 312-578-9990 to get matched with one of our therapists.

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