I had been let down before, so building up the confidence to let my guard down again was difficult. After meeting a few times, I thought they would have been able to see things from my point of view. However, after I realized we didn’t have the connection I was looking for, I changed my therapist and moved on to something better for me.
There can be a lot of hesitation, anxiety, and second-guessing surrounding the decision to leave your therapist. Albeit cheesy, it is important to trust your gut, as you know yourself best, and if the relationship isn’t going well, your body will tell you. Psychology Today published an article in 2017 detailing the ins and outs of gut reactions, reasoning that it can be beneficial to follow this physical reaction (Flora, 2017). Yet, deciding to trust your gut and break off the relationship with your provider can be tough.
Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Determine Whether or Not It’s Time to Switch Your Therapist
Does My Therapist Know Why I Am Seeking Therapy?
Your therapist won’t be able to read your mind, so make sure you can give them some context on how you’re feeling. They can only know what you tell them, so be as honest as you can. If you feel as though your therapist is not understanding your motives, this could be an indicator of incompatibility.
Do I Feel Comfortable Being Honest with My Therapist?
It’s normal to feel like you have something to tell your therapist but aren’t yet comfortable doing so. Making sure you’re able to relay this to your therapist though is important in determining your compatibility. Here are a few phrases you can tell your therapist to be as honest as you can while remaining in your comfort zone until the time comes when you trust them enough to tell them everything you’ve been meaning to:
“I have something I want to discuss with you, but I’m not ready to tell you yet.”
“Something you said resonated with me, but I’d rather wait until another day to tell you why.”
“I want to tell you about something that happened in my life, but I need some encouragement before I do so because I haven’t been able to tell my whole story aloud yet.”
In response to these statements, your therapist should be patient as well as motivating. There should be times when you feel pushed for more answers but never pressured into saying something you’re not ready to say. If you don’t feel comfortable after saying these things, you should consider changing therapists.
Is It Taking a Long Time to Feel Comfortable with My Therapist?
You may not feel a connection with your therapist during your first meeting, but if you do, that’s wonderful! As with any other relationship, links can take a while to form. It is essential to know when your relationship with your therapist isn’t progressing, so you can change therapists to another provider as soon as possible.
Do I Have an Identity So Important to Me That I Only Trust Someone Who Shares This Identity to Be Able to Help Me Get to Where I Want to Be?
Many therapists can assist in situations that are not culturally relevant to their personal lives. This can be related to gender, race, sexuality, familial history, socioeconomic status, religion, etc… However, you may consider finding a therapist that has a competence surrounding the culture related to your specific situation, whether through life experience or a focus in their education. At Clarity Clinic, our therapists list their areas of expertise in their bio, so you may be able to find someone who first-hand knows what you’re going through.
Am I Taking My Therapist’s Advice Just to Make Them Proud of Me?
Wanting to make your therapist proud of your progress is great, but it is most important to do what is best for you. If your therapist is suggesting tactics that don’t feel successful when you implement them, let your therapist know. It is more important to implement the tactics you see fostering the most growth in yourself as opposed to the suggestions your therapist has that may not be working. Explain to your therapist why you chose a different tactic instead of the one they suggested, with examples of growth and reasons why these tactics are/aren’t working. This will make them proud!
A 2013 study on patient-therapist relationships found that the majority of the causes for termination of care were due to therapeutic alliance, client dissatisfaction, and pre-therapy preparation (Roos & Werbart, 2013). To prevent therapy dropout, it is important to build a strong alliance with your therapist (with an understanding of a common goal) and to prepare before your first appointment by acknowledging what you are hoping to gain from therapy.
When considering someone’s need for therapy, at Clarity Clinic we understand the importance of building a trusting relationship with someone. We also understand that the inability to form a meaningful bond with your therapist may be neither party’s fault, just as with friendships, romantic relationships, and other professional relationships; you may just be incompatible. Our website detailed explanations, written by our therapists, of their beliefs, specialties, and interests. If you have any questions about special accommodations, we are happy to help you find your match!
Written by: Katibeth Blalock
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.