It’s hard to know when it’s time to find a new therapist. Progress isn’t always immediate or tangible, and the point of therapy is addressing uncomfortable things. Different therapists and approaches work for different people, but here are a few signs your therapist isn’t working for you.
1. You aren’t making any progress
It takes time for therapy to make a significant impact on anyone’s life, so patience is important. But if you feel absolutely no improvement after several sessions or if you feel that you’ve reached your potential with this therapist (sometimes after a few months or few years), then it may be time to seek out someone else, perhaps with a different specialty or style.
2. You’re moving
Telehealth may be an option, but, if you are moving out of state, different licensing requirements are likely to make it difficult to continue meeting with your therapist. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, several states have temporarily allowed out-of-state therapists to be reimbursed by insurance in some cases, but it’s not known if this will continue.
If you like your current therapist, ask if they can refer you to someone new or offer advice on what to look for in your next therapist.
3. Your therapist doesn’t seem invested in your therapy
Does your therapist consistently have trouble remembering things you’ve said? Or maybe they don’t give you the chance to talk much? If so, consider finding a new one. You are taking the time to divulge intimate information about yourself, and you deserve to have a therapist that makes you feel heard and valued.
4. Something’s just...off
If you’ve given your therapist a real chance, and you just aren’t connecting, it’s ok to seek out a different one. You should work with someone who makes you comfortable, but pushes you to make progress. Even if you can’t place why your therapy isn’t working, if you know it isn’t, it’s time to try something new.
Ending a relationship with a therapist is like a breakup. You may not know if you’re making the right decision, and it can be overwhelming to think about starting over.
Remember, you are taking a brave step in taking control of your mental health. If you’re comfortable, be honest and direct with your therapist. By voicing your concerns, they have a chance to learn from your feedback, and can even help you find a therapist who is better suited to meet your specific needs.
5. There’s a lack of professional boundaries
If your therapist is too personal, talks about their own life, or seems overly emotionally invested in your life, they may not be the best person to offer you objective advice going forward. Professionalism and boundaries are key to the therapeutic relationship.
6. Your therapist breaks ethical guidelines
This is non-negotiable. If your therapist violates any ethical boundary, you should not see them. It’s not likely to happen, but if you experience any sort of confidentiality breach, discrimination, or any other ethics violation, contact your state licensure department.
(2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org website: https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index
Will, L. (2017). How long will it take for treatment to work? Retrieved from https://www.apa.org website: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/length-treatment