Monday, June 15, 2020

Is It Time To Find A New Therapist?

therapy, mental health, find a new therapist, mental health providers, how to get help

Recently I was reading some comments on a friend's Facebook wall and I noticed someone mention that they had been working with their therapist for six years, and felt some sort of loyalty to that provider. 

But the tone, and the comments? Left me (and other therapists) thinking that perhaps this relationship was not the best for this person. 

And that got me thinking.

And thinking. 

And thinking some more. 

How many people out there are seeing their mental health providers for what might just be too long?

I would liken it to your hairstylist. 

I know many people who are very loyal to their hairstylist.

They feel that to go see someone else would be cheating on them.

I've actually heard the words said. 

I've heard of people switching salons to avoid coming face-to-face with their last stylist. 

I don't have that kind of loyalty, mostly because, well - have you seen my hair? I don't exactly have a stylist like that. 

But that's besides the point. 

Would you return to your stylist repeatedly if they guided you to a style you hated?

Would you go back more than once if they messed up your hair to the point of unfixable? 

Probably not. 

So. Why would you remain loyal to a therapist who has given you all they have for you? 

Why would you consider seeing them, week after week, month after month, year after year - when their words don't seem to be helping you lead yourself anywhere? 

Would you? 

Have you? 

Are you? 

I'd like to remind you that it's okay to find yourself a new provider. 

And I encourage you to consider these five things when you're trying to decide if it's time to make a change. 

Five Signs It's Time To Find A New Therapist

1. You dread going to your sessions. 

Granted, early on in therapy we can find ourselves wishing we didn't have to go. These are the days where we need it the most. We fear our therapist is going to call us out on something. Dredge something up we're not sure we're ready to talk about. But that's not the same as actual dread. Feeling like you'd rather do anything else besides go to their office, take their Zoom or phone call, whatever that feeling is? Speak it. Acknowledge it. There's a reason for it, and you're not going to benefit from forcing yourself to go when you don't want to talk to this provider. 

2. You repeatedly walk out of sessions with no action items. 

You don't have to have a list of things to do or think about every single time you leave your therapist's office. But if you haven't come up with new things to focus on for - well - a long long time? It's probably time to let go. Your therapist should be supporting you, giving you space, but also, offering you ways to help you guide yourself towards your goals. You can't reach them if you're not taking steps towards them. 

3. They're flat out unsupportive.

It's one thing to find yourself facing a challenging therapist. Many of us ARE that way. We're challenging you to find your best self. We're bringing you to those points where you may hate us for what we've said to you - but usually you'll find your way through that and realize where we headed is where you needed to go. So. If your therapist is not supportive? It's time to find a new one. Period. 

4. You're going in circles. 

Again, this is something we all experience. As clients. As therapists. Sure. But if you find that you can't break the circle, you can't find a way to shatter that box that holds you in? Make a change. 

5. You don't like them.

This sounds like the most obvious of reasons, doesn't it? But this should probably have been the first one I pointed out. Because this can happen right off the bat. If you go to a therapist and immediately have a bad feeling, or if you are quite certain, after leaving their office, hanging up the phone, or whatever type of communication you just had, that you never want to talk to that person again? Please. Don't go back. 

You're under no obligation to do so. Every therapist knows they won't be a perfect match for every client they meet. And that's okay. 

Because YOU have to be comfortable. YOU have to feel like you're okay with talking to this person. YOU have to feel heard. And YOU need to know that it's right. Because if it's not - you're not going to get what you need out of it. Don't go out of obligation. Don't go out of worry. Concern. It's not your job to protect your therapist's feelings. They'll be fine. I promise. 

Have I missed anything? Let me know if you've had this kind of turning point with your mental health provider and how you broke through it. What did you do when you realized it was time to move on? Are you in that space currently and find you need help processing? Give me a shout. I'm here to listen. 

For more information on mental health, consider these posts:

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a therapist, but I will say I have changed a primary care provider when my needs weren't heard or met. I've also left dental practices for similar reasons. And, no, I'm not an "Elaine." (Seinfeld reference)

    I have also changed hairdressers. If you mess up my curls, forget you. In the past 15 years, I've left two hairdressers I had for more than a few years because they became lazy with my hair and messed it up. And, one was the person who fixed what the other did.

    I guess you didn't need to know all of that...



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