It can be intimidating and overwhelming to start seeing a therapist while facing doubts about whether or not you’ve found the right fit. While it’s almost impossible to get results after a single session, sometimes an appointment with a therapist causes people to be concerned about whether their sessions are going anywhere.
What if seeing your therapist makes you feel uncomfortable? What if they rushed you into a therapy intervention before fully understanding your problem? What if they judge your actions instead of offering constructive criticism, and you don’t feel a sense of trust when you’re with them?
If you find that you are constantly feeling uncomfortable or unfulfilled in your therapy sessions, it may be worth considering whether or not your therapist is the right fit for you.
In this article, we will explore the signs that you may have chosen the wrong therapist and what to do if you find yourself in this situation. We will also give tips on how to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable in general.
How to know if you have the wrong therapist?
Finding the right therapist is an important step in the process of seeking mental health treatment. It’s important to work with someone who you feel comfortable with and trust, as the therapeutic relationship is a key factor in the effectiveness of therapy.
However, it’s also possible to end up working with a therapist who is not the right fit for you. But how can you determine whether it’s worth it or not to continue working with your therapist?
Let’s discuss things that reliable and trustworthy therapists tend to avoid at all costs during counseling sessions.
Dual or unprofessional relationships
Have you ever noticed that your therapist perceives you as a friend and tries to develop a close personal relationship with you? Even more — you might be feeling like they’re trying to take your relationship to another level if they physically touch you or hug you during tough times.
If that’s the case, you should know that the most obvious warning sign that you may have the wrong therapist. The truth is that ethical therapists will never engage in a dual or unprofessional relationship with their clients.
Keep in mind that dual relationships can take many different forms, such as a therapist who is also a friend, a therapist who is also a family member, or a therapist who has a romantic or sexual relationship with a client. In any case, this might lead to negative consequences, such as negative countertransference, when a therapist redirects their feelings toward a client (Gabbard, 2020). This usually leads to a failure to maintain healthy boundaries and, as a result, ineffective treatment. That’s why developing a dual relationship with a client goes against ethical principles of therapy.
The American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers also outline that is unethical for therapists to have a dual relationship with their clients.
Disclose confidential information
If you’re receiving therapy, you probably understand that maintaining confidentiality is one of the key obligations for all types of therapists. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), confidentiality is an integral part of the code of ethics in psychology. The reason is that the only way to provide a safe space and ensure clients can openly discuss the problems that concern them is to make sure their information is protected. Otherwise, it won’t be easy for clients to reveal private information without anxiety.
Therefore, confidentiality helps to create a safe and trusting environment where clients can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. A therapist has a professional obligation to keep client information private unless there is a risk of harm to the client or others. And disclosing a client’s confidential information without their permission can be a violation of the therapeutic relationship and can erode trust between a therapist and their client.
So, if your therapist doesn’t have a legal right to disclose your information but you notice that they bypass confidentiality, it is important to bring this up with them and address any concerns you have. If you are afraid to address your concerns with your therapist, you can contact their supervisor or practice manager for assistance. Or you may want to consider finding a new therapist.
Doesn’t offer proper service
Therapist competence is a key ethical concern in the field of mental health. It is important for therapists to only provide services that they are qualified to provide and to be honest about their areas of expertise. They should not claim to specialize in certain therapy methods or work with certain populations if they do not have the necessary training and experience. For example, if a therapist claims to help you resolve trauma-related issues while they have only worked on relationship-related problems, they may not be qualified enough to help you resolve your trauma.
Excellent and ethical therapists are continually seeking to improve their skills and to stay up to date with developments in the field. They may take continuing education courses and read relevant literature to stay current and be able to offer the best possible care to their clients.
Therefore, therapist competence is about being honest about one’s skills and limitations and making sure to provide the best possible care to clients by staying current and continuously improving.
Unfortunately, sometimes unprofessional therapists offer services they aren’t qualified to provide, risking their clients’ well-being. So, if you feel that your therapist is not providing proper quality service, it is important to bring this up with them. You can start by explaining your concerns and asking if there is anything that can be done to improve your experience in therapy.
Doesn’t work on building trust
If you notice that your therapist doesn’t put in enough effort to build trust, this might be another sign that you have the wrong therapist. In fact, trust and respect are key aspects of client-therapist relationships (Crits-Christoph et al., 2017). It helps clients feel that their issues are actually being taken care of, and they experience positive feelings each time they leave the therapy session.
Of course, you might not get the desired result right after leaving the counseling center, but you should have the feeling that you’re in a safe space and that no one is going to judge you because of your thoughts, emotions, or behaviors.
So guess what? If you have a bad feeling in your gut while you’re in therapy and feel like something is not right about your sessions with this therapist, then it might be the right time to reevaluate your therapist and think about changing to a new therapist.
What you should look for in a therapist?
After discussing signs that your therapist might be the wrong one, let’s see what to look for in therapy and what qualities professional counselors should possess.
So, here are some tell-tale signs that you’ve found a good therapist match:
- You feel comfortable and safe — It is important to feel comfortable and safe with your therapist. You should feel like you can be open and honest with them, and that they will respect your confidentiality and boundaries.
- You feel understood and supported — A good therapist should listen to your concerns and validate your feelings. They should help you to feel understood and supported, and should not judge or criticize you.
- You feel progress — You should feel like you are making progress in therapy, whether that means feeling better about yourself, gaining new insights, or learning new skills. So, if you feel like you are moving forward and that therapy is helping you to achieve your goals, then your therapist is definitely the right fit.
- You feel like you can be yourself — Can you express your inner emotions and thoughts with your therapist? A good therapist should help you to feel like you can be yourself, without fear of judgment or rejection. You should feel like you can be open and honest with them, and that they will accept you as you are.
- You feel a sense of connection — A good therapeutic relationship is based on a sense of connection and mutual trust. You should feel like you have a good rapport with your therapist and that you can work together effectively as a team.
Overall, a good therapist-client fit is one that feels supportive, respectful, and effective. Keep in mind that if you’ve never experienced any of these things, it may be time to consider finding a new therapist.
Choosing the right therapist in Michigan
All in all, starting therapy can feel like a big step, and it’s natural to have concerns and doubts about whether you have found the right therapist. However, if you consistently feel uncomfortable or unfulfilled in your therapy sessions, it may be worth considering whether or not your therapist is the right fit for you.
At Health for Life Counseling, we understand the importance of finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with. So, if you’re aiming to choose the right therapist in Grand Rapids, MI, or Ada, MI, we’re glad to let you know that our licensed counselors are dedicated to helping you find the right therapy for your unique needs and goals.
Professional therapists at Health for Life Counseling are licensed to provide a wide range of research-based interventions and treatment options to help you overcome your mental health issues. So, contact us at our office or talk to us online to schedule your first appointment.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that therapy is a process, and finding the right fit may take some time and effort. If you find the right therapist, you are more likely to benefit and be able to acheive your goals, feel better, and change your life.