How do you know if it’s time to find a new therapist?

If you seek the help of a therapist while going through a divorce, it can make a significant difference in how successful you are in moving on with your life. However, not all therapists, no matter how prestigious their alma maters and how many best-selling books they’ve written, are necessarily good at one-on-one counseling.

If you’ve never been “in therapy,” it can be hard to know what you should and shouldn’t accept from a therapist. One psychotherapist notes some important “red flags” that people should look out for.

— Critical: A good therapist will help you see things about yourself that you should change to have healthier relationships and a happier life. Sometimes that involves a little “tough love.” However, that criticism should never be unkind or insulting.

— Self-absorbed: While some therapists will share their own experiences if they believe it’s helpful to their patients, that should be done sparingly. You’re not paying to hear about their lives. Your sessions should focus on you — not your therapist.

— Distracted: You should be the sole focus of your therapist during your session. If your therapist is checking emails, sending texts, taking phone calls or even watching the clock, call him or her out on it. You’re paying for that person’s time and expertise.

— Inappropriate: Unfortunately, some therapists don’t understand the appropriate boundaries of their professions. While a hug or comforting pat may be welcome and needed, if your therapist’s physical contact moves beyond that or if he or she does or says anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to say so.

If your therapist is doing any of these things, but you’re not ready to give up on him or her just yet, express your concerns. If nothing improves, then move on.

Sometimes, a therapist’s behavior doesn’t have to be this extreme for patients to simply feel that they’re not getting what they need. The patient-therapist relationship is crucial. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with a therapist to share your feelings honestly, then you’re not getting what you need to out of therapy.

If you need help finding a new therapist during or after your divorce, your family law attorney likely knows you well enough to give you one or more recommendations of someone who may be a better fit for you.

Source: Huffington Post, “Choosing A Psychotherapist? Avoid These 5 Red Flags,” Abby Rodman, LICSW, Sep. 16, 2016

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