How to Know When to Change Therapists - WOC Therapy

How to Know When to Change Therapists

Therapy

Tamika Lewis November 1, 2021

The success rate of therapy is around 85%, which means 15% of people going on sessions don’t see any progress. The reasons can be numerous, but the most common are the uncooperative patient and the simple lack of “click” between the counselor and patient. So when to change therapists and how long should you stay with the same therapist? These are just some of the questions we will try to answer.

When to Change Therapists – See if There Is Any Progress in Your Treatment

As you may know, therapy doesn’t help overnight, and it takes time to see any progress. Still, how to know when it’s time to change therapists? The first sign will be if you don’t make any progress. Also, leaving every session feeling disappointed is a red flag and a cue to get new mental health professionals.

Does the Therapist Ask About Your Mental Health Progress?

For starters, you should be able to have an honest talk with the person you entrusted your well-being with. The process should be transparent, and you should be able to ask your professional if you’re doing well. On the other hand, a counselor should be interested in your progress as well.

Is There a Plan or Set of Goals?

However, measuring progress is difficult. The best way to do so is by setting some short-term goals for you to achieve. Some counselors will work on setting these goals on your first therapy appointment. If this is not the case, you probably won’t be satisfied with the therapy in the end.

therapist-giving-advice
If you don't feel better and don't see any progress, you should seek a different opinion

When Should a Therapist Be Changed? Signs That You Should Change Therapists

Being in therapy and wondering if therapy works is another huge red flag and a warning that something is wrong. Maybe you didn’t click with your counselor, or some other unpleasant things happened that made you feel this way. And this is perfectly normal. We are all humans and different in so many ways. Maybe you will find better emotional support with a therapist who had a similar experience as you did. But some things are unacceptable in therapy, and if they happen to you, this will be a sign to switch to a different counselor.

The Counselor Is Too Familiar or Too Impersonal

Being in a room with a stranger sharing your deepest secrets demands a lot of trust, and if this trust is violated in any way, it will leave emotional scars and trust issues you will hardly overcome. Still, there are signs you can catch early on and leave without turning back. And one of those signs is if the counselor is overstepping their boundaries and becoming too familiar, friendly, or even emotional. This is a very intimate process, and counselors should never take advantage of that.

Your Counselor Doesn’t Listen to You

When choosing a counselor, you want to have someone who will give you the necessary help and listen to what you are saying. If you are in treatment and sense that nobody is listening to you or your counselor is distracted by other things, you should point that out. And if the behavior continues to happen, you should cancel other appointments.

In Time People Develop New Needs

As you may know, there is a difference between a therapist and a psychologist, as they use different approaches and treatments. It may come a time when you will need a different approach in your treatment as well the one that will suit your current needs much better. Depending on your state of mind at the moment, you may want a new counselor as well. Or you could have gone to the male counselor your whole life and decided that it’s time to seek counseling for women. Maybe you perceive only women can understand and know how to deal with the anxiety you are experiencing.

therapy for women of color
You need a professional who can understand your needs

Your Mental Health Professional Is Judgemental

If you have issues and anxious feelings which are closely related to the discrimination you experience daily, you would want to share this with a counselor that knows how to deal with racism, that will teach you to calm yourself down and also take a stand in a healthy way. The last thing you need is someone who is judging you for feeling a certain way. Dealing with stress caused by discrimination sometimes can only be managed with someone that had a similar experience. So if your counselor is judgemental, seek new counseling for women or just a therapist of color and make an appointment. There is nothing wrong with wanting what is best for you. These will be the best self-care tips anyone can give you.

The Advice Doesn’t Seem Right

Being a depressed black woman is difficult. Not only is seeing a therapist considered a sign of weakness but the ones who decide to see a counselor end up with someone who can not understand what they are going through. And your counselor doesn’t necessarily have to be indifferent to the problems people of color face, but advice coming from them may simply be not good enough. In most cases, therapists of color will have more sensitivity and will give you better advice.

Still, the psychologist’s advice shouldn’t be a distraction from your treatment, and things this person says during the session shouldn’t occupy your mind and produce even more stress. Some advice is just plain bad, and they occur because of the gender, race, and generational gaps. And if this is the case with you, do not stress out. Instead, seek the counselor you believe will work better for you.

You Feel Like You Can Not Speak Freely

As we mentioned before, a huge part of successful treatment is trust, and if you feel like you can not share, something is wrong in this relationship. If you sense your counselor will shame you for what you are about to say or be offended in some way, you should seek a new professional. For example, if you are someone who has some anxiety issues, going to therapy for black girls will be more successful due to the fact you will likely share it with someone who had similar experiences in life.

women's counseling
Trust is a huge part of the healing process,if you can not share it is huge red flag

The Appointments Have Become an Addiction and Not Help

If sessions start to feel in a way you can not live without them, as your whole life will fall apart, then you should consider ending this relationship and start looking for another professional. It’s not unusual to develop codependent emotions towards psychotherapists and the whole process. If this is the case, a good counselor should try to diminish this codependency, and if nothing done on treatment works, they should advise you to change the psychologist.

When Is It Time to Change Therapists? When It Feels Like a Chore

Another thing that can happen in psychotherapy is that going to a session starts to feel like a chore you must do. That means you and your psychotherapist have reached the point where making progress will not see exponential growth anymore. At this point, it’s good to end your relationship and take someone with a fresh approach and ideas.

worried woman looking for therapist
If you would rather stay at home watching movies than seeing your counselor, you should end the sessions with them

Is It Bad to Switch Therapists?

Now that you know how to stop seeing a therapist, it’s time to answer the dilemma: is it bad to do so? Every change is hard and can cause a lot of stress. But what if you are relocating to another state? You can not keep your old counselor but will have to continue to deal with work stress or other issues. So naturally, you will take a new person to help you. And this change can bring more energy and be good for your mental health. If you are experiencing anxiety and depression solely because you are a woman of color, then switching to African American counselors or therapy for Latinx is only a logical step. Like with any medical professional, you are entitled to seek a second and third opinion – there is nothing wrong in seeking what is best for you.

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