Therapy can be a lifesaver though the journey can be arduous and painful. One of the key factors that determine if the process will be successful is the quality of the therapist. The decision to seek therapy while courageous is often made when people are in a vulnerable position. Vulnerable people may not trust their instincts or know when to terminate a therapy relationship that’s not working. Here are the signs of a bad therapist and a case for when to terminate the therapy arrangement.
They aren’t listening
If your therapist isn’t listening to you, then what on earth are they doing? If you feel like your therapist does not listen to you, you may be dealing with a bad therapist that you would be justified in cutting loose. An example would be if they don’t remember basic details about your life that you’ve shared. A good therapist listens carefully so that they are able to get both the spoken and the unspoken messages, complete with follow-up questions to help you.
They are unreliable
People are busy and one would be forgiven for deducing that a good therapist must be busier than most. However, if your therapist frequently shows up late, reschedules, cancels, or worse, forgets about appointments, you have a bad therapist and should make plans to replace them.
They won’t give advice
Some therapists take the position of passive listeners refraining from giving advice. They may be reluctant because they believe it prevents a patient from taking responsibility or fear a lawsuit in the event that their advice is considered wrong. Therapists are also called counsellors because they are supposed to offer good counsel while emphasizing that patients have to make their own decisions. A bad therapist refuses to offer any guidance at all.
They break confidentiality and are unethical
Therapists are legally required to protect your privacy with exceptions only when someone’s life is in danger. You know you have a bad therapist if they violate confidentiality. In the event that they do, you should consider reporting them. They may also violate codes of conduct by doing things like inappropriately touching you or propositioning you. In the event that this happens, terminate the arrangement immediately and report them to the relevant board.
You leave feeling embarrassed or ashamed
You should never feel judged or shamed by your therapist. Feeling judged can lead to hesitance in revealing pertinent details and being vulnerable which can hinder your progress. They are a bad therapist if they force their religious and personal views on you or judge you because of things like a history of drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, financial irresponsibility, or other bad choices.
They are also bad if they hold bigoted and stereotypical views, including racist, patriarchal, homophobic views. A good therapist’s job is to help you gain insight into your life and make informed decisions.
No progress is being made
Therapy takes time and the process can be painful. However, if you’ve had several therapy sessions and you aren’t feeling any different, they may either be a bad therapist or just not a good fit for you. Not all therapists are going to be able to help you. You may also have issues that require specialized attention, for example, if you have trauma, you may need a therapist who specializes in trauma.
Other signs of a bad therapist
- They are pushy and try to force you to reveal things you aren’t ready to share or are just uncomfortable sharing.
- You and your therapist just do not get along and you don’t feel like they get you.
- They overshare about their personal lives and try to behave more like a friend and not a medical professional with whom you have an official relationship.
- You don’t like them, and you dread the visits as a result.
- They are a bad therapist if they do not seem to care about you.
- You feel like they are pressuring you to keep coming back to them.
- They become overly defensive about feedback or criticism.
- A bad therapist constantly checks the clock making you feel rushed not to mention how rude it is. They may also do things like eating or grooming themselves during the session.
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