What to do if you don’t like your therapist?

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In this blog we will discuss what you can do if you do not like your therapist. 

We will also discuss the possible reasons as to why you do not like your therapist and when would be a good time for you to change therapists. 

What to do if you don’t like your therapist?

If you have been experiencing some negative feelings towards your therapist or if you simply do not like your therapist, for whatever reasons, here are a few things you can do:

Bring it up in the sessions

The best thing you can do about this situation is to bring it up in sessions with them. If you are worried about how they might feel, rest assured that they are probably in the know about your feelings towards them due to your general behaviours within sessions.

It is unlikely that considering their training they have not picked up a few things about your attitude towards them. So what you can do is to bring it up in the session about what is bothering you and what you do not like about them. 

It could possibly be due to transference as well as due to your resistance towards therapy which is making you feel uncomfortable and you are attributing this to the idea that you do not like the therapist when in fact you do not like the process of therapy because it pushes you out of your comfort zone. 

Bringing it up in the session will help you and your therapist work on the issues and cross check the boundaries shared, it can also bring up a deeper level of understanding for both parties and can be beneficial for the treatment. 

Consider their approach

You have to understand that you cannot like everyone you meet and a new therapist does not mean that you will instantly like the new one.

One of the reasons why you do not like them could be because of their approach and because their way of dealing with you does not match with how you like to be worked with, for example, they might be direct while you prefer to be nice about things or they could be assertive when you prefer people to be submissive around you. 

There are plenty of reasons why you might not like the therapist and this crucial aspect of their approach in interpersonal relationships could be one.

Be mindful of ethicalities

When you bring up the issue, make sure that you are also mindful of whether your therapist is being ethical or not. 

One of the reasons why you do not like them could be because they tend to overburden you, they judge you, or they cross professional boundaries that it’s making you uncomfortable and unhappy. 

Here are a few signs that indicate if you therapist is ethical or not and if they do not show these signs, it could be possible that they are being superficial about their practice and might require you to change therapists for your own safety:

  • They do not help you feel relaxed by having a warm, positive, and compassionate demeanor
  • They are not a good listener and do all the talking
  • They do not emphasize confidentiality and do not protect your identity
  • They do not have a willingness to help you solve your problem
  • They force you into a particular type of therapy and do not work with you to determine a treatment that works best for you. 
  • They do not make effort to learn about you and work with you to develop a treatment plan

See someone else

If you have not noticed any of the above signs, it could be time for you to seek out someone else. 

If you don’t like your therapist when you meet him or her, you always have the choice to seek out another therapist. You are in no way obligated to your therapist; you can always leave therapy or seek out someone else. 

If after a few sessions, you truly don’t like the therapist, simply tell him or her at the end of the session that you don’t feel like it’s a good fit and that you will continue looking elsewhere. Most therapists will be happy to connect you with someone else if you ask.

When is it time to find a new therapist?

Therapy can bring up a lot of really uncomfortable feelings and this can also lead you to project your feelings on to your therapist in the case of transference- this can upset you and even make you feel like you do not like them or that they are inherently doing a bad job or are bad people. 

However, you have to understand that it’s not always that simple. Sometimes things get harder before they get easier and oftentimes our therapists reveal to us things that we are not ready to hear but what we need to hear.

If you have addressed the issues with your therapist and they have worked with you through the issues and the feelings, your relationship will probably get better from here however If you still feel stuck and it is still not working out, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a new therapist. 

You can change the therapists when you feel like, in spite of efforts nothing has changed and when doing so, the intent is not to give up on therapy but rather taking an approach of finding the right kind of therapist over time.

Why don’t I like my therapist?

Some of the possible reasons why you dont like your therapist includes:

Some mistake they have made

It is possible that your therapist might have offended you in some way or made some mistakes like missing a session, getting your name wrong etc, when this happens, it is normal to feel slighted since to your your therapist might be important because you tell them all your important experiences.

Transference

Another reason could be transference. Transference occurs when one’s feelings about something or someone gets superimposed on another. So you tend to project your feelings on to your therapist where feelings about one person, can get transferred elsewhere, and we’re not always aware we’re doing it.

So it is possible that your dislike for your therapist comes from your dislike about someone whom your therapist reminds you of or that your therapist behaves  similarly to someone whom your dislike. 

Pain

You might feel dislike or disdain towards your therapist because when therapists try to address painful matters, especially if they push you to examine your role in those matters, you might feel like they do not empathise with you or that they are blaming you which can sometimes lead you to react with anger and disdain.

Shame

It is also possible that you do not like your therapist because you are ashamed of the issues that are being brought up or the issues that you are made to confront.

When therapy brings up matters that make us feel ashamed, we sometimes avoid the shame by being angry or by demonising the therapist who has made you face the issues you were shamed of- this can lead you to find fault with them in order to rationalise to yourself that this therapist is not “good” and that they are mean or belittle them inroder to feel better about yourself. 

It is quite common to experience negative feelings towards your therapist in the midst of your sessions with them because Therapy can bring up a lot of really uncomfortable feelings and this can also lead you to project your feelings on to your therapist in the case of transference- this can upset you and even make you feel like you do not like them or that they are inherently doing a bad job or are bad people. 

In fact your like or dislike for your therapist can wax and wane over the course of your sessions because of how therapy addresses various issues as well as due to other factors such as the type or difficulty of the issues being addressed in therapy, the amount of stress you or the therapist may be experiencing, or some other issues.

In some cases, it could also be because your orientation and that of your therapist does not work together or that you are unable to gel well with them. Often when this happens, an individual can feel like they have come face to face with a dead end and they might start to feel anxious.

Some people when they realise this, they might immediately end the relationships and the work that is being done while others might take longer time to muster up the courage to break up with heir therapist.

It is important to know that anxiety along with other negative feelings is a normal part of therapy and you might find yourself disagreeing with your therapist which is very normal.

In’s such a case, what you do with this situation- either to work at this through a therapiutic lens or to terminate the sessions is entirely up to you. 

If you want to see someone else, you can opt discuss termination with your therapist and ask them to suggest you to some other professional or you can take it upon yourself to do so. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what you can do if you do not like your therapist. 

We have also discussed the possible reasons as to why you do not like your therapist and when would be a good time for you to change therapists. 

FAQ related to What to do if you don’t like your therapist

How do you politely change your therapist?

Break up with your therapist with an actual conversation if you’ve been seeing them for over a month instead of an email if it is possible. You can say something like: “I’ve taken some time to think over the work that we have been doing for the last couple of weeks and I think that I have made much progress. I dont think I require your services for the time being, so i would like to end our relationship”.

Why do I feel like I can’t talk to my therapist?

One of the major reasons as to why you are unable to talk to your therapist freely could be because you are unable to trust them fully. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is to bring this issue up with your therapist.

References

What If You Don’t Like Your Therapist? Psychcentral. Retrieved on 15th may 2022. https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-if-you-dont-like-your-therapist#1

What Do I Do if I Don’t Like My Therapist When I Meet Him or Her? Good Therapy. Retrieved on 15th may 2022. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/faq/what-do-i-do-if-i-dont-like-my-therapist-when-i-meet-him-or-her#:~:text=If%20you%20find%20you%20truly,you%20will%20continue%20looking%20elsewhere.

I don’t like my therapist. MHA.Retrieved on 15th may 2022. https://screening.mhanational.org/content/i-dont-my-therapist/?layout=actions_ah_path

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