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How to Break Up With Your Therapist and Find a Better Fit

Not all relationships are meant to be, including the professional one you may have with your therapist.

Choosing a therapist doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, or just don’t feel like they are a good fit, it’s okay to break up with them.

But before you pull the plug and walk away, it’s a good idea to talk to your therapist first!

If you’re not sure how to approach a breakup with your therapist, here are some tips as well as how to find a therapist that is a better fit:

4 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Therapist

1. You Feel Distressed After Every Session

Most people think they are going to leave a therapy session feeling uplifted and ecstatic about life. The truth is, it’s normal to leave therapy feeling unsettled and upset because of the emotions it can stir up in the process.

However, that is vastly different from feeling distressed after every appointment because you feel that your therapist isn’t listening to you or isn’t sensitive enough to your needs.

If this is the case, it may be time to break up with your therapist.

2. You’re Not Noticing Changes in Yourself Over Time

Therapy is not a miracle cure and it will take some time before you notice the benefits and positive changes in yourself.

How long it takes depends on the issues you are working through, the form of therapy you are seeking, how dedicated you are, and how often you see your therapist.

Generally, however, you should notice some growth and change within yourself over time – even if it’s just the sense of encouragement you feel because you are taking steps to work on yourself.

It’s important that your therapist motivates you and helps you progress. If you feel like you’re working through things on your own and not getting much reaction from your therapist, it may be time to find a better fit.

3. You Don’t Trust Your Therapist

Open communication with your therapist is built on a foundation of trust.

If you find yourself not trusting your therapist, you are likely going to hold back from talking about your thoughts and behaviors which will impede progress.

Your therapist will hold you accountable for your actions which can feel uncomfortable at times. But, your therapist should also establish a safe, nonjudgmental space where you can be honest about aspects of your life that are hard or shameful to talk about.

If you can’t trust your therapist, you can’t work with them.

4. It’s Hard to Schedule Time With Your Therapist

There are some logistical issues that may lead to breaking up with your therapist such as having difficulties scheduling with them.

It could be that their hours don’t match up with your free time or they have changed office locations.

If you can’t keep appointments with your therapists for logistical reasons, it’s time to find a better fit.

How to Break Up With Your Therapist

Breaking up with your therapist isn’t the same as ending a romantic relationship, so you don’t have to get too stressed out about it.

However, you do owe your therapist the courtesy of notifying them of your decision. Just as a therapist wouldn’t ghost you if they felt they weren’t helping you, you need to talk to your therapist before you end your relationship with them.

At the very least, see if you can solve your concerns with your therapist before moving on to someone else. Simply indicate to them that you feel you are not meeting your goals together – it’s possible that your therapist can impose new strategies to help you progress.

If you find that your therapist isn’t receptive to your concerns or that nothing changes after this conversation, it’s time to find another therapist. 

If you’ve been seeing your therapist in person for over a month, it’s best to break up with them in person. A good therapist will not guilt you into staying – they will explore your concerns, make recommendations, and respect your ultimate decision.

If you’ve only met your therapist once or twice, a simple phone call will suffice.

Here are a few suggestions for what to say:

  • “I appreciate the work we’ve done together but I need to go in a different direction with my therapy. Thank you so much for your willingness to help me.”
  • “Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me but I just don’t think we’re a good fit.”
  • “After I mentioned {concern} to you, I don’t feel like there have been enough changes for it to make sense that we continue our sessions.”
  • “I would like to end our sessions together. I have different goals right now.”

Be prepared for your therapist to want to talk this through a bit. They are going to want to explore constructive criticism to improve their own practice as well as ensure there is nothing they can do to continue to help you.

However, I completely understand how hard it can be for people to be forward in these situations. If you absolutely feel compelled to ghost your therapist, at least call ahead and cancel your future appointments.

Choosing the Right Therapist

Successful Therapy. Cheerful black man talking to psychologist on meeting at his office

Think About the Type of Person You’d Feel Comfortable Talking To

When it comes to choosing the right therapist, it’s okay to consider factors such as gender, age, and religion.  Even if you have no preference, You are allowed to choose someone you can feel comfortable with. 

Doing some internet research can help you learn more about a therapist. While you are not likely to find a ton of information about their personal lives, you can check out biographies to get an idea if they would be a good fit for you.

Also, pay attention to their areas of expertise and methods of treatment. Make sure they are able to provide the right form of treatment for your issues.

Look at Reviews and Ask for Referrals

Friends, colleagues, and doctors who know you are a great way to find a therapist who might be a good fit for you. Just remember that you have unique needs that may differ from the person giving you the recommendation.

But while a good match for someone else may not benefit you, it’s a good place to start.

Ask the Therapist Questions

Before you book your first official session with a therapist, you should have a meet-and-greet (either in person, over the phone, or online) to ask questions and determine if they will be a good fit.

You can ask them how much experience they have with clients in similar situations, what their approach is like, and what a typical session looks like.

Could We Be a Good Fit?

Who knows! But I would love to have a chat to find out.

Contact us today to book an appointment. We’d love to hear from you!

By November 15, 2021 Blog