If you’re reading this, you likely already know just how important therapy is when it comes to your healing. To get the most out of the treatments you’re using, a healthy relationship should be established between you and your therapist. After all, a client-therapist relationship is vital in the successful outcome of therapy, according to the American Psychological Association.
If you feel uncomfortable with or disconnected from your therapist, it might be time to consider changing therapists. Don’t worry because switching from one professional to another is common and acceptable. Keep reading to discover how you can go about it.
Is Switching Therapists Beneficial for My Mental Health?
Finding your current therapist may have brought you immense relief knowing that with their assistance, you’ll finally be able to sort yourself out. However, during the course of your therapy sessions, you realize that your preferences for a mental health provider have changed. What had started out as a perfect match may no longer be that way.
In therapy, you’re asked to be completely open to your therapist. It’s therefore to encounter challenging emotions during your sessions. Of course, being uncomfortable shouldn’t be the only reason for you to change therapists. But if you constantly feel uneasy during your sessions, this might cause you to hold back in expressing yourself. That’s why it may be best to look for a new individual to help you.
Even if you feel at ease and connected with your therapist, you might still find yourself wanting to look for a new one at some point. The possible reasons you’re considering switching are the following:
- You have a recently diagnosed mental condition and prefer to be treated by a specialist.
- You’d like to try working with a therapist who practices a different type of therapy.
- You want someone who understands your stand on race, sexuality, or gender identity and cultural values.
- You can no longer afford to see your current therapist.
Signs You Need to Be Switching Therapists
Wanting to end your relationship with your therapist while you’re battling addiction, social phobias, or mental illnesses such as depression can be challenging. Some find it daunting since they’re unsure whether switching will deliver the results they’re after.
Here are some signs you can use to determine if changing therapists is right for you:
Therapist Is Overly Familiar
It’s important to build rapport with your therapist during the first few sessions. Talking about what the two of you may have in common is one way to make the relationship more comfortable.
Even so, your therapist shouldn’t be so casual that instead of tackling your mental health issues, they still prefer to talk about random personal matters after many sessions. Remember that they’re there to guide you toward recovery and not hang out with you.
Therapist Is Too Impersonal
Regardless of the industry, all professionals should set a certain level of detachment from their clients in order to achieve the desired output. But if you find your therapist detached to the point of making you apprehensive or self-conscious, perhaps you should make the switch. You need to be able to comfortably share what’s on your mind with your therapist.
Therapist Isn’t Listening to You
Your therapist should be good at active listening and give you their undivided attention. They shouldn’t be quick to give advice when you’re not yet done conveying your thoughts and feelings.
A good therapist listens well, takes a collaborative approach, asks for feedback regularly, and encourages you to be part of the problem-solving process.
Therapist Isn’t Experienced Enough to Treat You
Most therapists are trained to handle a number of mental health issues. However, there are some who specialize in certain illnesses. If you think your therapist is unfit to handle your specific situation, you can look for another who can cater to your concerns properly.
Therapist Insists on Their Own Beliefs and Values
It’s your therapist’s job to help you understand your feelings without forcing their own set of beliefs and values onto you. They shouldn’t interfere with matters that aren’t related to your therapy.
You Feel You’re Not Getting Better
At the very start, a good therapist would set reasonable and attainable goals for your recovery. However, if you feel you’re not making any progress and your therapist has failed to improve your condition even after trying different strategies, it might be best to look for a different therapist.
Therapist Lacks Empathy
Your therapist should acknowledge your hurt feelings and, at the same time, encourage you to consider your role in everything you’ve been through. It’s a must for them to empathize with you and help you work on developing stress management techniques. If this isn’t the case, you might benefit from turning to a different therapist.
Therapist Is Emotionally Reactive When Dealing With Challenging Issues
A therapist shouldn’t show anger or irritation whenever you share an idea, disagree with them, or give them feedback. This might discourage you from opening up and, consequently, prevent you from taking full advantage of your therapy.
The Advice You’re Receiving Isn’t Right for You
It’s possible for your therapist’s methods to be incompatible with your needs. For instance, if you and your therapist have different communication styles, this can greatly affect your therapeutic relationship in the long term.
Therapist Is Unreliable
As the popular saying goes, time is gold. That’s why it’s important that your therapist doesn’t show up late or cancel appointments for no good reason. They have to answer your calls, text messages, or emails in a timely manner as well. Be sure to look for a therapist who’s reliable, organized, and easy to reach.
How Do You Make the Switch to a New Therapist?
Changing therapists and searching for a new one isn’t an easy process. Try these tips to break the news gently to your current therapist:
Talk to Them About It
Be courteous and discuss the whole thing with your therapist. Talking to them about your plans of switching can help you:
- Have closure and peace of mind
- Find out what’s lacking in your present therapeutic relationships
- Understand and discover what you’re looking for in a therapist
It’d be best to talk to your therapist about this in person. However, if the situation doesn’t allow for in-person conversations, you may send a detailed email or text message explaining your decision.
Request a Records Transfer
Process notes or notes taken during your therapy sessions are different from medical records, according to the Health Insurance Probability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Ask your therapist if you can get a copy of your records or if they can assist in transferring your records to your next therapist.
What Are You Looking for in a New Therapist?
After many sessions with your current therapist, you must’ve already realized what works and doesn’t work for you. You may want to have a therapist who:
- Has the same background as you
- Provides online therapy sessions
- Offers income-based rates or sliding scale fees
- Can accept your insurance plan
Explore Your Options
Keep your options open and choose wisely. You don’t have to hire the first therapist who calls you back. Talk to as many professionals as you can. Interview them and weigh the pros and cons of working with them.
You can start exploring by making a shortlist of therapists that your friends and support group have recommended. Afterward, ask if they offer a free initial consultation. The initial consultation will give you the chance to raise questions and assess if a particular therapist’s style is to your liking.
Get Ready for Your First Session
It’s normal to feel nervous about meeting your new therapist. To ease your nerves and get ready for your first appointment, you can create a list of key issues that need to be addressed in therapy as well as what you hope to achieve in the sessions.
Perhaps you had issues with your previous therapist. You can bring these up with your new therapist, who’ll then use the information to design your therapy plan. Your new therapist can also give you insights and guidance should you feel sad or fearful about the transition.
Observe Your New Therapist
To assess your compatibility with a different therapist, you may ask yourself these questions as your treatment goes along:
- Does my therapist understand me?
- During sessions, am I rushed or dismissed right away?
- Does my therapist respect my background and beliefs?
- Is my therapist distracted during sessions?
- Is my therapist authoritative instead of collaborative?
Etiquette for Switching
You have to observe proper manners when moving on to a different therapist. There are different methods of parting ways with them depending on the platform where you’re receiving therapy, be it online or face-to-face.
A lot of people go for online therapy sessions because of affordability, accessibility, and convenience. While it might seem easy to ghost your therapist in an online environment and feel less guilty about it, you have to be respectful toward the person who helped you during your tough time. It’d be rude to avoid your therapist by not logging when your treatment with them hasn’t officially ended.
Ending a face-to-face relationship with your therapist is harder than doing it online. You may feel intimidated to bring the matter up. Still, you have to do the right thing and let your therapist know about your plan to switch.
No matter how you feel about your therapist, it’s better to be polite and end things on a good note. You’re still on the road to recovery, so you have to part from people in a way that’ll bring you peace of mind.
Improve your Therapeutic Relationship
Your decision to switch therapists shouldn’t induce negative feelings. It should be something that you’re excited and hopeful about.
Counseling Now knows that you deserve to find the right therapist for your circumstances. Only then can you truly be proactive in your therapy and achieve better mental health.
You can expect the therapists of Counseling Now to prioritize your wellness above anything else. They’ll see to it that you get the treatment you need and want. What’s more, you’ll be assigned to a therapist who’s a perfect fit for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our range of services.