We are constantly analyzing our relationships with our partners, relatives and friends. But when was the last time you evaluated your relationship with your shrink? Here are five signs you may need to reconsider your choice of therapist.
You just can’t talk about Pinot Grigio
You sink into your therapist’s couch and start talking about your nagging mother, your moody teenager, and your passive-aggressive co-worker. But when you think about that whole bottle of wine you pour out every night just to “chill out,” you choke. “People forget that this is a relationship where trust should be a foundation,” says Saumya Dave, MD, psychiatrist and author of what a happy family. Dave says it takes at least three to four sessions to start feeling comfortable opening up to someone. “When it comes to talking about gender or race, if you feel like your therapist doesn’t understand you, don’t push.”
They know exactly what to do…immediately!
“It’s a red flag if your therapist is too eager to treat you,” says Erick Sandstad, a licensed psychotherapist at the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Medical Center. It may be part of their own ego or agenda, but rushing or taking over from a client is not part of a healthy therapeutic relationship. He also says to proceed with caution when a therapist has already prepared tools and procedures to use without first knowing you or your situation. They can rush you through a pre-determined plan that doesn’t work for you.
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You end up talking about your husband instead of your mother
“The role of the therapist is to empower the client from the start,” says Sandstad. “Your therapist should ask you things like, ‘What would you like to focus on during your session? In other words, you should be an active leader in your therapy. The relationship is a partnership. “The clinician is holding an interpretation card for the session, but the client must take the driver’s seat.”
They say, “Yeah, girl, me too”
Wanda Vargas, PhD, supervising psychologist at New York–Presbyterian Hospital, warns against a therapist who can relate to you too– and shows it. While it’s nice to have a level of resonance with each other, your therapy doesn’t go well if your therapist takes time to share their issues instead of talking about yours.
You still can’t cope IRL
Therapy isn’t a linear process, so some days you might feel better and other days you might feel worse, says Jennifer Miranda, a licensed psychologist and former lecturer at Rutgers University. “But overall you should feel like you’re going in the right direction.” Miranda suggests these questions to clarify: Do you feel your symptoms are better managed? Do you feel like you have a better image of yourself? Many people become attached to therapists because they “like” them. Maybe they make you laugh and are just “so nice”. But their job is to give you concrete tools that you can use in real life. If you initially seek treatment because you have difficulty managing your anxiety, you should leave therapy with a well-established “coping toolkit,” which could include cognitive-behavioral techniques such as thought reframing, mindfulness, acceptance strategies, etc. “If after several sessions you don’t have a better idea of how to manage or live with anxiety in a more functional way, it could be a sign that it’s time to move on,” says Miranda. .
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