What is a Bad Therapist and How to Spot One

Take your time and choose well

Finding the Perfect Therapist for Your Journey

Embarking on a mental health journey can feel like quite the maze, but discovering the right therapist is essential for your path towards healing. Sadly, not every therapist will be your cup of tea. It can be disheartening when you end up with a therapist who doesn’t meet your expectations or help you in the way you’d hoped.

So, what if you’re stuck with a not-so-great therapist? Well, they could make you feel worse rather than better. Let’s have a chat about how this can happen. For starters, a poor therapist might not truly listen to you, which can leave you feeling dismissed and overlooked. You need someone who genuinely cares about your thoughts and feelings, so when that’s lacking, it can be quite discouraging.

Criticism and assumptions: the pitfalls of a bad therapist

Next, they might jump to conclusions or make assumptions about your situation. Instead of getting to know you and your unique circumstances, they might rely on generalisations, leading to ill-informed advice that can worsen your problems. A poor therapist might also be overly critical or judgemental, causing you to feel more anxious, guilty, or ashamed about your struggles. Therapy should be a safe haven where you feel at ease opening up, so feeling judged can be really damaging to your healing process.

Another potential problem is a therapist’s inability to set boundaries. If they overshare about their own life or try to become your friend, the therapeutic relationship can get muddled, making it challenging to concentrate on your growth and healing. In the end, it’s vital to find a therapist who’s a good match for you. If you realise you’re working with a bad therapist or simply a bad match, it’s okay to move on and find someone who can genuinely help you. Your well-being is always the top priority.

Hold off on paying in advance

It’s smart not to pay up before your therapy starts. Instead, ask for a free consultation to see if you click with the therapist. If they’re reluctant, have a think about why that might be. The rapport between you and your therapist is essential for successful therapy, so take your time to chat with them and make an informed choice.

Bear in mind, you’re in the driver’s seat. You’re the one paying the fees, and you have the power to select, hire, and let go of your therapist whenever you want, without any obligation to stick with them.

Your loved ones’ recommendations are just opinions, not guarantees. Your experience with the same therapist might be completely different.

Don’t regard licensing or therapy organisations as a guarantee or validation of a specific therapist. They’re merely promoting their members, and ultimately, you’re the best judge of a therapist based on your experience. Don’t count on them for personal safety – always put your well-being first.

Leave if the therapist make you feel uneasy

If a therapist says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to leave and find a new one. Remember, even professionals like doctors can behave poorly, so don’t place blind trust in any therapist. People can change, whether they’re police officers, doctors, firefighters, therapists, or lawyers.

Think of it like getting a haircut. If you like the cut and service, you’ll go back. If not, you’ll find a new place. The same goes for therapists; keep searching until you find the right one. Not every therapist will be a good match, just like you won’t like or agree with everyone in your life.

Spotting a Bad Therapist: Red Flags to Keep an Eye On:

Recognising a Bad Therapist: Red Flags to Watch Out For

    • Poor Listening Skills: Good therapy relies on attentive and empathetic listening. If a therapist interrupts, seems disinterested, or forgets important details, they may lack vital listening skills.
    • Boundary Issues: A professional therapist should maintain appropriate boundaries, such as not pursuing personal relationships, limiting self-disclosure, and sticking to consistent session times. Breaching these boundaries could indicate they don’t have your best interests in mind.
    • Inflexible Approach: An effective therapist adapts to your needs and is open to using different methods. If they insist on a single approach that isn’t working, they may lack flexibility and willingness to adapt.
    • Disrespectful Behaviour: A bad therapist might belittle your concerns, make you feel judged, or criticise your choices. A healthy therapeutic relationship is built on trust and mutual respect.
    • Lack of Progress: While therapy takes time, you should see progress after a reasonable period. If you feel stuck and your situation isn’t improving, it’s worth reassessing your therapist’s effectiveness.

How to Identify a Bad Therapist: Steps to Follow

    • Testimonials: Be wary of testimonials as they may breach ethical guidelines or be fabricated. Presenting testimonials on a website is unprofessional and violates client-therapist confidentiality.
    • Qualifications: Qualifications don’t guarantee a competent, ethical therapist. There’s more to successful therapy than qualifications alone, so judge therapists by your own standards.
    • Initial Consultation: During your first session, observe the therapist’s interaction. Are they attentive and genuinely interested in helping you? Trust your instincts and assess if they’re a good fit.
    • Monitor Progress: As therapy continues, regularly evaluate your progress towards your goals. If you’re not making positive steps, consider looking for a new therapist.
    • Seek a Second Opinion: If you’re unsure about your therapist, seek a second opinion from another professional. They can offer a fresh perspective and help you decide whether to change therapists.
    • Communicate Your Concerns: If you feel comfortable, discuss your concerns with your therapist. They might adjust their approach or provide an explanation for their actions. If your concerns aren’t addressed, it may be time to move on.

Still life shot of computer monitor and keyboard with office chair.

Book a free session

Book a free therapy session and see for yourself if this online therapy services can help you.

Evening and weekend appointments with a number of added available options to give you more choices.

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.