Going to therapy is not something to take lightly. From experience, I know meeting a Therapist for the first time can be awkward. You sit down with them and are expected to automatically begin talking and sharing all of your problems. Choosing the right Therapist is an important decision. Do you have the right one for you?
Since my specialty is helping couples with affair recovery, infidelity/cheating/betrayal and communication conflict, I thought I would create a list of the ‘Top 11 Signs That You Need A New Marriage Therapist”.
#1. Therapist is not qualified or a specialist
If you have a problem with your foot, you would contact a Podiatrist, right? They have specialized training, experience and education to help with foot problems. That is their specialty. If you are looking for marriage or couples therapy, look for a Marriage and Family Therapist. They have a specific degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with specialized training. They understand how families (including couples) operate and interact. A good Therapist will also refer out clients that they know they are not qualified to help.
#2. Therapist always distracted
Do you feel that your counseling appointment is interrupting something else? Is the Therapist always checking the phone, looking at emails or even texting? I have even heard of some Therapists falling asleep in session. This is your time and you are paying for it. You want a Therapist that you can have a conversation with, not a ‘how does that make you feel?’ every question Therapist. If you are not getting the attention you deserve, look for someone else.
#3. Client-Therapist connection is missing
If you can feel in your gut that this relationship doesn’t feel right, go with that feeling. The therapist-client relationship is one of the most unique relationships a person might ever have. It has to feel right and have a connection.
#4. Therapist takes sides
As a Therapist who works a lot with couples, I hear this all too often from clients. Sure, the Therapist might agree with a concern or a suggestion at times, but if you or your partner feel like it is two against one during every session, you do not have the right Marriage or Couples Therapist.
#5. Therapist breaks confidentiality
One client told me about a Therapist who would begin the session by talking about the day’s previous clients. The client was afraid to say much knowing the next client would hear all about it.
#6. Therapist never has time to meet
After waiting for weeks to get into your first appointment, do you now have to wait even longer for the next appointment? Do you feel like you are just not a priority? If you feel your issues such as being on the verge of filing for divorce or constantly having the same heated argument every night with your partner are not enough to get you an appointment quickly, contact another Therapist.
#7. Length of time in therapy
Would you like to be in therapy every week for the next year or more? Or would you rather have a brief approach to finding solutions to problems and building your preferred future? Not being in therapy for years can get you started sooner on your preferred future. I can help clients in as little as 10-12 sessions.
#8. Office staff doesn’t understand your situation
When you call a Therapist’s office, you probably want to talk with someone who understands relationship or mental health issues, right? Finding out the person on the phone is a staff member who knows nothing about the mental health field but can schedule appointments could be tremendously frustrating. If you call a Therapist’s phone number and do not either hear their voice or is answered by someone who does not know the mental health field, you might want to make another call.
#9. Therapist has boundary issues
Does your Therapist seem to forget that you are a client? Do they seem to talk about themselves a lot? Has the Therapist asked to see you outside of the office? Do you see them looking at you a lot in a non-professional way? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to find a new Therapist immediately.
#10. Type of therapy
Would you rather talk about in detail all of your problems or your ideal future? Your choice is to use your strengths and recovery skills with proper therapy to build the life you most desire or to continually talk and rehash the past. Some clients even get sad, angry and depressed when they have to re-live it. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy helps couples move quickly toward solutions, identify their greatest desires and begin building a new life together. This form of therapy utilizes the acknowledgement of past successes as a springboard to envision an optimistic future.
#11. There is no improvement from therapy
If you have been seeing your Therapist for several months and do not feel that you are improving at all, it is probably time to move on. Find a Therapist who can truly make your life and relationships better.