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The Warning Signs You Might Need a New Counsellor

By: Richard Boyd Copyright © 2022 January 13, 2022 no comments

The Warning Signs You Might Need a New Counsellor

There are warning signs you might need a new counsellor that you should definitely be aware of if you are currently in therapy.

The relationship you have with your counsellor can make or break your mental health journey. While opening up to a complete stranger is never easy, your psychotherapist should put you at ease and make a connection with you fairly quickly. If you don’t experience this, you may be wondering if you should work with someone else.

Signs you need a new counsellor aren’t always obvious. Keep in mind that each psychotherapist is going to have a different approach, and you may have to make a few attempts before you find someone who best meets your needs. Looking out for red flags can help you realise if a counsellor is a suitable fit sooner rather than later, so you aren’t wasting time and money on therapy sessions that don’t lead to results.

If you’re not making progress towards your mental health goals, consider these signs you need a new counsellor.

Therapy Sessions Feel Like a Chore

One of the first signs you need a new counsellor is that you don’t feel like going. While it will take some time to make progress, you should notice a difference right away, even a minor one. Major revelations aren’t going to happen after each session, but you should feel like some weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

If the thought of going to see your counsellor or psychotherapist makes you irritated and feels more like a chore each week, consider it a warning sign. There’s likely a reason behind your feelings other than being too lazy. Even if you can’t pinpoint the reason you’re unsatisfied, follow your instincts and seek out other therapy options.

You Don’t Connect With Your Counsellor

It’s important to build a connection with your counsellor as it has shown to improve the rate of success. Of course, you don’t want to be chummy with your psychotherapist, but you want to build a rapport and feel comfortable opening up to them. If you’ve been receiving mental health services from someone for several months or even weeks and haven’t managed to click with them, it’s time to move on.

Remember, you’re working with a counsellor to resolve your mental health issues. Every counsellor has different approaches, methods, and personalities they utilise during your therapy session. Don’t feel guilty for not feeling a connection — focus on looking out for your best interests.

You Haven’t Made Progress

While you can’t expect to eliminate all mental health concerns overnight, you should notice that you’ve made progress after several months in talk therapy. It’s okay if you’ve made only a little progress, as some issues can take longer to resolve. However, if you’ve made no progress, consider that one of the warning signs you need a new counsellor.

This isn’t just a red flag for those new to therapy, though. If you’ve been working on the same issue with a counsellor for a while and notice progress has halted, you should bring this up to them. Afterwards, if they continue to approach the issue with no further direction to spark change, you should start looking into therapy with someone else.

There’s a Lack of Boundaries

Boundaries are essential in your relationship with your counsellor. If the relationship roles become blurry or lines are crossed at any point, you should end all communication with them immediately. Your counsellor isn’t your friend, and they should behave professionally.

Red flags to look for include attempts to socialise or be friends, sexual comments, heightened interest in hearing about sexual experiences, asking for favours, and going into depth about their own personal problems during a therapy session. Whether it’s online therapy or in-person, there should always be clear boundaries.

They’re Distracted and Forgetful

You always want to feel like your counsellor or psychotherapist is listening to what you say and offering valuable feedback. If they often seem distracted during your sessions, consider it a sign you need a new counsellor. While it’s okay if they take notes while you speak, they shouldn’t be taking calls, staring at their phone, or rustling through papers on their desk.

Another clear sign they’re distracted during your sessions is that they can’t remember vital information, and you have to keep reminding them of conversations you’ve already had. You can’t expect a counsellor to provide an accurate analysis when they lack essential reference points. You’re paying for their time, so make sure they’re giving it to you.

They Minimise Your Experiences

A counsellor should never minimise your experiences, especially when referring to trauma. Their job is to acknowledge your feelings and guide you towards healthier emotions regarding a person or event, free of judgment. You should never be made to feel guilty or ashamed of your past during your therapy sessions.

One of the most prominent signs that your counsellor is minimising your experiences is that they don’t take them seriously. They may even shame you for how you reacted, saying it was wrong or that they’re surprised by it. They may also compare your feelings and reactions to their own if they were in your shoes.

These are all signs you need a new counsellor.

They’re Flaky

Your counsellor likely requires a 24-hour notice when cancelling or rescheduling a therapy session. You should receive the same courtesy from them and hold them accountable if they don’t follow through. Once or twice isn’t a huge deal, but a counsellor who is constantly cancelling sessions is never a good sign.

You also don’t want to work with someone who is always late. If they expect you to be on time for your therapy sessions, they should also be on time. This can especially become a problem if your sessions are cut short due to their tardiness.

You’ve Grown Too Attached

As mentioned earlier, your counsellor isn’t your friend or a family member. You shouldn’t feel like you need this person in your life to get through hard times. Growing too attached to them can lead to unhealthy boundaries and unprofessional relationships.

Of course, you want to connect with your counsellor, but you shouldn’t expect them to always be in your life. They are a tool to help improve your mental health. Once you’ve achieved your goals or reached a point where progress has stalled, it’s likely time to move on.

Therapy Has Become a Habit

It can be really easy for therapy to become a habit, especially when discussions become more about venting than your mental health. While it feels nice to get certain things off your chest, you want to make sure your therapy sessions are ultimately about improving your mental health. If they start to feel more like a conversation you would have with one of your friends, it’s time to check in with your counsellor on your progress.

Ask yourself if you’re going to your therapy sessions because your counsellor is providing you with the tools you need to become more independent or if you’re going because it has become ingrained in your routine. Going to a counsellor out of habit can lead to unhealthy boundaries and attachment issues, both of which you can avoid if you recognise the signs early.

You shouldn’t use your counsellor as a crutch to get by in life.

If this article has struck a nerve with you please feel free to get in contact with us or find out more about the counselling services that we offer at the Energetics Insitute by clicking here.

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