You started in therapy. That’s a huge step. A step that took thought, research, and time. Now, you may be asking, “Am I getting what I need from therapy?”. This will be an important question to ask yourself to make sure you are benefiting.
Reasons you might not be getting what you need
If you don’t connect with your therapist and you don’t feel comfortable with them, you may never get what you need out of your therapy sessions. That’s why it is important to find a therapist that is a good fit for you.
If your life philosophies do not, at least somewhat, connect with the way your therapist approaches therapy, then you may not get what you need. Think: you want help with parenting issues and your therapist has a different philosophy on parenting that goes against what has worked in your family or isn’t a match for the temperaments in your family.
Having a different philosophical approach on life than your therapist may result in being hesitant to follow through on recommendations. I shared about this in more detail in a past blog When Is It Time to Go To Therapy? How Can You Get the Most of it?.
In some cases, clients might not connect with the communication style of their therapist or the processes they use during sessions. You may want more direction, or less direction, than what you are receiving. It’s okay to ask your therapist about this and express to them what you feel will be more beneficial for you. They may be willing to adjust their approach or they may be able to explain the reasoning behind why they feel their current approach is more beneficial.
If you cannot agree on an approach that works for you both then it might not be a good match.
Therapy should be a space where you feel like you can be you and let your guard down. If you are not connecting with your therapist, it’s unlikely that you will make the progress that you want to make, so it may be time to find a new therapist.
What to do
If you determine that you’re not getting what you need out of therapy and begin looking for a new therapist, use the information from your experience to develop an understanding of what you are looking for.
What are your preferences for a therapist and for therapy in general?
You could do a self-assessment and ask yourself these questions:
Do you need homework and a therapist who will ask you about it/hold you accountable?
Do you need a therapist who talks less and gives some space for you to talk through things?
Do you need someone with more expertise on a certain topic?
Do you need someone you feel more comfortable with?
Sometimes going into therapy for the first time feels like a blind date, you don’t really know what to expect and you don’t really know what you are looking to get out of it. So you didn’t really know the answers to some of these questions. But once you have participated in therapy you start to become more in tune with what you need and what works for you.
At One Heart Counseling Center we know that our therapists will not be the right fit for everyone. That’s why we educate potential clients on what to look for in a therapist. You can find more info HERE to help guide you.
Use all of the information you have gathered from your therapy experience to research and ask questions of your new therapist. Building a relationship with your new therapist starts even before you have your first session.
Recognize that therapy is a relationship
Therapy involves two people working together, and any time you work with someone a relationship is formed. That relationship can only be effective if both people are committed and honest.
Dealing with issues or concerns with your therapist can mirror how you handle things in your other relationships.
Are you committed to attending sessions and actively participating or are you tempted to ghost or just smile and nod and then feel disappointed that you are not getting your needs met?
Are you honest and tell your therapist what you are feeling and what is really going on in your life? Or are you expecting your therapist to read your mind (I mean, we are trained to see beyond what meets the eye, but we can’t know everything!!) and then feel upset when you don’t get what you want out of your sessions?
Think about how you tend to relate to people in your other relationships, it can explain a lot about how you relate to your therapist. And this is great news because…
Therapy is like a laboratory where you can test your communication skills and try doing things differently. Try working it out first. Then, if your current therapist is not a match, that’s OK! The time you have spent with them may have been just what you needed to figure out how to communicate and also advocate for what you do need.
Therapists do not take it personally if you decide it’s not a good fit. They are trained to support your growth, even if that means saying goodbye.
Do you need guidance or assistance to find a new therapist? Contact us, we are happy to help you work through this transition and get you the help you need.