For the most part, therapists want what is best for your mental health.  This means that they have to challenge your negative thought processes and behaviours that are not working out for you and your relationships.  They might ask you deeply personal questions that might trigger some past trauma.  When your therapist does this, it might make you feel angry.  When this happens, your first instinct might be to find a new therapist or to discontinue therapy altogether.

Before you stop treatment, here are some conversations to have with your therapist:

Talking to your therapist

You offended me:  Therapists are humans too, and sometimes they might accidentally hurt you.  This can look like being culturally insensitive, saying something offensive religiously, or saying something that made you feel unheard.  If this happens, tell your therapist so that they don’t make the same mistake twice.  Likely, they did not know that what they said or did was offensive.

You triggered my past trauma: When people experience trauma, they don’t always like to speak about it because it brings back unpleasant feelings and memories.  Your therapist might say something that reminds you of the person or experience that hurt you.  You might panic, dissociate or feel angry if this happens.  Please do not quit therapy, if you are being triggered you need to continue.  It is important to tell your therapist that you felt panic, numb or angry so that they know what is unresolved and what needs to be handled with caution.

I am not healing fast enough:  Therapy can take time to explore and to improve.  If you feel like the sessions are not helpful, tell your therapist so that they can explain the treatment.  Tell your therapist what your therapy goals are so that you are both on the same page.

I am feeling better: If you are feeling better, don’t hesitate to tell your therapist.  That way, they know that treatment worked in case you need to come back in the future.  They can also give you advice on how to keep yourself on track.  Don’t worry about hurting your therapist’s feelings, they will be happy you are doing well.

I am getting worse: Sometimes, it might feel like you are getting worse instead of better.  This can happen at the beginning of therapy because you might be sharing things that you have never shared before.  This can make you anxious, depressed or tired.  Let your therapist know so that they can explain the process to you.  They might also decide to take a gentler approach.

When to find a new therapist

Of course, there are times that you should find a new therapist. Here are some reasons to find someone new:

Sexual harassment: If your therapist has asked you on a date, or hinted at sexual things, you should find someone new.  Your therapist should be a safe person with boundaries.

Your therapist speaks more about themselves than listens to you:  If your therapist is speaking more about their own experiences than listening to yours, you might want to find someone new.  Therapy is about you, not your therapist.  Sometimes, a therapist will share their experiences with you so that you can connect or so that you know you are not alone.  However, this should only be used when it is relevant to the conversation that you are having.

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If you would like to set up an appointment please reach out to me on +852 2521 4668 or email m.borschel@mindnlife.com. You can book a private or Skype session.

Photo by Oliver Kepka on Pixabay