By: Melissa A. Kay
You may be seeing a therapist to help you through issues you've been suffering with emotionally or mentally. Taking that important step to take control over your life is not always an easy one, so kudos to you for being strong and determined to change your life for the better with the help of a professional.
Whether you've been in therapy for 3 weeks or 3 years, if you begin to question the benefits of your sessions, the quality of care you are receiving, or simply whether the therapy is worth your while, you should listen to your gut and assess the situation seriously. Your emotional and mental health is at stake, so pay attention to any warning signs that may lead you to making the decision to discontinue seeing your therapist. You may not be done with therapy yet, but you may fare better by finding someone new to help you manage or resolve your personal issues.
You are beginning to "have feelings" for your therapist
You spend time with your therapist and reveal your innermost thoughts and most personal problems and secrets. You trust him or her in a way you cannot or have not with anyone else you know. Engaging in this level of intimacy can result in developing feelings for your therapist that may cross the line into the romantic or sexual realm. It can prevent you from being able to have productive sessions since your mind is otherwise preoccupied.
As per PsychCentral, "Your feelings are actually understandable. Therapists tend to be non-judgmental, compassionate, empathic, patient, good listeners who spend time and effort getting to know you and focus on your strengths." PsychCentral continues by suggesting confessing these emotions to your therapist, and a good one will know how to handle it.
If the therapist helps you understand why you feel the way you do and can explain why your feelings may actually be based on other issues you're dealing with and are being transferred onto them, you may stand a shot at continuing the therapy with this therapist. However, if you begin to feel too uncomfortable or awkward in the therapist's presence, you may need to call it quits. Perhaps your therapist can refer you to someone else who can help you.
You can no longer afford it
It seems logical to quit therapy when you don't have the funds, but some people continue with therapy even when they are strapped for money. This can add even more stress to the person's life, as they are piling more issues onto their plate. Of course, the problems won't go away on their own, but spending money you don't have isn't wise. Until your financial situation is stable, quitting therapy may be the only solution. During this period, talking with a trusted friend or family member or seeking a support group is a helpful option that may prove beneficial.
That said, as per Good Therapy, "Try explaining the situation to your therapist and find out if he or she will adjust the fee. Most therapists work on a sliding scale, meaning they move their fee up and down within a certain window based on what their clients can afford. The reasoning behind this practice is that the frequency and nature of therapeutic treatment should be based on what is in the best interest of the client, not what is in their wallet. Tell your therapist what you can afford, and the two of you will likely be able to negotiate a mutually agreeable fee."
Unfortunately, money matters seep into all areas of our lives. Perhaps you can cut back in other areas so you can continue with your therapy.
Your therapist isn't focused or invested
While you are baring your soul and spilling your heart out, your therapist is yawning and twiddling his thumbs. It's not you, it's him. It is your therapist's job to take note of every detail and consider your presence important, no matter what. This isn't a friend who has grown tired of hearing your woes, he or she is a professional with your well-being in their hands.
According to The New York Times, "If your therapist is a clock-watcher, calls you by the wrong name or dozes off, you should move on. Therapy is expensive, and you should be getting what you go in for: full and effective attention and help."
Stop seeing an inadequate therapist as soon as possible and find one who has your best interest at heart. There are plenty of well-trained and successful therapists who will give you their undivided attention and a plan for treatment.