What if I Don't Like My Therapist?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Counselling and psychotherapy are at heart a relationship between you and your therapist. Reserach shows that when you feel comfortable with your therapist, you will see better results.

But at the same time, a therapist is not there to be a 'friend'. Before you make a decision based on a feeling you don't 'like' your therapist, consider the following.

1. Give it enough time before jumping to conclusions.

Like any relationship, we need time to know if we can get along with someone or not. Some people find that they are uncertain about a therapist, but then several sessions in it ‘clicks’ (or vice versa). A good rule of thumb is to try four sessions, or an assessment and three sessions, before making a decision.

2. Look for a possibility of trust instead of ‘liking’ someone.

A therapist is not there to have fun with, but to learn about yourself with. What matters is that you can trust them. It might be worth asking yourself about how easily you trust others and discussing this with your therapist. If you don’t trust other people quickly, or have never had a trusting relationship before, why would you instantly trust a therapist? Look for a feeling that you might, over time, grow to trust him or her.

3. Learn about 'transference'.

Does your therapist remind you of someone? Sometimes we think we don’t like a therapist, but it’s actually because they are triggering unresolved relationships with other people from the past or present. Called ‘transference’, we then project our unresolved feelings about that other person onto the therapist.

4. If you want to stop working together, talk about it first.

You are paying your therapist to learn about yourself. And therapists are comfortable with difficult conversations. So why not see this as an opportunity to practice your communication skills? If it turns out the problem is transference, your courage to talk might mean you have a breakthrough. Otherwise, if the therapist agrees it's simply not a click, your honesty means they might then help you find a therapist that is more suitable.

5. Follow cancellation policies if you quit.

Choosing to just not show up for a session means you'll still be charged and lose money. It also means you have wasted time the therapist could have spent helping someone else who really needed the support. So it's only fair to stick to cancellation rules and give notice you won't attend within the agreed on time frame (with Harley Therapy this means at least 48 hours before the booked slot).

For more suggestions on what to do if you don't like your therapist, read our article, What if I Don’t Trust My Therapist?.

Harley Therapy aims to offer a service you can trust. Only had one session with your therapist, and really don’t feel it’s a match? We offer you one more session with another therapist at our expense.

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