What to Do If a Therapist Isn’t a Good Fit For Your Family

Family counseling can help guide you connect and support each other as a family. This can be beneficial to your teen—and the rest of your family—as they recover from a mental health issue or addiction.

The right therapist can help you connect to your kids and provide them with a resource to help them process things in a healthy way. Living with someone who is struggling with their mental health or addiction can be challenging—and family dynamics can play a big part in how your teen deals it. So what should you do if the help you’ve enlisted isn’t quite the right kind?

Everyone has a different therapy style. Different therapists have different ideas and methods, and different families will have certain techniques that work for them.

Signs That You Need a New Therapist

Family with therapist

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You don’t feel comfortable with them. It’s important that the whole family feels comfortable with the therapist that you’re working with. A good relationship between the client and the professional is crucial to therapy being effective.

If your teen does not feel comfortable with your counselor, they will be less likely to open up and have meaningful conversations during sessions.

You’re unclear what their approach is. Therapists should be able to explain to you step by step how they will help you solve your problems and achieve your goals as a family.

They misinterpret your words. A good counselor will listen without judgement, and will not put words in your mouth. If your therapist is twisting your words, interrupting you or is unreceptive to feedback, that could be a sign that it’s time for you to make a change.

Before you decide to stop working with your current therapist and search for a new one, speak with them openly about your concerns. They may be able to adjust their methods to make the relationship work better. If they are hostile to your concerns, that’s a good sign that it’s time to start working with someone new.

How to Fire Your Therapist

If you do come to the conclusion that you have selected the wrong therapist and their approach is not working for you or your family, respectfully express your dissatisfaction and explain that you are not seeing the progress that you hoped for.

They may be eager to adapt to meet your needs. Depending on your situation, you may want to give them a chance to work with you in a different way. Otherwise, thank them for their efforts, but tell them that their services are no longer helpful to you.

If your therapist is upset that you don’t want to continue working with them, or they are hostile or dismissive of your concerns, they are justifying your decision. Be polite but firm.

How to Find a Better Therapist

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If you are on good terms with your current therapist, but just have personality mismatch, ask if they can recommend a colleague to you. They will know the style of the person they are suggesting and can provide insight into how another person would be a better match for your family. Your family doctor may also be able to make a recommendation.

Do some research before selecting someone new. Find out what their approach to helping people is. Look for someone compassionate, optimistic and professional.

Remember not to get frustrated by a lack of progress. Recovery is a slow process, no matter how good your therapist is. And if the therapist you’ve hired really isn’t working out, that doesn’t mean that therapy is a waste of time and money. It could just mean you haven’t found the right fit for your family yet.

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