5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Therapist

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Recovery involves many crucial components. Therapy is one of the tools that often proves key to successful sobriety…but for that to happen, therapy itself has to be successful.

How can you tell if your own therapy is on the wrong path? When is it time to say goodbye to your therapist and find someone new? If you are in addiction therapy and experience any of the following scenarios, it’s likely that time.

Sign #1 Boredom

Kelly knew therapy wasn’t supposed to offer the excitement of a sporting event, but she thought this was ridiculous. Her therapist rarely said a word. She knew it was his job to listen, but shouldn’t he have SOME input? Shouldn’t she feel challenged? Confronted? Inspired? Something other than bored?

Kelly decided her therapist was too unresponsive and passive. He didn’t challenge her. It was time to wake him up and tell him goodbye.

Sign #2 Stagnation

His hope and goal for therapy was change. Bill was in his seventh year of addiction – and he wanted it to be his last. He was ready for a sober life. He hoped therapy would help him grow into the person he wanted to be. The problem was, he had been in therapy for a few months and didn’t see any progress.

Bill could point to a few things that were different in his life compared to a year ago, but he couldn’t credit therapy with those differences. His therapist didn’t seem to be helping him with relationships, lack of confidence, anxiety or any other emotional issues. He didn’t see any growth or change, so Bill decided to make a change…in his choice of therapist.

Sign #3 Inappropriateness

After several sessions with her therapist, Jill felt hopeful that she was making progress. She felt comfortable sharing her struggles with alcoholism; she and her therapist were digging to the root of the issues that drove her to drink in the first place. Things were going great…until the end of her most recent session.

As Jill was preparing to leave, her therapist casually threw out the suggestion that he should take her out for a drink Saturday night. “You’re doing great. You’ve made such great progress. You deserve a night out. I promise I won’t tell anyone.”

There were so many things wrong with what he had suggested, Jill didn’t know where to start her objections to his unprofessional behavior. Shocked, she simply left, deciding to immediately contact a different therapist for continued treatment.

Sign #4 Hypocrisy

Randy thought his therapist was acting odd. She came off very different than she had in previous sessions. Randy chalked it up to a bad day – everyone has them. But the next time they met, it was the same. Suddenly, it dawned on Randy. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t spotted it before! His therapist was stoned. He had enough experience from his own addiction to recognize the signs. While offering counsel to Randy about staying sober, his therapist was high as a kite.

How could she help Randy find his way if she was not in a healthy place with her own addiction? Clearly, Randy’s therapist needed some treatment of her own and it was time for Randy to find a new counselor.

Sign #5 Disrespect

After 15 minutes, Vicki decided to leave. This was the fourth time her therapist had been late – and she had only seen her six times. Once the counselor cancelled shortly before her appointment. She rescheduled, but then she was late for the second rescheduled session. Clearly, patients weren’t a priority for this therapist.

Vicki needed – and deserved – someone who did not show a lack of respect for her time and their commitments. She decided to use the rest of her appointment time locating a different therapist.



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