I’m just gonna go ahead and say it…

There are a lot of bad therapists out there.

Think about it — almost anyone can obtain a license in a therapy program (as long as they have the money to shell out for one).

And yet, we’re eagerly placing our mental health in their hands. We’re sharing our most vulnerable moments with these people without thinking twice. 🤯

That’s an INSANE amount of trust to hand over to a stranger. Especially without properly vetting them first.

But don’t let me scare you away from seeking professional help… During the most gutting and isolating times of your life (hello, divorce!), taking the time to choose the right therapist is so worth it. 

The expert guidance during this time will serve you well. There are just a few things to keep in mind as you search for a quality provider. 

As you’re trying out a new therapist, you may come to a place where something feels… off. 

Things aren’t clicking…

You’re not growing…

You feel misunderstood…

If this happens, don’t be discouraged! Humans are nuanced beings. Locking down the perfect fit may take some time. And every mismatch just means you’re able to open the door to someone who will be more aligned with you and meet your needs.

So how do you know when it’s time to break up with your therapist?

Honestly, if you really listen to your gut, you’ll feel it there first. But sometimes, listening to your gut can be easier said than done. 

Especially if you’re someone who’s been conditioned your entire life to ignore warning signs. So for those people, I’ll spell out some red flags for therapists who may not have your best interest at heart.

🚩 They don’t respect your boundaries.

Don’t ignore the times your therapist just made you feel icky. If there is any nonconsensual touching, don’t walk — RUN. This professional is using their role and abusing your trust to meet their own needs. It’s unethical as hell and should be reported. And if they’re prying too far into a sensitive subject when you’re not ready to share, this indicates a lack of respect for you. 

🚩 They don’t have the right training.

There is no provider adequately equipped to handle every single issue for every single person. That’s unrealistic and downright impossible. After a few sessions, if you notice that no progress is being made, your therapist may not have the proper training in your specific issue. Find someone with training in the right specialty to receive the best treatment.

🚩 You feel judged and ashamed.

You should 🚫NEVER🚫 feel this way in a therapy session. If you do, it may be because of countertransference, where your therapist is projecting their feelings about someone in their own life onto you. This is unprofessional and does a disservice to you. Therapy should be a safe space.

🚩 They violated confidentiality.

Trust is KEY in this kind of relationship. When you suspect a therapist has broken your trust, you’ll never be able to open up to them again. If you’re worried your vulnerabilities are being exposed without your consent, you can kiss progress goodbye with that therapist (and also report them!).

🚩 They’re taking sides in your relationship.

This applies to those in couples counseling. The focus is entirely different in couples work — the relationship should be treated as the client, not an individual. An ethical therapist would never be able to effectively treat the marriage AND one of the individuals at the same time. This presents a conflict of interest and should be avoided.

🚩 They talk about themselves… a lot.

Your therapist should be providing a service to YOU. They are getting paid to help you with your issues. Some self-disclosure can be appropriate and really helpful within a therapy session. But it becomes problematic when the conversation feels centered around their experience, not yours.

Nodding your head?

Love, it may be time to break it off and search for a new therapist. AND THAT’S OKAY.

After all, you’re here for authenticity and real growth. You don’t settle for things that don’t honor you anymore, remember?!

So now you’re at the awkward part… doing the thing. You know… the breakup

How the hell do you approach this?

Well, if you consider the transgression to be mild, you could always voice your concerns and give your provider a chance to improve. 

The thought of this may make your teeth chatter (I’m looking at you, people pleasers 👀). 

But you can do this. Consider it an exercise of PUTTING 👏YOURSELF 👏FIRST 👏. 

If you find that no real change is happening following the confrontation, then a breakup will be necessary.

My challenge for you: do it in person during your session. It’ll be good for you! Yeah, it’ll feel ballsy. But who says you can’t be ballsy and compassionate at the same time?

Let them know you appreciate their work, but you’re looking for something different now. Then pat yourself on the damn back for speaking up for yourself. You deserve it! 

Let me be clear though… I’m not suggesting you give a therapist a second chance or an in-person breakup if they’re engaging in abusive behavior. If they’re inappropriately touching you in any way, report them immediately.

Now you’re free to embark on the journey for your dream therapist. The good news is: there are tons of kick-ass therapists out there with legitimate training who truly do want to help you

They’re the ones who are honest and upfront. A good therapist will disclose whether they have the expertise required for your treatment.

They’re present throughout your session. You can tell by the way they listen, engage, and offer advice.

They’re clear about their boundaries. You can learn so much from their example.

They challenge you and inspire progress. And isn’t that the entire point?

During a divorce, you’ll need expert guidance as you begin to rebuild your life. Armed with a quality therapist and my Ultimate Divorce Starter Kit, you’ll have the direction you need to not only stay afloat, but rebuild your life on your own terms.