Read Dr. Alison Ross in U.S. News and World Report discussing the difficult topic of when to ‘break up’ with a therapist and try someone else. The therapeutic relationship is an extremely important component of successful therapy and depends on a number of different, deeply personal factors. Even the ‘best’ therapist is not right for everyone.
How do you tell your therapist you aren’t happy with the results? “My advice would be to do so honestly, directly and constructively,” says Alison Ross, a psychologist and adjunct associate professor at City College of New York. “Therapists are people, too, so the more calmly and clearly you approach the issue, the greater the likelihood that the conversation you’re having with him will have a positive outcome – whether that’s getting the therapist to see where she or he is falling short, or agreeing that you and your therapist are not a good match, or seeing what you are doing that may be getting in the way of your making better use of the therapy sessions.”
She acknowledges that it’s difficult to start over with a new therapist, but that many people need to try more than one therapist until they find the right match. Along with a referral from your current therapist, you might find another therapist by asking a friend, family member or trusted colleague if they know someone they think highly of, Ross says. Another option is the website psychologytoday.com, which has an easy link to find psychologists by ZIP code. “I would also recommend meeting with a number of different therapists – to ‘shop around’ and, in essence, interview each therapist to see who you click with,” Ross says.
Along with gathering practical information, patients should be considering the more emotional aspects of the interview. “During your first meeting you can ask yourself the following questions: Do I feel comfortable talking to this person? Are they understanding me, and what I’m saying? Do they seem interested and invested in getting to know me? Are their comments thoughtful and on target?” Ross says. In addition, the APA points out that: “While you’re assessing a psychologist, he or she will also be assessing you. To ensure that psychotherapy is successful, the psychologist must determine whether there’s a good match when it comes to personality as well as professional expertise.” The therapist may feel the fit isn’t right for any number of reasons, and may refer you to another therapist with a different skill set.
To read the whole article, click here.