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6 Tips If You’re Thinking About ‘Firing’ Your Therapist

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I’m a very kind person. I don’t like confrontation, tend toward being passive and go out of my way to help others. It’s a great quality to have, but sometimes means I end up with Pepsi when I ordered Sprite. And I don’t say anything. (Also, I know you can be kind and speak up for yourself. But I don’t always.)

One place where I have learned to say what I feel is with a therapist. Isn’t that the whole point? It is not advantageous for either party if I don’t speak from my heart. There are many reasons why it’s important to find a good therapist. You’re investing time, money and probably some hard work confronting your fears by working with a therapist.

I started struggling with mental health in high school, but it wasn’t until my junior year of college I found a therapist who was amazing. I didn’t know it was possible.

I can objectively say I’m pretty smart. #Humblebrag. I think a lot, love to learn and I’m very observant. I need a therapist who can keep up. That doesn’t mean fancy titles or impressive credentials. It means someone who can follow my stream of consciousness that moves very fast, remind me of my wins when I’m feeling down and reign me in when I get too ambitious.

I still remember going to a first appointment with a therapist and spending 40 minutes talking with him. He looked at me after I had told him my journey with depression and anxiety, sharing where I was currently and what I needed help with. He looked at me and said, “It seems like you may have a low self-esteem.” Well, duh! Now I start conversations with doctors with the statement, “My self-esteem is not good.” Seems pretty obvious to me, but not everyone seems to get it. A banner promoting The Mighty's new Chat Space group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to talk and connect with others? Join Chat Space to check in with others or have a conversation that's not related to health (because we all need a break sometimes). Click to join.

I had another therapist who was a doctor with a degree from an impressive school and talked often of how she was a member of Mensa, the largest and oldest IQ society in the world. I had just graduated from college and was floating without a full-time job. This doctor made recommendations rather than listening and finding out what I wanted. She sent me down a few paths that weren’t right for me, so I stopped going to see her without another therapist lined up to see next. Which I don’t recommend. So, without further ado:

How to Fire Your Therapist

1. Call around and make a few appointments with new therapists. Don’t let your care lapse because you don’t want to see a particular therapist anymore.

2. Tell your therapist why you’re leaving. They may suggest you work through it. Decide if you want to try that before the appointment and be firm with your no if it’s not right for you. Share your concerns in a constructive way. Tell the therapist what is present at appointments you don’t like, or what is missing.

3. Pay your bill in full or set up a payment plan. Tie up this loose end.

4. Tell your doctor (if you have one).

5. Shop for a new therapist. There are plenty of articles to help you screen candidates and find out if they’re a good fit. But when it comes down to it, meeting is the best way to tell if it’s going to work out.

6. Share with your new therapist why you left your old one.

What would you add? Tell me in the comments below.

Original photo by author

Originally published: January 23, 2021
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