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If You've Ever Had a 'Bad' Therapist, This Comic Is For You

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If you’ve ever sought treatment for your mental health, chances are you’ve come across a therapist or two who weren’t quite the right fit for you.

Maybe you didn’t jive well with their therapeutic style. Maybe you didn’t feel heard or understood in your sessions. Or maybe they just didn’t have the skills to treat your specific mental health issues.

Regardless of whether a therapist is actively doing something “harmful” in treatment or is simply not equipped to give you the support you need, there are some red flags that can let you know a therapist isn’t the right fit.

That’s why Matilda Heindow, artist and creator of the Instagram account, @crazyheadcomics, decided to create a comic about therapist “warning signs” to be aware of.

“I advocate for therapy a lot, and therefore I get many questions about how you know if your therapist is right for you, so I decided to make the illustration,” Heindow told The Mighty. “If you’re not an experienced therapy-goer, it might be difficult to know what’s good or bad behavior from your therapist.”

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in every profession, there are people who aren’t gonna be very good at their jobs. it happens with therapists, too. it’s important to know what warning signs you should look out for in a therapist. these are some things that ring alarm bells. now to be fair, i’ve had therapists that didn’t specialize in my issues that still helped me a lot, because they were amazing in all other ways, and devoted their time to understanding me and helping me regardless. i’ve also had therapists that still had some work to do before they were fully trained, that helped me too. but i’ve also had a therapist that embodied many, many of these warning signs, and that was an absolute shitshow. be mindful of your therapists behavior !! it’s so important to switch therapists if you feel like your current one isn’t helping you at all. if they are making you feel worse after a session, if they are unprofessional, if they make you uncomfortable again and again, you don’t have to keep working with them. there are so many amazing therapists out these who devoted their professional career to helping people, those are the people you want to go to. you are wasting both time and money when you go to a therapist that isn’t helping you. a therapist should help you heal, not waste your time. ???? • • • #mentalhealth #mentalillness #mentalhealthawareness #psynligt #nostigma #mentalhealthwarrior #recovery #schizophrenia #eatingdisorders #bulimia #anorexia #ptsd #borderline #bpd #ocd #bipolar #bipolardisorder #anxiety #depression #pain #chronicillness #adhd #art #digitalart #artistsoninstagram #comic #crazyheadcomics #therapy

A post shared by ⭐️ ???????????????????????????? ⭐️ (@crazyheadcomics) on

Heindow explained that knowing warning signs of a therapist who isn’t right for you can be vital for your mental health. Sometimes a therapist who is right for someone else, might not be the right fit for you, and that’s OK. She explained:

I think it’s important to know these warning signs, so you don’t get exploited, mistreated or waste precious time and money on a therapist that isn’t very good at their job, or someone who is a good therapist, but just isn’t right for you.

The “warning signs” she includes in the comic are as follows:

  1. They ignore confidentiality
  2. They over-share
  3. You don’t feel listened to
  4. There just isn’t chemistry
  5. They make you feel inferior
  6. You don’t trust them
  7. You feel like you’re getting nowhere
  8. They dodge your questions
  9. They talk over you
  10. They don’t specialize in your issues
  11. You feel judged, shamed or unsafe
  12. They don’t respond actively
  13. You leave each session feeling disappointed
  14. They push you too much
  15. There’s any romantic attraction from any side
  16. They habitually miss, cancel or come late to sessions
  17. They seem overly affected by your problems
  18. They try to be your friend
  19. They do not have sufficient training

Knowing the warning signs of a therapist who isn’t the right fit is often the first step. The next step is knowing what qualities to look for in a therapist. Heindow told The Mighty finding the right therapist is like dating:

It’s a little bit like dating, in a sense — finding your perfect match. You’ll want someone you trust and communicate openly with. A good listener, someone who asks questions and is able to keep a conversation going. In my opinion, there needs to be chemistry between the client and the therapist, some sort of human connection that makes it feel comfortable and more natural. You want to feel like you’re getting somewhere during your sessions — that’s important. Preferably they’ll give you homework and things you can work on during your own time. And I love having a therapist I can laugh and joke with. That’s important to me.

As many people who have dated before know, it’s not always easy. Finding a therapist can be hard work sometimes but it’s worth it.

To anyone struggling to find the right therapist, Heindow has some words of wisdom to share.

“Be patient! It’s absolutely OK to be picky. You shouldn’t settle for a therapist you’re not clicking with, and if something doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition,” she said. “But at the same time, give every therapist a fair chance, and make sure to get a feel of their working style before you decide whether they’re for you or not.”

If you’re struggling to find the right therapeutic match, you’re not alone. Below are some more resources about therapy that can hopefully help you along your therapeutic journey.

Header via @crazyheadcomics Instagram

Originally published: April 22, 2019
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