Knowing how to change Psychologists can be a delicate topic to handle. The decision to start therapy isn’t usually one that people take lightly. However, it is difficult to know how to choose the right provider for you. For tips on how to pick the right psychologist check out this post How to Choose the Right Therapist
Is this as far as we go?
After you have been seeing a psychologist for a while it is possible that you discover they are not the right fit for you any longer. This could be intentional based on the objectives the psychologist aims to help you with. The therapy goals of some programs or providers are aimed more at stabilization, early intervention or possibly getting the client to a certain point in their journey. It is common when clients go to a residential treatment program for them to get to a defined point in their recovery. At that point they would then transition to another provider to continue their therapy.
The same dynamic could happen when seeing an individual psychologist as well. This is another reason to be clear with your psychologist when you start therapy about what you expect and what they expect from your meetings. For example, you might feel better about the situation if you knew from the beginning that they were comfortable helping you deal with your grief but weren’t an expert in addiction so you would need to see someone else to work on your alcohol misuse. That would be better to know up front than discovering this after several weeks of sessions.
Did I pick a bad one?
Another circumstance is if you find that you feel uncomfortable with your psychologist. Like any other type of professional whether they be an accountant, plumber, lawyer, builder etc. there are some that are amazing, some are competent, but someone also came bottom of the class. Unfortunately, maybe you did choose one that either isn’t able to help you with your specific issue or worse yet did something inappropriate. It is helpful to consider whether the situation is more a style mismatch or actual unprofessional conduct. This will help you clarify what your next steps should be.
What can I do about it?
If you are feeling like you are not able to progress with your psychologist you should start with a conversation with them. Let them know your concerns. This open dialogue can be a real opportunity for growth. They may have said something provocative to you intentionally to challenge your stuck thinking not to be disrespectful. However, there are situations when psychologists do cross the line and don’t’ maintain their professional boundaries. This is when you may want to consider leaving them. You should still plan to have the conversation about why you find it difficult to continue your relationship with them.
Typically there is a process of how to handle concerns described in the documents provided at the beginning of treatment. This may include to speak to the therapist, the director of the centre etc. In extreme cases it may also be worth contacting the provider’s credentialing board or professional association if you aren’t able to resolve the matter directly.
I was recently interviewed for an article published by Mamamia covering what to do if you think your psychologist may not be the right one for you (and how to know).