Working With a Therapist May be Keeping You Stuck!
In this blog I am going to cover why working with the wrong therapist or counsellor may be keeping you stuck, and what to look for in a therapist that can help you get to the next level, whatever that may be for you.
To start with, I have extensive experience facilitating counselling sessions, as well as being the client with many different therapists in my lifetime.
If you have been following me, you know of my history with healing severe depression, chronic anxiety, and eating disorder issues I have struggled with. I have also recovered from stage 3 adrenal fatigue, and have turned my health around using natural and alternative medicine and mind – body healing methods.
Part of my healing and recovery path has been seeking out therapy through the rough patches in my life, starting in my teen years. So, you could say I am a seasoned client of the counselling modality. 😉
Today, if I am struggling in a particular issue, I have select mentors that I go to, but nowadays I am very careful about with who I will work with. I have mentors that I work with who are not local, because I have specific things I look for when I am going to work with someone on a deep level.
The person must be several steps ahead of where I am now. If they aren’t, how will they lead me to my next level?
While I have done much inner work over the years, and have invested many thousands of dollars to get where I am today, I now have the tools to get me through the rough patches, and key go-to mentors to help me with blocks or to see things in a new way.
I am a forever student of my own growth and learning path, and personal development is something that I will always be passionate about. It’s part of who I am. It turns out, those that have similar values, are the ones who come across my work, and have the most profound shifts in our work together.
Seeking out, and getting help and support is not something to be ashamed of. Many feel shame that they are working with a counsellor, and often times, it will stop them from getting the help that they need.
Truthfully, it takes great inner- strength to admit there is a problem, and to get empowered enough to take ownership of changing your life.
It is essential to get help when you are stuck, struggling and unhappy with your life. If you choose the wrong person to work with, it can keep you stuck and finding yourself not responding to the treatment. (When I say “wrong person”, I don’t mean to make anyone wrong specifically, but wrong for you and your particular needs).
When this happens, we can start to internalize our lack or improvement, and judge ourselves harshly that there really must be something wrong or broken about us.
If a counsellor can’t help me, who can?
With the counselling and mental health field, there are things that we are trained to be aware of. So I will clear these up now so that you can identify if any of these are true for you.
There are some people who go to therapists, and don’t like what they have to say, because the truth of what was brought forth was uncomfortable. So, the client, when not receiving the answers he or she wants to hear, will dismiss what was said in session, and never come back.
There are times when this will be a pattern for certain people, and often there is an underlying resistance to what needs to be worked through.
There are many reasons why a client may ‘counsellor hop’, and the biggest is avoidance of dealing with the real issues.
I have also had countless clients come to me who have worked with many other counsellors having this experience of not getting anywhere, who have had profound shifts within one session with me.
There are many ways to see this, perhaps the other therapists were preparing them for the deeper work that I provide. Whatever the reason, many have shared with me how my approach is so different. And I have seen miraculous transformations happen in a relatively short period of time.
While you should always listen to your gut when working with anyone when it comes to your health and well-being, if you find that your pattern is to bolt when things get intense, or when something gets stirred up you make up in your mind that it is the other person, rather than your own fear and resistance, this may be what is going on for you.
My intention with this post is to give you some clear tips on how to find a therapist that is right for you, and some red flags they may not be.
The worst thing you can do is pay hundreds of dollars, and hours and hours of your time, and not get anywhere.
- Another side note: If possible, don’t make your choice based on price point. There are free mental health services out there if you’re financially in hardship, thankfully these services exist, but if you are in a place where you can invest in yourself, remember that often, with many things, you get what you pay for. Keep this in mind as you consider the following information.
Here are 5 ways that a therapist could be keeping you stuck, and may not be right for you:
- They focus too much on labels and diagnoses. What we focus on expands. If you identify with your labels, and find yourself saying “my depression”, or “my [insert health issue]” you are identifying with the condition as being who you are, and that you own it as part of who you are. When you work with a therapist that truly understands that you are whole no matter what you are experiencing, and no matter what diagnoses you have been given, you feel empowered working with them.
- The therapist focuses only on the mental aspect. Do you feel that the therapist brings in principles of emotional wellness, soul connection, as well as overall wellness recommendations into the sessions and protocol? A well rounded therapist understands that we aren’t one dimensional beings, and that being depressed isn’t just about mental health and serotonin imbalance. When we are experiencing mood ‘disorders’, we need to take a holistic approach to healing them at the root. If you aren’t responding to your treatment, this could be the reason why. We have to address the root issues.
- The therapist hasn’t been through the other side of the main issue you are seeking help with. I can’t express enough, the power of working with someone who has been where you are, and has made it through the other side. To work with someone who has been through similar struggles (and is comfortable sharing in appropriate ways) allows for a deeper connection, and trust within the therapeutic relationship. Research who you want to work with. Go to their websites and read testimonials, blogs, YouTube videos, and their “about me” page to see if anything points toward their ability to help you with what you are seeking help with. If you can’t find anything, the next step is to get on a call with them and ask about their specific expertise and experience with what you need help with. We often put more thought into purchasing a pair of shoes, that choosing the right mentors and healthcare providers!
- Does your mentor appear to be living a healthy lifestyle themselves? This is not to say that a good therapist doesn’t have health challenges, but are they leading by example with how they live their life daily through healthy lifestyle practices? I don’t know about you, but if I am seeking help from someone, I really need my mentors to be a few steps ahead of where I am, or it will just go nowhere.
- You don’t feel heard. This is a big one. You must feel heard, understood and validated by the therapist. If you feel they don’t understand you, or in any way feel judged, you will not be able to open up fully and receive the deep healing experience you could have with the right person.
The counsellor says next to nothing. You feel like you just talked to a wall the entire time. Now, the therapeutic benefits of someone holding space for you to speak your truth out loud is not the same as feeling like the person isn’t even fully present with you.
The counsellor talks too much. You feel you can’t get a word in because they do all the talking.
You leave feeling like you got nowhere. If the hour you spent leaves you feeling like you are no further ahead, you may be working with the wrong person for your needs.
You leave feeling worse. Now this one could be part of the natural process of doing healing work. When we start to process old stuff, it can feel worse before it gets better. But still, you should leave each session feeling better, and even just a bit more hopeful and uplifted than when you came in.
You don’t have clear action steps you will take. Does the therapist work with you to come up with goals for the week at the end of the session? Do you have a clear plan of action you will take to work on between sessions, or do you leave feeling like all of your wounds have been opened with little closure or understanding of how to integrate these new awareness’s into your daily life? A skilled therapist knows how to process deeper emotions, and complete the healing session with some sort of closure process.
You feel judged for your personal beliefs and choices: If you are into alternative health, taking herbs, and healing naturally, and you get the vibe that the person you are working with doesn’t agree with this, and mentions medication every other appointment, it’s going to be pretty hard to open up, let alone learn anything new about yourself. Note: If you aren’t into spirituality, soul-growth, alternative health, and open to crystals, energy healing and sage smudging, you probably won’t resonate with my style either. It goes both ways.
Tips for finding the right therapist for you:
- Check out their training and areas of expertise. Do they have specific and focused training in the field of counselling psychology? Based on my personal research when considering entering the Social Work program, many counsellors have training only in the field of social work, and little training specifically with counselling and emotional processing of clients. Be sure to ask these questions.
- Do your research. Narrow it down to 5 prospects, and research like crazy. If you can’t find anyone locally, many therapists work distance through Skype and email therapy. This can be a nice option if you like the idea of receiving your sessions from the comfort of your home. I offer Skype sessions with flexible hours. You can connect with me if you’d like to find out if we are a good fit.
- Trust your gut. No matter what, you have to trust your own intuition. The person you choose to work with and open up your deepest vulnerabilities with must feel right for you. If you find yourself holding back from really talking about what you want to talk about, pay attention. If you don’t feel safe, you won’t be able to share your real truth. And this leads to only a partial healing experience. When something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- Check out their testimonials page. Most therapists nowadays have at least some past client testimonials on their websites. Relying on word of mouth can be another avenue, but keep in mind, many don’t want to openly share that they are working with a counsellor, so this isn’t always effective.
Whoever you choose to work with, if it is the right person for you, the process will feel fluid and flowing. It will feel inspiring, and healing. You will start to blossom, and grow in all areas of your life pretty quickly without months and months of therapy. You will look forward to your counseling appointments! I have so many of my most favorite clients who have said they count the days until their next session with me. And this makes me truly happy to be doing the work that I do.
And finally, remember that fixating too much on the problems only anchors them in. We can spend a lifetime in and out of counselors offices trying to find the answers.
While it is important to work with a professional during times of intense struggle, we can become addicted to this constant seeking outside of ourselves for the answers.
Know that, while we do need others to help guide us through the dark times, to educate us, and ask us the hard questions, we also have all that we need within us right here, right now.
You are already whole, you have just become disconnected from the parts of you that you have disowned or have been neglecting.
You are not broken.
If you would like to work with me on a deep level and shift the direction of your life in a powerful way, my 30 Day Sacred Self Discovery Deep Healing program includes 4 // 1:1 sessions, accompanying videos, eBooks, and guided meditation and mindset audio MP3 recordings to support your journey.
Just need some guidance you can run with and apply in your life? Check out my online DIY programs!
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