It May Be Time to Shift

[Part 3 in a series of 3]

It may sound a bit risky, but you can change your mind about a decision or choices you’ve made once you learn new information about the potential outcome and consequences that may come with those decisions. Far too many of us think once we make a decision, we are stuck with it, or we fear being judged if we change course and take a different direction. Believe it or not, this is true for therapy as well.

Knowing when it’s time to make a shift in therapy is a personal and individual decision. Albeit scary and confusing at times, it just might be the best decision you make for your life.

Here are 8 common signs that may indicate it’s time for a change:

  1. Lack of progress: If you’ve been attending therapy for a significant amount of time and feel like you’re not making the desired progress or seeing improvement in your well-being, it may be a sign to explore other therapeutic approaches or seek a different therapist.
  2. Feeling stuck or stagnant: If you feel stuck in your current therapy and aren’t experiencing any breakthroughs or insights, it could be a sign that a different therapeutic approach or a new therapist might offer a fresh perspective or different techniques that resonate with you.
  3. Change in goals or needs: If your goals, needs, or circumstances have evolved since starting therapy, it’s essential to assess whether your current therapeutic approach aligns with these changes. If not, it may be time to explore alternative methods that better address your current situation.
  4. Relationship issues with your therapist: I get it. Something happened. Perhaps transference, countertransference, or you just weren’t feeling your therapist that week. The therapeutic relationship is a crucial aspect of therapy. If you experience ongoing conflicts, lack of trust, or an inability to connect with your therapist, it might hinder the therapeutic process. In such cases, it may be beneficial to consider finding a new therapist with who you can build better rapport.
  5. Lack of cultural or diversity competence: If you belong to a marginalized group or have specific cultural or diversity-related needs, it’s important to consider whether your therapist has the necessary knowledge, understanding, and sensitivity to address these aspects of your identity. If you feel unheard or misunderstood in this regard, seeking a therapist who specializes in these areas may be helpful. Run, do not walk, to your nearest therapist of color directory and start the search for someone who identifies with your needs.
  6. Desire for a different therapeutic approach: Once size does not fit all. Sometimes, you may feel curious or drawn to alternative therapeutic modalities or techniques. If you’ve researched different approaches and strongly feel that another method aligns better with your preferences or needs, it might be worth exploring.
  7. Intuition or gut feeling: Trusting your instincts can be valuable. If you have a persistent feeling that something isn’t quite right or that it’s time for a change, it’s worth considering and discussing with your therapist or seeking a second opinion.
  8. Therapist Conduct: We are not perfect human beings, yet the public places high value and expectations on us to know it all. The truth is, we, too, have failings. We have mental health problems, disruptions in life, get sick, etc. And we may not be fully present for you. This is not your issue! If you notice any of these behaviors or experience concern about your therapist, speak up and ask, and have that conversation addressing how you feel. If it remains a problem…it’s time to keep it moving.

Remember, therapy is a collaborative process; open communication with your therapist about your concerns and desires for change is essential. If you can help it, don’t ghost your therapist. We are human, and we have feelings too, and if we can fix an issue, we will. Our job is to provide guidance, support, and recommendations based on our professional expertise and understanding of your situation.

In Your Wellness,
Dr. Clack