Tuesday Therapy Notes: When to Get a Therapist: For the First Time or for the Next Time

I realize that despite having this series, Tuesday Therapy Notes, which is supposed to be focused of therapy and issues surrounding therapy, that I haven’t talked about when to get a therapist. I plan to address this today, looking both at the question of when to get a therapist for the first time, but also looking at when it is time to get a new therapist.

I would argue that pretty much anyone would benefit from having a therapist. However, there are certain reasons that might make it more beneficial for you to find a therapist. Such reasons include ongoing trauma or feelings that you can’t process them. Perhaps you are trying to self-medicate or distract yourself from the trauma or from your feelings with drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc. In other cases, it might be that important self-care routines, like sleep or eating, might not be operating well.

That was the case for me. As a result of my anxiety and depression, I wasn’t sleeping very much, and my girlfriend at the time pushed me to seek professional help, a step that ultimately started my road to recovery.

However, if you already have a therapist, you might have a moment where you need to consider getting a new therapist. Some of these reasons are obvious, for example if you or they are moving away, or if there are no boundaries in the therapeutic relationship. A lack of boundaries might lead to other signs that it is time for a new therapist, which is that you feel like you can’t be truthful, or you feel shame or judged by that therapist. Other times, it might be that you aren’t seeing any new improvement or that you might need someone who specializes in a certain type of therapy.

This is something I have gone through in the past, and am considering going through now. One of my past therapists made me feel not listened to at first, then judged at second. I’m not saying she was wrong in her judgment, there were red flags I was ignoring, by regardless of that fact, you should never feel judged in a therapeutic setting. In that case, I should have gotten a new therapist, but didn’t. And the fact that I didn’t definitely hurt my recovery process.

As for my current situation, I really like my therapist. However, she is planning to go on maternity leave in a few months, and rather than start over developing a relationship with whoever covers her clients, it might be time for a new therapist. Additionally, while she has done a lot for me with my mindfulness and her CBT practice, but it might be time to try a different style.

And I can tell you that finding a therapist, whether for the first time or for the next time, can be a scary process, especially if you don’t know what to expect. That is one of the reason for this series, to help educate and hopefully take away some of that scariness. However, this series and this blog is not meant to be a substitute for therapy, merely an educational tool, one which I hope has been helpful.

As always, thanks for reading, be well.

Sources: Psychology Today – Seven Signs You Need to Find a New Therapist; Psychology Today – 5 Signs It’s Time to Seek Therapy

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