Even though going to therapy is becoming more and more normalized, taking the plunge to finally go and see a therapist can be intimidating. You might have to research thoroughly, call several offices, and have multiple visits before finding the right therapist. You might even have a terrible experience with therapy and not want to keep trying. However, giving therapy a second chance can be worth it, although you might face some unique challenges that others will not face in their healing journey.
Having a negative experience when it comes to therapy might be more common than you think. Because you are an individual with a personalized history and unique needs, not all therapists will be the right ones for you. There are many valid reasons you may choose to stop going to a therapist. These include:
Personalities did not click
The therapist seems bored or uninterested
Your therapist is not equipped to handle your needs
However, just because a therapist did not work out for you does not mean that you should give up on therapy forever.
If you have trauma, you may not have had success with a therapist if they were not trauma-informed. Trauma-informed therapy is more effective at healing those with trauma than other types of therapy. Finding a therapist who understands the nuances of complex trauma can make a world of difference in therapy.
Because experiencing trauma affects so many other aspects of your life, a holistic provider who treats you completely can help you get to the root of your trauma to heal. On the other hand, therapists who are not trauma-informed may just treat the symptom and not the underlying cause, leading to short-term results that don't last when you leave therapy.
Again, not all therapists will be right for you. You might have had a mild experience, like not clicking with your therapist's personality, or a more severe one, like being outright invalidated by your therapist. Unfortunately, sometimes negative experiences with therapy can cause more trauma.
You may feel bitter, distrustful, and defeated after a negative therapy experience. Going to therapy involves a massive amount of courage and vulnerability, and it can be challenging to open up to a stranger just to get shut down. For this reason and many others, it is critically important to understand that while a therapist may have been wrong for you, you should not give up on therapy as a whole. Finding the right therapist is the way to work toward real, tangible healing results that last.
After a bad experience, it can be tempting to give up on the whole process. It is okay to take a short break from the therapy search to help you recharge. However, you don't have to wait until you feel entirely recovered from the negative therapy experience to look for another therapist. In fact, being upfront with potential therapists about your negative experience can help you know whether or not they are right for you.
A good therapist will respond by validating your experience, listening intently, and working to do whatever you may need to establish firm trust between you two in the present. During your session with a new potential therapist, you can pay attention to how they react to your story as well as other factors, such as:
Do you feel heard?
Are they qualified to treat your unique needs?
Do they validate your experience?
Do you feel comfortable talking to them?
How do they make you feel in general?
These questions can be a great starting point in helping you determine whether or not a therapist is right for you. During your negative therapy experience, you might have learned what you absolutely do not want in a therapist–this can help you as you are searching for a therapist that is a better fit.
If you feel uncomfortable going to in-person therapy because of past negative experiences, telehealth therapy is a great alternative. Because it is virtual, you can give therapy another chance from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Unfortunately, life is not perfect. This means that you may run into a therapist who is a bad fit–or two, or three. You might find an amazing therapist that you click with perfectly, only to find they are leaving their practice. You could meet a potential therapist you like but realize your insurance does not cover your visits to this particular provider.
In any case, the important thing to remember is that you are the driving force in your healing journey. There are many good therapists out there who can help you heal and work on the things you need to work on. Persevering through the search for a good therapist can take a while, but it is worth it.
Going to therapy is a challenging and sometimes scary experience. Learning how to be open with a therapist you don't know can feel very vulnerable, especially when you have had a negative experience with therapy in the past. You deserve a therapist who will validate your concerns and make you feel safe. A therapist equipped to handle your unique situation will make all the difference in your healing journey. If you have trauma, a trauma-informed therapist will understand how complex trauma can affect every part of your life. At SokyaHealth, our licensed, compassionate therapists understand that you are a unique individual with a personalized history. We treat you as a whole person, not just your symptoms so that you can find lasting healing. Our approach is holistic and understanding. We offer teletherapy sessions to help you feel comfortable and safe as you explore your therapy options. Call us today for more information at (877) 840-6956.