7 Signs You Should Consider Finding a New Counselor

Over the years, I have heard about many negative experiences from clients based on their experiences with other counselors. After listening to the hurt and dissatisfaction they have previously received, I congratulate them on their courage to try counseling once more. Most people do not come to therapy when their life is going great; no, they decide to call a counselor after experiencing a rough patch like losing a job, going through a divorce, or suffering a health decline. The role of a counselor is to help them work through this period and come out stronger at the other end. Poor therapy tactics can actually cause a person to have a setback, instead.

Below are are a few of the negative statements clients have had to say about a counselor from their past:

1. Took Sides: If you are seeing a marriage counselor, they should not take one spouse's side over the other. Their responsibility is to help the two of you find a way to bridge the divide that you've been living with, and to present you both with tools you can use to communicate more effectively or to help heal old or fresh wounds. The only way a counselor is ever encouraged to take sides is if someone's life is in danger.

2. Broke Confidentiality: Psychotherapists are bound by state and federal laws to protect your privacy. While they most likely will keep records of your session to share with other physicians later on if you require it or if they are called to testify in court, they should not share any of this information with any other clients or their family members or friends. Actually, if your therapist sees you in the street, they should also not even recognize that you are in therapy to fully protect your privacy.¹

3. Fell Asleep During Sessions: Although this seems like something you would only see in a movie, enough clients have mentioned this about previous counselors to make it real. This is incredibly unprofessional and understandably could make anyone feel offended or that their problems do not matter.

4. Did Not Listen: Sometimes this one can be hard to pick up on, but if your therapist does not make eye contact with you while you are speaking or demonstrates welcoming body posture, there is a good chance that they are not really listening to what you are saying. They might also only state generic phrases, such as "okay," "u-hum," or "right." You want someone who is actively listening to you and can reflect back on the words you just said.

5. Did Not Provide Goals or Strategy Solutions: While you should voice your problems during your counseling sessions, this is more for your counselor to figure out the best strategies to help you face the world. Although some people just need to talk through what is bothering them, many others would like an actual solution for dealing with what they are going through. At the end of your session, your therapist should provide you with some type of homework to tackle before your next session that will make it easier for you to handle what is bothering you.

6. Did Not Click: Since you are discussing intimate life details, it is important to find someone you feel comfortable speaking with and who you feel connected to. Also, if your therapist acts a certain a way, says, or does something that becomes a core focus in your mind during your visits instead of your treatment, it might be best to start looking for someone else to continue your sessions with.

7. Was Only Interested in Prescribing Medication: Although medication can be helpful in some instances, it should not be the first and only go to method for your counselor.

If you are currently experiencing any of these situations, it is strongly recommended that you seek out a new counselor to help you with your treatment. Counselors who act in any of these ways are not helping you to better your situation.

The bottom line of therapy will always come down to, "Did it work?" Counselors who act in any of the above situations or who do not vibe well with your personality will not help you to heal. This does not mean that all counseling is a waste of time or that your situation is hopeless. If you are willing to be brave, there is a counselor who will truly listen to your problems and help you come up with an effective solution for dealing with and moving past them.


  1. August 4, 2015. Client confidentiality. GoodTherapy.org. Retrieved from www.goodtherapy.or/blog/psychpedia/client-confidentiality

Image by Istvan Banyai Retrived from nymag.com/new/features/sleeping-shrinks-2011-3/

Posted in Counseling on May 17, 2017

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