You might be in therapy for a while (and that’s okay)! But there comes a time in everyone’s journey when they need to reassess if their current therapist is the right fit.
When it comes to therapy, there are no set guidelines on how long you should stay with the same therapist.
If you’re like most people, finding the right therapist is a process. You talk to friends, do some research, and maybe even go through a few therapists before you find the one that’s right for you.
Once you’ve found the perfect therapist, how long should you stay with them? Is there a time limit? Or is it okay to stay with the same online therapist indefinitely?
Here are some signs that it might be time to switch therapists.
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How Do I Know Its’ Time to Switch Therapists?
In general, clients should stay in therapy for as long as they feel like they are growing and making progress. Once you start to feel like you’re not growing anymore, or in a sense, it seems you’ve outgrown your current therapist, it may be time to consider switching therapists. It is good if you’ve been with the same therapist for a while and made progress and strides in your personal growth, then reached a plateau; a new therapist can potentially help you grow in new directions.
But, before making any decisions, there are a few things you should consider. First, think about why you started therapy in the first place and whether or not your goals have been met. If so, and you find that you aren’t continuing to grow, it may be time to find a new therapist. If you have not been growing and don’t see the change in yourself you’d like to see, it may be time to find a new therapist.
Ultimately, deciding how long to stay in therapy is personal, and you should do what feels right for you.
You’re Feeling Stagnant with Your Current Therapist
If you feel like you’re not making any progress in therapy, it might be time to switch. Your therapist should help you grow and change. If you feel stuck, it might mean that your therapist isn’t challenging you enough or that you’ve grown as far as you can with your current therapist and need a new one to challenge you in different ways.
Of course, there will be times when growth is slow, but if you feel like you’ve been stuck in the same place for months (or even years), it might be time for a change.
If your growth is beginning to feel stagnant, it’s important to communicate this with your therapist. It’s normal to feel like you’ve hit a plateau after some time in therapy; even therapists feel this sometimes.
If this happens, your therapist will likely be open to discussing new goals or approaches. If you’re feeling really stuck, you might even consider switching to a different therapist or type of psychotherapy.
Remember that individual therapy is supposed to be helpful for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up if something isn’t working.
You Feel Like You’ve Outgrown Your Therapist:
Sometimes, people enter therapy at a different stage in their life than they are when they finish.
If you find yourself thinking, “my therapist just doesn’t get me,” it might be because you’ve outgrown them. This isn’t necessarily bad; it just means that you need someone who can understand where you’re coming from now.
It can be tough when you feel like you’ve outgrown your therapist. You might have seen them for years, but they don’t seem to get it. It can feel like you’re stuck in a rut, and nothing seems to change no matter what you talk about. If this is how you’re feeling, it might be time to consider a different therapist.
Never fear – changing therapists can be quite beneficial as it allows you a clean slate to focus on your specific needs and concerns.
Your Therapist Isn’t Respectful
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your therapist isn’t respecting your boundaries, or is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, it’s time to find someone new. Having a therapist push you in therapy is good, but not to the point where you are not feeling respected. You may feel uncomfortable with the growth or therapist prodding and challenging and that is very different then feeling like your boundaries are being pushed or violated or feeling consistently at unease with your therapist.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When it comes to therapy, you sometimes need to switch therapists.
There are many reasons why someone might need to switch therapists. Maybe you’re feeling stagnant in your growth, or maybe you no longer feel like your therapist understands you.
Maybe your therapist isn’t respecting your boundaries or making you feel comfortable. If any of these things are true for you, it might be time to start looking for a new therapist who can better meet your needs.
Lindsey Ferris, MS, LMFTA, Washington State