You Need Help: Is It Time To Break Up With My Therapist?

feature image via Shutterstock


Q:


I’ve been seeing a therapist on Talkspace for a year, and I don’t know if it’s… working for me? I like my therapist as a person — she’s super queer, open-minded, not fatphobic/diet-y and real down to earth. But sometimes I feel like even after I talk to her I’m not getting a lot out of it. Like, she’s good to vent to, and is a good listener, but I don’t feel like I’m getting real grounded, check-yo’ self advice from her as much as I’d like. I have BPD and am also recovering from an eating disorder, and I have a separate food therapist who is incredible and I get heaps from every session, even though I talk to her less frequently.

So… what should I do? Should I talk to my therapist about my concerns? What kinda things is it okay to expect from therapy? Should I switch therapists?

A:

First, let’s a take a second to appreciate how you’re taking care yourself! You set yourself up with a thorough support system, and you’re thinking critically about how that system can best serve your needs.

You already resonate with your Talkspace therapist’s values. Before you seek out a different therapist, talk to your current therapist about your need for more direct advice. You’re a team. It’s your therapist’s job to give you the support you’re paying for, and communicating your expectations is an integral part of the process.

If you open up to your current therapist and still don’t receive the kind of feedback you’re craving, your communication styles might not be a good match. That’s when it’s time to try a new therapist. The great news is that Talkspace saves your chat transcripts with your previous therapist, so you don’t have to rehash your whole life story with someone new.

But before you move forward with more text-based therapy, ask yourself: was it my therapist who wasn’t right for me, or was it Talkspace? I’m assuming that the food therapist you mentioned is someone you see irl. If you get more out of those sessions, in-person therapy might be more productive for you overall. Is there a way you can see your food therapist more frequently? If not, seek out a second therapist who offers in-person sessions and shares your food therapist’s style. If money is a barrier, search for slilding scale therapists in your area. Sometimes you can see a student for a much lower cost per session, and many group therapy options are sliding scale or free.

While you’re moving towards better support from professionals, put extra emphasis on the ways you’re taking care of yourself. Maybe spend some extra time journaling, meditate a little longer, spend more time outside — whatever gives you release and structure. Remind yourself that you’re doing a great job using the tools that are available to you and assessing how they serve you. It takes time to build the right support system, and you’re definitely on your way!


You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.

Malic White is a Chicago-based writer, comedian and actor. Follow Malic on Twitter and find upcoming shows on Malic's website.

Malic has written 35 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. Fwiw, I did some training to be a volunteer support person with a mental health org, and one of the principles of counselling they drummed into us was to make space for clients to draw their own conclusions rather than giving specific advice. Your therapist may favour the same approach, so I second the recommendation to directly ask for advice when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere on your own.

  2. Also text-based therapy might not be as helpful as in person, if we use attachment theory and Polyvagal theory as a base. A lot of the benefit might just come from being in a room for an hour with a healthy nervous system, practicing safe&social cues (like eye contact, prosodic voice, etc).

    Something to consider.

  3. If cost is an issue I would recommend open path psychotherapy. There’s a one time fee to join, but it gives you access to a network of therapists who have agreed to provide sliding scale slots that go as low as $30 a session.

  4. It sounds like this person is doing well, but BPD and eating disorder recovery can be very serious. If the Talkspace therapist does not feel effective (particularly if they are not using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) then they should work to find someone new, but don’t break up until you have a new therapist.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!