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Old 02-22-2012, 06:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default How do you tell your therapist it isn't working?

Hi everyone, this is my first post here.

Here's my background story, or if you don't want to read it you can skip to the next paragraph.
I've felt anxiety about public speaking since around 7th-8th grade. It was never anything I thought was unusual. I was told everyone gets nervous. I would always get really nervous before a presentation, but usually always felt afterwards that it went well, and no one could tell. Recently, however, in the past year it's gotten much worse. I am studying to be a speech pathologist and last semester for one of my classes we had a ten minute mini practice session with a client. My professor was watching me through the mirror. I was incredibly nervous for weeks leading up to it, and this was the first time I experienced my hands uncontrollably shaking. After that, every presentation I've had to give my hands have started shaking which makes me really self-conscious that people can tell I'm nervous. And because I was unable to handle a ten minute fake session, I'm worried I won't be able to handle being an SLP as a career. It has me doubting everything about my future and I'm graduating this semester! Finally, the most recent presentation I had to give, I felt like I was having a full blown panic attack for the first time. My legs were shaking badly, and once I could hear my voice sounding shaky and weak, it got really bad. This humiliating experience finally led me to call the on campus Anxiety center.

I've had two sessions with my therapist, and I really don't feel like it's a good fit. It's hard to explain why, though. He doesn't make me feel like he really cares about me, and at times he smiles weirdly and makes me feel like he's laughing at me.There are certain people that make me feel instantly comfortable, and certain people that heighten my anxiety. And he is the latter. I would have thought a social anxiety therapist would be someone incredibly warm and friendly and nice to make you comfortable, but he is awkward himself and it makes me feel even more awkward! If I can't relax around him, how can I benefit from therapy? I know I have to right to choose a different therapist for a better fit, but I just don't know how to go about this. Should I talk to him? Should I talk to the receptionist? Will they ask me why, or will they give me a new therapist, no questions asked? How do I explain that I just don't like him very much? I think the easiest thing to say would be that I'd feel more comfortable with a woman.

I don't know whether to ask for a new therapist or quit altogether. It's SO much money. Even though my parents are paying for it, I still feel incredibly guilty having them pay for something that isn't working and I'm hating. I feel like my symptoms aren't that bad. I experience some anxiety outside of public speaking, but nothing that really hinders my life in any way. I have a perfectly fine social life. And public speaking can be avoided, especially after I graduate.

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to give me any advice. This is just such a difficult situation and I don't know how to handle it. I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. There's no nice way to tell someone you don't want to see them any more!
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I've had two sessions with my therapist, and I really don't feel like it's a good fit. It's hard to explain why, though. He doesn't make me feel like he really cares about me, and at times he smiles weirdly and makes me feel like he's laughing at me.There are certain people that make me feel instantly comfortable, and certain people that heighten my anxiety. And he is the latter. I would have thought a social anxiety therapist would be someone incredibly warm and friendly and nice to make you comfortable, but he is awkward himself and it makes me feel even more awkward! If I can't relax around him, how can I benefit from therapy? I know I have to right to choose a different therapist for a better fit, but I just don't know how to go about this. Should I talk to him? Should I talk to the receptionist? Will they ask me why, or will they give me a new therapist, no questions asked? How do I explain that I just don't like him very much? I think the easiest thing to say would be that I'd feel more comfortable with a woman.

I don't know whether to ask for a new therapist or quit altogether. It's SO much money. Even though my parents are paying for it, I still feel incredibly guilty having them pay for something that isn't working and I'm hating. I feel like my symptoms aren't that bad. I experience some anxiety outside of public speaking, but nothing that really hinders my life in any way. I have a perfectly fine social life. And public speaking can be avoided, especially after I graduate.
Definitely go this route. Once I had to switch therapists (between two female ones) and it was so awkward and I felt so bad, but then I realised the therapist probably didn't even care. So yeah just say you feel more comfortable with a female therapist.

You have only had two sessions with this therapist though - do you think you can stick it out for another two? The first couple of sessions are going to be awkward - they were with all of my ex therapists, but they ended up to be wonderful... I'm just saying this so you give it a fair chance. Sometimes you don't click with the therapist in the first two sessions. CBT therapists can also often be quite distanced - it's really different to psychotherapy - because the sessions are limited and the point is to just focus on the here and now.

So if you are just confused and having doubts, stick it out. If you are certain you don't like him (and you can be certain after the first 10 minutes) then just switch. I would talk to him first, though, just out of respect. Tell him you would feel more comfortable with a female therapist and that it's no reflection on him or the work you've done together. I guarantee he will be ok with it. It's kind of hard to argue or take offense to a gender issue. Do you want to switch within the same company/hospital or do you want to go somewhere completely different? If you want a different therapist in the same therapy center, talk to the receptionist about it and ask her for a referral. If you want a completely new therapist, you're going to have to go on the hunt for one again.

Finding a good therapist can be really difficult but it is worth it. Sorry that message was all over the place and it doesn't make much sense. Let me know if you need any more help

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Old 02-22-2012, 06:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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i think you should try a few more sessions. if it still isn't working just say that you think you should try a different therapist. i was told if i didn't feel like my therapist was a good match that they would want to know. it took me a long time to really trust my therapist so don't give up
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for your advice, you guys. I'm so happy to have found this community. I worked up the courage to call the receptionist. I was really worried what she would say, but I can't imagine it going better. She said that it's not unusual to decide it's not a good fit and it happens a lot. She even asked me if I would prefer a female. She said that she would talk to my therapist and they would discuss a better fit for me. I still feel bad about it, but I'm SO glad I called. Now, as soon as my hands stop shaking, I'll really feel better.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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It's good to hear it is working out for you now. I'm lucky I found the perfect therapist for me on my second try. It's very important that you feel comfortable with them, as you know.

On a lighter note I was gonna say don't pull a Larry David and say your cured!
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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If a therapist sucks simply dont go there anymore he will figure out after a while why you dont come anymore. The most stupid thing would be to make a final appointment and actually pay money for telling him that he sucks, lol.
You can as well send him a letter with the money telling him that he sucks this would at least save your time.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Many therapists do suck. And I didn't say to simply not turn up. Then you'd still have to pay. Simply cancel the appointment and that's it. But if you want to go to him and then pay him one last time that's your choice you can as well throw the money into the toilet.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I meant simply do not make another appointment or cancel the last appointment. You can actually cancel an appointment, you know?
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Imagine you have been to a therapist a few times and have your next appointment in a few days and you reevaluate wether he's good or not and decide that he's not going to cut it and that going there again makes no sense then which sane person would go there one more time only in order to inform him that he sucks and even pay money for that? I'd rather burn my money instead of paying someone money who's not worth it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Oh boy, what is rude about not wanting to waste further money?
If you have been going to a hair dresser who always ruins your hair and decide not go to there anymore do you still make one last appointment in order to not be "rude" and to inform him that you're not coming anymore? I give up.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Oh boy, what is rude about not wanting to waste further money?
If you have been going to a hair dresser who always ruins your hair and decide not go to there anymore do you still make one last appointment in order to not be "rude" and to inform him that you're not coming anymore? I give up.
A therapy relationship is much deeper than going to a hairdresser. It's just respectful to inform the therapist that you don't plan on seeing him anymore.

The act of telling the therapist that you don't want to see him anymore is therapeutic in itself - this can be a very scary thing to do. It is also helpful to wrap up the sessions, otherwise the client can be left feeling like things have been left up in the air and loose ends have not been tied up yet. It brings a certain closure to the relationship which is healthy and important, especially if the client decides to begin a new therapy relationship (which in this case, they are).

Ending the relationship respectfully and on good terms is important for both the therapist and the client.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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If you want to waste money that's your choice. I'm sure the therapist will be totally offended if you simply don't come anymore. He'll be crying for weeks. Yeah right. He'll probably not even care and simply get a new patient.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The truth is, clients don't actually owe the therapist ANYTHING other than payment for services. If a person wishes to stop treatment, that is their right, and if they want to go back and tell them why, that's fine. If they want to save the money and just write a note and mail it for 45 cents, that's ok too. If they wish to just move on, that's fine too--It's a free country! Therapists are not "special" people who automatically "deserve" more than any other provider of services. They are human, last I checked anyway.

To the original poster, It kind of sunds like you are still in the beginning uncomfortable stages with this man, so if you want to stick it out a few more times, that would be fine. Some people prefer to see the same sex, and maybe later you'll decide that. One thing tho--don't feel guilty about your parents spending money on "something that's not working." You've only been twice and it shouldn't be working yet anyway--it takes some time for things to get going, so please don't feel bad about that! Good luck, I hope things go well for you.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If you want to waste money that's your choice. I'm sure the therapist will be totally offended if you simply don't come anymore. He'll be crying for weeks. Yeah right. He'll probably not even care and simply get a new patient.
Lol, "crying for weeks"! That's a good one.

I agree with you--when you decide to fire them, why go back? It's like banging your head against a wall. Totally unnecessary!
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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THANK YOU I was already starting to doubt myself cause I'd rather throw money into the toilet than to give it to an unhelpful therapist who makes an insane amount of money every hour only for sitting in a chair and throwing out a few inconsiderate thoughts every now and then. When I think about how much money my ex-therapist earned every single minute just for sitting there and giving useless advice I get angry. There are people in poor countries who'd have do to hard physical work for weeks to earn what he makes in 1 minute.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I had the same problem. It took me years to get the nerve to go to a counselor. I went to an on campus counseling center, and from the time the girl walked in i knew it wasnt going to work.

I just wanted someone to talk to. But she cut me off many times, tried telling me since im in the counseling field i should already know how to deal with my anxieties...she accused me of being lazy and said i wanted her to do all the work for me. That wasnt true at all.

She mocked and harrassed me until i burst into tears ( to my embarrassment) and THEN she started smiling! I got up and just left.

Im to the point where i want to try again but im afraid ill get her again and i feel weird telking them i dont want her.

Im glad you resolved issue!!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:05 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Why? You should make clear you don't want her again. It's better to make this clear right away than to accidentally get her and then be in an awkward situation.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Well I saw my new therapist this week and I just have to say that it is SUCH a good fit. She is exactly like what I said I was looking for in a therapist- someone warm, friendly, talkative, comforting. She puts me at ease and seems to really care about be and be genuinely interested in my well-being. Just to clarify, I didn't mean that my old therapist was a bad therapist, I'm sure he's great, it just wasn't a good fit for me because his personality didn't put me at ease. And that's what I mean by "it isn't working" -not that the therapy wasn't working, but that the personality wasn't a good match. For the people that recommended trying a few more sessions, and anyone else who is in this kind of a situation, I would just say that I don't think it's good advice. At $180 a session, it gets real expensive and wasteful to keep going when you feel it's not a good fit. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't. You (and I) deserve someone we feel comfortable with. I'm so happy with my new therapist. I'll keep you guys updated on my progress!
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