Select Page

50 Warning Signs of Bad Therapy

by | Last updated Nov 5, 2020 at 12:18PM | Published on Nov 5, 2020 | Individual Therapy

Warning signs bad therapy

It can be too triggering for someone looking to get help and come across a bad therapist. Most people who haven’t worked with a therapist before cannot pick up the common red flags you want to avid. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to cross paths with a bad therapist that will do nothing to help with your mental health struggles. This is why it’s essential to learn about some of the most common warning signs of bad therapy.

Red Flags That You Might Have a Bad Therapist

When you’re looking for a therapist for any mental health struggle or addiction you might have, consider these warning signs of bad therapy:

  1. The therapist is behaving unethically.
  2. Your therapist ignores confidentiality and emergency protocols.
  3. The therapist doesn’t specialize in your issue.
  4. Your therapist’s recommendations go against your beliefs.
  5. The therapist doges your questions about the therapy or their approach.
  6. Your therapist overshares about their personal life.
  7. You regularly feel worse after each session
  8. During your therapy session, you feel judged, shamed, or emotionally unsafe.
  9. The therapist continually disrupts the session.
  10. You don’t feel right; you’re always uneasy during therapy.
  11. More than recommendations, your therapist tells you what to do.
  12. The therapist keeps pressuring you to have more sessions or add more sessions to your treatment.
  13. Your therapist feels like an expert in everything you say or do.
  14. Your therapist has poor therapist-client boundaries.
  15. They don’t respect your time.
  16. When a therapist terminates therapy without a referral or follow-up plan.
  17. Not giving you the grace of allowing your session to run a few minutes over — once in a while.
  18. When a therapist discusses information about another patient.
  19. The therapist gives you gifts or accepts them from you without a discussion about their meaning.
  20. When a therapist promises to be your caretaker and to protect you from others.
  21. When the counselor does not seek consultation with other therapists.
  22. The therapist keeps making promises or guarantees about your treatment.
  23. When the therapist has unresolved complaints filed with a licensing board.
  24. The therapist attempts to enlist your help with something not related to your therapy.
  25. When the therapist focuses extensively on diagnosing without also helping you to change.
  26. Having a counselor that always talks in complex ways that leave you confused.
  27. When a therapist tries to ridicule other forms of therapy approaches but theirs.
  28. Having a therapist that won’t remember your previous interactions or check their notes about your case and progress.
  29. When the therapist is unable to adjust their approach to be sensitive to your culture or religion.
  30. Therapists ignore the importance of your spirituality or try to push spirituality or religion on you to help you.
  31. A therapist that makes you dig into highly vulnerable feelings or memories against your wishes.
  32. Not asking your permission before exploring other psychotherapeutic techniques.
  33. When a therapist tries to get, you exert overt control over your impulses, compulsions, or addictions without helping you to appreciate and resolve the underlying causes.
  34. Your counselor habitually misses, cancels, or shows up late to appointments.
  35. When a therapist takes your feedback personally and later uses it against you in some way.
  36. Even after working together for some time, you don’t feel challenged by your therapist to make progress.
  37. When you drag going to therapy.
  38. If your therapist isn’t a good role model or you feel as if they don’t practice what they preach.
  39. You feel like you have to prove yourself in every session.
  40. Your therapist seems more like your friend. You notice there are no goals, no plan; it’s just a set time to hang out.
  41. You don’t trust your therapist.
  42. Even after trying a psychotherapy approach, you don’t see progress, and your therapist doesn’t recommend other styles.
  43. Your therapist seems overly affected by your problems.
  44. You notice a setback or relapse on your symptoms after starting therapy.
  45. When a therapist cannot or does not clearly define how they can help you solve whatever issue or concern has brought you to therapy.
  46. Having a therapist that sets goals and is not interested in learning your objectives for the treatment.
  47. When a counselor does not provide any explanation of how you will know when your therapy is complete.
  48. When your therapist blames others for your troubles or pushes you to blame others for your problems.
  49. Therapist knowingly or unknowingly gets personal psychological needs met at the expense of focusing on you and your therapy.
  50. When a therapist tries to engage in any romantic relationship with you or another patient.

Finding a Therapist Near Me

As you can see, a lot of the warning signs of bad therapy have to do with the therapist itself. In the end, good therapists will listen to you and be respectful and communicative about your progress. Finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with is paramount for your recovery. A therapist-patient relationship should not necessarily feel like a friendship, but it should feel like a relationship based on respect, support, and healthy encouragement. When you’re trying to find a therapist, it’s okay to see different ones until you find the one that feels just right for you and your needs. Don’t worry about what they might say. Finding the right therapist can make or break your progress in the long run.

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

Related Articles

Need Help? Start here!

find your insurance sidebar

Find Your Insurance

*Lighthouse Recovery Institute is not affiliated with any insurance.

Get Help During COVID-19

Within days, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.

Ready to Start? We're here for you.

866.308.2090