Top 10 Signs of a Bad TherapistWhile most therapists have a good reputation, sometimes there are bad therapists that don't take their jobs seriously. There are a handful of obvious red flags and signs indicating you could be interacting with a bad therapist - from bad advice to inappropriate behavior. If this case is true, it's better to find another therapist rather than setting another appointment with the wrong one. Take this as a guide that would help you understand more of the signs of spotting a bad therapist.
The Top Ten
1 They make inappropriate facial expressions Such as laughing in the context of serious issues such as suicide, anxiety, or depression, or making generally weird body expressions such as rolling up their eyes, smirking, etc. You would tell right away if they are making weird expressions that have no relation to the issue you're having, and it's an obvious red flag of a bad therapist.
2 They show sexual behavior This is another obvious red flag, more often when it comes to male therapists. Especially when it comes to sex related issues, they may either show excessive/obsessive interest of the problem you're dealing with, would often compliment about your looks in a questionable manner, or intentionally touch you sexually despite being told not to do so. This is never acceptable in all situations in therapy.
3 They make you feel uncomfortable Most of the times, a therapist is supposed to make your life easier and eliminate some of the common issues you're having. Rarely this happens among reputable therapists, but if you don't feel satisfied with your therapist in your first, or second meeting, it's better to cut off contact with them and seek another therapist.
4 They give insulting responses This is another obvious sign that is a bit more common red flag among bad therapy, and they are often contradictory to the therapist's job and counterproductive to the patient. These responses would be often shallow and may include. "You should be grateful", or "people have it worse", or even more insulting remarks such as "that isn't really depression/anxiety/abuse", or "you must be crazy" in serious issues (but that overall depends on the context).
5 They lack empathy This is a bit more of a subtle red flag that the therapist isn't interested in your problems, and it's also a sign that they don't take their job seriously. Their facial or body expressions would be not be well-shown, or they may look insensitive and have difficulty sharing their empathy to their patients, and thus be more likely to give shallow advice. This produces a negative experience on the patient, and more of a good sign that you need to consider another therapist.
6 They often focus on themselves Such as leading most of the conversation or constantly spinning up stories about themselves and about their problems. While it's okay for therapists to talk a little bit of themselves, it's a good attempt of trying to connect with the patient, but intentionally cutting a patient when they're trying to talk out their issues is another red flag of lack of professionalism, especially done repeatedly.
7 They force you to do something you're uncomfortable with This is a sign a therapist is impatient and is rushing on you - and can be a red flag if done intentionally. They would often tell you to admit something or answer their questions you feel that are uncomfortable with, or repeatedly change a serious topic into something else more off topic. Some patients need time to open up themselves to another person. A therapist shouldn't act superior to their patients, and it is mostly up for the patient to answer or do something without pressure.
8 They ignore their patients Self explanatory - similar as to not listening to their patients, and is a big sign you're interacting with an unprofessional therapist. Often, this the first and most obvious red flag that you would spot from a bad therapist.
9 They give bad advice This is more common in more inexperienced, or new therapists, and a sign that they lack training. They may often give off-topic advice that could be contrary to the person's problems, and they may be more prone to jumping in conclusions.
10 They rush to conclusions This can often happen if the therapist do not ask enough questions about the patient, or if they fail to listen or show empathy to their patient's problems. This leads to the therapist prescribing wrong medications, or off-topic advice. A therapist should always be attentive and focus on what the patient is saying.
11 They pretend to care Some therapists tend to be really good at faking facial expressions, but occasionally you could tell whether they actually care or not, depending on their face expressions or body movements.
12 They scribble down their notes No kidding on this one, some therapists actually do this despite some seeming very reputable. If you happen to see a therapist drawing doodles, or thoughtless scribbles on their notes, instead of tips or thoughts, better to consider cutting contact with that therapist.
13 They do not listen to your issues Their eyes would not be really focused to you, and it's a sign that they are constantly distracted by other things rather than the patient. Occasionally, this is fine if they can't avoid the noisy things they unable to filter out, but it is a red flag if they intentionally distract themselves by texting, eating, or doing other tasks every five minutes or so, rather than focusing on the person's issues.
14 They make you feel worse than you did before
15 They have weird interpretations
16 They talk about themselves a lot
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