ARE YOU EXPERIENCING A LACK OF RESPECT FROM YOUR THERAPIST?
Respect in a counselling setting is much more complicated than it seems. Respect happens when the counsellor/therapist challenges their biases, preconceived notions, and subconscious stereotypes of people and cultures in order to help their client. So how can you tell if you are experiencing a lack of respect from your therapist?
REMEMBER, COUNSELLORS/THERAPISTS ARE HUMAN TOO
Unfortunately, some counsellors/therapists don’t have their shit together. In other words, although they know that respect needs to be the foundation of their client relationship, their own views are getting in the way.
I’ve heard stories from people whose therapists did not treat them with respect. There are tales I've heard of counsellors overstepping boundaries and dismissing their client’s feelings. I’ve heard stories about counsellors who’ve made them feel inferior or broken beyond repair. This is not normal, but it does exist.
Are you wondering if your counsellor/therapist is the right fit?
ARE YOU EXPERIENCING A LACK OF RESPECT FROM YOUR THERAPIST? QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF.
What do you do if you feel like your counsellor or therapist isn’t showing you the respect you deserve? Ask yourself the following questions.
Does my counsellor:
- Ever dismiss my feelings?
- Regularly speak over me?
- Enforce their spiritual, religious, or personal beliefs on me?
- Coerce me into doing something bad for my mental or physical health?
- Fail to use my preferred pronouns?
- Judge me for my sexual orientation/preferences?
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO THESE QUESTIONS?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are experiencing a lack of respect from your therapist. I know some of you reading this may not have the availability to change therapists. This is my first suggestion, but I know it’s not always possible.
Not all relationships with counsellors or therapists need to be long term. I have had four specific therapists, two in one place I lived, two in another. The reason for this was that the stage I was at in my life when I was with them was very helpful. However, as I evolved and started to heal parts of myself, I outgrew them. I outgrew their version of healing and the way they showed up in their practices.
If you can’t change therapists, I suggest talking to them if you can. If you can’t, this brings me to my next suggestion.
TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT
My next suggestion is to talk to someone that you know who is or has been in therapy. If you are comfortable, you could also talk to your parents.
You may also talk to your guidance counsellor. I know they have a lot going on right now with school being back in session and COVID going around, but this is what they are there for.
If your healthcare provider is ultimately not being supportive or giving you the help that you need, don’t be afraid to change them. Remember, you are hiring them and it is your money (or your insurance’s money) that you are spending. Do yourself the biggest favor that you can and choose a respectful counsellor that does respect you and your healing plan. You don’t have to keep experiencing a lack of respect from your therapist.
Don’t forget this. We are all on our own individual journeys. Even if we live in the exact same circumstances, we need to remember that one person could take one year to heal while another person takes eleven. We are all different and we all deal with trauma differently.
I hope this helped you find the differences between a respectful counsellor and one who doesn’t respect you. Healing from trauma and finding mental wellness is a journey. You deserve to have someone who respects you walk that journey alongside you.