People Are Sharing "Red Flags" For Bad Therapists And Everyone Should Take Notes

    "My therapist told me there is no such thing as depression."

    Warning: This post has mentions of abuse and self-harm.

    Many people have been open about their life-changing experiences in therapy, and one thing's for sure: finding a therapist who is a good fit for you makes a world of difference.

    A psychologist takes notes with a patient during a therapy session

    But how can you tell if your therapist isn’t exactly, erm, helpful?

    Well, redditor u/CthulhusIntern once asked a very important question: "What are red flags for bad therapists?" Fellow Reddit users shared lots of signs and red flags based on their own experiences in therapy. Here are some of the most eye-opening ones:

    1. "Texting while you’re talking."


    2. "Facial expressions of disgust or condescension while their mouth is professing compassion or understanding."


    3. "I had a therapist once who simply said, 'That must be so hard' to basically everything I said. Yes, it is. That’s why I’m here. Do you have any way to make it better?"


    Someone sits across a therapist during a therapy session

    4. "When the therapist makes you feel like you're less worthy and looks down on you."

    "My first time with a therapist was when I was 15 years old. It was at a youth center. I was forced, and I didn't want to be there in first place, so I was upset. She asked all her questions, and she'd react weird with facial expressions and dumb questions. I felt mocked and told her I'm done. I wanted to leave, but she wouldn't let me, and I got even angrier and stood up. She thought it was funny apparently and mockingly giggled a little. I felt disrespected and like a fool. Not okay.

    I later found a good therapist who's amazing, and I feel respected and not looked down on."


    5. "When your 3-month pregnant fiancé is killed suddenly and the therapist says, 'You shouldn't cry.'"


    6. "They break confidentiality by talking to your parents, spouse, etc., about your sessions."


    7. "From my old therapist: 'But emotional abuse isn't really abuse, right?'"


    Someone sitting alone in a dark bedroom

    8. "My therapist told me there is no such thing as depression."


    "Had a therapist tell me it was 'all in my head' when I told him I was depressed. The next week, when he asked how I was, I told him still depressed. He said, 'Oh, that's just because you're a woman; that's just how women feel.' I was 15. Yeah, I didn't go back."


    9. "Feeling uncomfortable around them, coming out of the session feeling like crap. ... I had one when I was 17 who made me uncomfortable and called me 'beautiful' and a 'good girl' excessively, forced me to repeat his affirmations and refused to let me leave the room until I did (even if it was an hour after the session), repetitively called me throughout the day to 'check in' when it wasn’t even within working hours, tried to force me to take medication that didn't suit me, and a lot of other things that honestly kind of traumatized me."


    10. "Lack of punctuality or professionalism. Showing up late, last-minute cancellations, deciding to take a nonemergency call during a session, etc. These show that they are not committed to helping you and don’t value your time."


    A therapist talks as a patient listens

    11. "They talk about themselves a lot instead of focusing on their clients."


    "If they talk to you about their own problems during your time. Very unprofessional."


    12. "I'll go with what someone told me: 'You've got too many problems for us to deal with. You can come back and try again next year.'"


    13. "The first therapist I went to at 15 had me fill out a questionnaire about symptoms. I did self-harm so I checked that box. First question she asks is what I think about and feel when I self-harm. Told her I wasn’t ready to answer that. She says, 'Well, you’re wasting my time then.' Spent the rest of the hour in silence because I was too scared to leave early. Didn’t want to have to tell my aunt, who had taken me [to the appointment], what happened."


    14. "For me, it was one guy who asked me out after dropping hints over several sessions about me needing to date more mature men."


    A therapist talks to a couple during a session

    15. "If it's couples counseling, taking a side instead of objectively looking at it from both perspectives."


    16. "When I was in college, I didn't know what to do with my life career-wise and was having trouble finding motivation, so I saw their therapist on campus. With every potential job I thought about and told her about, she kept saying, 'Mmm yeah, I don't think you'd be good at that,' without really knowing me, saying I was too sensitive for it."


    17. "I had one who saw me three times. Barely remembered my name between those visits. Then I had to retell her exactly what I had told her the first two times I was there. She had taken notes — pages and pages of notes — and yet, I still had to repeat myself over and over. No progress, no work on her part, and she had the same two or three lines she used as answers/responses that made no sense for my situation."

    "Once you find a good one, it's easy to distinguish the bad ones."


    A therapist taking notes on a notepad with a patient

    18. "You find out the writing they were doing wasn't on a pad; it was a crossword puzzle."


    19. "Jumping to conclusions on your first visit."


    20. "My last one just never said anything. Literally just nodded and stared and waited for me to talk. For $100 an hour, you could try to be more than a screensaver."


    21. "When they get angry that you're gonna see someone else. My old coworker said that to her therapist, and she flipped out on her."


    22. "I had a therapist who told me I was too pretty to be sad."


    23. "Refusing to listen when told they might be wrong. My first therapist refused to accept that my being adopted wasn't the root of all of my problems — to the point that I just stopped talking to her at all because no matter what I told her, she would bring it back around to adoption. (I was 12 and hadn't yet figured out how to articulate to my parents that I wanted a new therapist.)"

    "My second therapist was amazing, listened when I said I didn't think something was the problem, and asked questions in a way that let us find the actual roots of my problems at the time."


    24. "A therapist I had in grad school said, 'Welcome to grad school' when I was describing how overwhelmed I felt. I never went back."


    25. And lastly: "Minimizing your problems and telling you that other people have it worse."


    Do you have any other red flags for bad therapists? Let us know in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.