Note: This story discusses sexual abuse, depression, suicide, and disordered eating.
If we're being perfectly honest, it can be incredibly hard to find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable, actively listens to you, and provides thoughtful advice.
However, when you do believe you've found the one, it can be really heartbreaking to come to terms with the fact that they maybe were not as right of a fit as you thought they were later down the line.
And since it's important to normalize "breaking up" with therapists that are no longer a right fit, we asked the BuzzFeed Community: When did you realize your therapist or psychologist was no longer going to work for your mental health needs — and how did you decide to break up with them? We rounded up some of their responses for you to read below.
1. "I wanted to try online therapy for postpartum depression. I had typical 'new mom' issues: feeling inadequate, body image problems, etc. I was assigned a therapist and thought her background was great, and I was looking forward to my first session. Five minutes in, she started eating chips while asking me some basic questions. At the end of the session, she concluded with, 'Well, you have four kids, one being a newborn. It’s not going to get any better.' It was a weird first session, but I gave her another try. The following week, she started digging into my marriage — mind you, we have no issues, and I just wanted help with the postpartum situation. While I responded, she fell asleep! Like, eyes closed and head down while sitting up! I stop talking, and she snaps her head up and reads off a scripted question."
2. "It was my first and only time seeing this therapist. In the first half of the session, we went through the regular intake questions: What am I currently struggling with, asking about my circumstances and background, etc. The therapist then asked me about my childhood, so I began to explain that I grew up with my mom and brother and that my biological father is a sperm donor so I have never met him. She cut me off and said, 'Aha! That’s why you’re depressed!' Wow, what a groundbreaking observation; now, I’m cured! In reality, I was way too shocked and polite to mention how inappropriate her response was. I awkwardly stayed until the end of the session and obviously never returned."
3. "I was going to a sliding scale therapist in my hometown. I was there because I had debilitating anxiety and fatigue with insomnia. I explained to her that I thought I had PMDD because my symptoms followed a pattern of my menstrual cycle. I'd be relatively okay until a week before my period, and then, I'd lose my mind with depression, anger, mania, anxiety, etc. Then, when my period would come, it would be pretty much fine. She declared that I was bipolar after meeting me once. I asked why she thought that, and she said, "Oh, the insurance won't accept PMDD as a diagnosis, so I'm just putting down bipolar for records."
4. "I opened up about the sexual abuse I faced as a kid and told them about how my dad would beat me up every day. I have a hard time showing emotion due to that (I got beaten when I showed emotion), so I did not cry during the appointment. His answer? 'Well, since you're not crying, it must not have been that bad. Did you learn anything positive from it?' He asked someone who got sexually abused for years by their own family member if they *learned anything positive* from that experience."
"From that point onward, I just felt so fucking numb. I did not get the choice to change my therapist, so I had to see him for another two years — meanwhile, he just questioned everything I said, treated me like I deserved the abuse, and told me: 'But your dad is such a nice person.'"
5. "I was seeing a therapist for trauma and PTSD related to an abusive relationship. My abuser had stalked me in the past. I have extreme anxiety and obsess over my safety because of this. I mentioned that I am constantly afraid he will find my new address. Without any hesitation or concern, the therapist said, 'Well, to be honest, he probably knows where you are. He can just use Google.' I wanted to just shut my laptop at that point! I did not reschedule with her. I found an amazing therapist who helped me manage my symptoms."
6. "Before our weekly session started, he asked me to wait in his office while he went to the bathroom. On the coffee table where I put my phone and keys while we have our session was a list of all his clients. Next to my name, he had written: 'I can’t shake her off.' I was completely shocked. When he came back from the bathroom, I spent the session talking about random topics that didn’t really matter. All the trust I had in him was gone. I text him the next day saying I was ending our sessions and didn’t get a reply. I had been thinking about ending my therapy sessions anyway, but it would have been better if he’d been honest with me about wanting to end our sessions so neither of us wasted our time (or my money)."
7. "When my therapist told me my husband doesn’t need to help me when it comes to baby duties."
8. "My therapist, after a two-hour session, ended our time with: 'Well, you know you’re sinning, right? Depression and self-harm are a sin.' I called the next day, canceled my next appointment, and rescheduled with the only other available therapist. Bonus: She barged into my first session with the new therapist to ask why I canceled with her and asked my new guy to give her an update after the appointment. Obviously, he did not do that."
—Cait, 27, Wisconsin
9. "When I told him I didn't think the SSRIs he prescribed were working, he kept raising the dose even though I said I didn't like the side effects. He even told me not to Google the medication/side effects or it would give me psychosomatic symptoms. The dose I was taking was so high that I ended up confused and ill for weeks before ending up in the emergency room with serotonin syndrome. The emergency room doctor was surprised I was taking such a high dose and told me to drop how much I was taking right away. When I confronted my psychiatrist, he gaslit me and refused to take any blame."
10. "She would talk about herself the majority of the time. She would outwardly judge me and tell me what to talk about and what not to talk about. When I first started dating my partner, she called it a 'situationship,' laughed at my excitement, and said I was moving too fast (we’ve been together almost four years now, BTW). The last straw for me was when she, a straight woman, told me I have 'queer privilege' because we live in the Bay. This was in response to me expressing my fears of coming out to my immigrant family. I felt so disrespected and shocked. Worst. Therapist. Ever."
—Anouymous, 30, California
11. "My therapist had suggested that phone sessions might work better for her, so I finally agreed. During these sessions, which were not video calls, I kept hearing what sounded like stealthy keyboard tapping. I would stop talking, and the tapping would stop abruptly. After a couple of sessions like this, I tested her one day by saying something shocking in a level, normal tone. Her response was, 'Mmm-hmm, I see,' which confirmed my fears. She was not taking notes. She was browsing through her phone, most likely answering texts or updating her social media. That was it — I was done. This happened back in 2016, but I’m still wary of remote therapy."
12. "I told my therapist my eating disorder had relapsed, and she asked me my BMI — and when I told her, she said, 'Oh, so it’s not like you couldn’t afford to lose some weight.'"
13. "My depression had been getting worse, and I was starting to feel like I had no reason to be here, so I decided to get some help. I was on a tight budget, so I decided to give a therapy app a try. I was matched with a therapist, and we had our first session, which went well. I explained to her that I felt behind because my friends were doing bigger things with their lives, like having kids and getting married, etc. At the end of our second session, about 30 seconds before she was ending our call, she told me I better hurry up and find new friends because the ones I have now aren’t going to want to be friends with me anymore (she knew I had limited support and friends, to begin with, and I also suffer from social anxiety). She sent me spiraling."
14. "I was doing sessions over the phone. My therapist seemed preoccupied, and I could hear a lot of clinking and clanging in the background. I think she was unloading her dishwasher while talking to me."
—Anonymous, 32, Nebraska
15. "I did EMDR therapy for about a year to help my PTSD from severe sexual assault. It transformed my life. When I was finally in a better place and could manage my PTSD, we started to transition into talk therapy. I had just started dating my boyfriend and was super excited about it (it was a HUGE step for me). When I told her about how well it was going, she told me he could easily be a narcissist and that there were narcissists hiding out everywhere, and no one is safe. Well, just like that, my anxiety returned, and I started doubting my relationship even though he is the most supportive, compassionate person I’ve ever met."
16. "She kept suggesting I carry pieces of sandpaper with me to rub between my fingers to help 'ground' me in moments of anxiety or panic. As a person who had been struggling with self-harm, I felt it was a slippery slope that was going to lead to me hurting myself again."
17. "He was consistently late to our meetings, which were virtual because of COVID. He also couldn’t pronounce my name correctly for a long time, and because I was young and shy, I let it slide. But it became clear to me after that he wasn’t really focused on my care, but more on the care of those around me. We had some family sessions and some one-on-one, and it seemed like the family sessions were where he spent most of his time. I was the patient, and yet, I was the one getting the least amount of support. Irony."
18. "One of my past therapists told me that my body was a gift to my husband when I said I was being forced [to have sex]. I experienced years of non-consensual sex with my now ex-husband, and this was the advice I was given to deal with the horrible anxiety, depression, and disconnect from my body. Needless to say, I stopped seeing that therapist."
—Anonymous, 30, Wisconsin
19. "I was getting frustrated about the fact that even though, on paper, my life was going great, I didn't feel that way. She did not seem to understand my internal struggle, and I felt dismissed by her telling me that I have a great career and seem to be doing well with it. Also, toward the end, we would spend 10 minutes of our session talking about HER life, which is fine, but it was like she needed the therapy more than me. The way I broke up with the therapist was by slowly pretending that everything was going great and that I was in a better mood. Then, I suggested to her that I think I'm ready to take a break in therapy, and she agreed."
20. "I had a therapist tell me my life couldn’t be that bad or difficult because it looks like I like fashion. I was wearing flannel and Docs. For the life of me, I can’t understand why she thought that was a smart thing to say to a suicidal patient."
—Anonymous, 30, Wisconsin
21. "I sought therapy to find coping mechanisms for my anxiety spirals. My therapist asked me to walk her through a spiral, so I started talking, and she interrupted me to laugh and say, 'Oh, wow, you really do hate yourself!' Then, she said she'll see me next week. Took me a few days to get past that spiral. The next time I saw her, she didn't address what happened at all and proceeded to tell me that 'everyone that you love is going to abandon you, anyways, so you might as well get used to being alone now while you're young.'"
22. "My long-time therapist (very erroneously) told me that the reason my brother-in-law was single was that he was in love with me and no woman would ever compare to me. At that point — and after a few other red flags — I knew it was time to find someone new. When it was time to book my next appointment, I told her I thought I was at a place where therapy wasn’t serving me anymore, and began the process of finding a new provider."
—Anonymous, 33, Connecticut
23. "After moving away and then returning to my hometown, my former therapist no longer had a vacancy for me. I tried a new psychiatrist. She was just about ready to retire, so I figured she'd know her stuff. I am baffled by her treatment. She decided that I was in fact not bipolar; I was just shy. And then, she gave me some new drugs for my shyness. Shyness. She also told me I could just 'forget' to take my bipolar meds, which is extremely dangerous. I called my former psych and begged her to take me back. Her eyes grew three sizes when I told her what drugs she was trying to get me to take."
24. "I, a woman, decided to have a male therapist. Huge mistake. Everything I told him, he would laugh at me and tell me it wasn’t that big of a deal. I’d tell him I loved my job, but I was stressed, and he’d tell me to just suck it up and quit. I would tell him about an argument with my mom, and he’d tell me to cut her out of my life. Huge, over-the-top 'solutions' to my issues. I told him I was depressed, and he told me, 'Not really, though.' I felt so belittled and ignored, and I was already struggling enough mentally. I got COVID, so I had to cancel my appointment. I told him I’d call to reschedule and never did. He never reached out to check in on me and ask why I didn’t come back, so I knew I made a good choice."
—Anouymous, 23, Nebraska
25. "She continually missed appointments and tried to blame me for writing it down wrong. (I'm still an OG paper planner girl.) The first time, she apologized for the mistake — and owned it — but the second time when I arrived, she was already in a session with another client, despite me repeating back to her the time prior to writing it down. I walked out and never looked back. I emailed saying, 'This is a behavior that an anxious perfectionist cannot manage, and nor should I. This is not a clinical relationship that is worth my time.' I sweated profusely while composing it, but once I sent it, it was a huge win for me. My new therapist is amazing."
26. "I saw this therapist a total of three times. Mind you, I told her how happy I was with my job (inventory specialist) and that the reason I wanted a therapist was to talk about frustrations in my life. Every chance she got, the therapist would bring up how I should go back to school, and every freaking time, I told her that I did not want to go back to college because it was not for me and I had a hard time there. So, for example, I would say, 'I'm getting annoyed with this person at work, and I'm not sure how to approach her.' And the therapist would say, 'Well, if you went back to college, this wouldn't be an issue for you.' Without giving advice on how to talk to my colleague. Or, the other thing I'd say is, 'The man that delivered a shipment to my facility was being sexist toward me.' And she would say, 'That's too bad. Have you thought about going back to college?'"
"So, at our last appointment when she brought it up again, I said, 'I shut down your idea of going back to school every time you bring it up. Why do you keep bringing it up?' And she said, 'I just think you could be truly happy if you got a degree. Maybe you wouldn't need your medicine if you went back to school.' GIRL, I have severe depression and anxiety. I'm on a bunch of medications to keep me sane. A freaking college degree isn't going to magically make all of that go away."