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Is My Therapist Right for Me?

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From a woman in the U.S.: I have a question about the fit of my therapist. I have been seeing my for about a year and a few months. I have questioned the fit the entire time, but I’ve really improved and and feel she is helping me so I always chalked it up to my issues as to why I am questioning the fit.

Here are some reasons why I have felt uncomfortable: she told me about how a client flew her to NY (and paid for it) for an event as a thank you for her services, she talks about all her clients that live in 10,000 square foot houses (which is fine, but I get it you have rich clients), I live in TX and booked a trip to Wyoming with my family (I don’t know a single person here that’s been to Wyoming) and a few weeks later she told me of her trip she booked to Wyoming with her family… it happened to be the same week as my trip to the same place (awkward) and she talked about how excited she was to meet my husband (the whole thing just felt really weird)… then the next session she brought up the trip again and was acting really weird and changing the subject and stuttering over her words (I remember this clearly).

She and I are both from Ohio coincidentally, she’s about 20 years older than me and we have a lot in common and i think we even look a little bit alike. She also has told me she had similar issues to what I came to her with and always tells me how much she understands and relates to me.

She has not charged me at least 10 times after my session and I feel awkward about that too. I do not have financial issues at all and she knows that. i am very attached to her and have made really good progress with my issues.

here is my question and I’m totally aware that my concern could definitely stem from my own issues that I’m seeing her for and that I just need to talk to her about this.. but I wanted a second opinion. She recently took a few vacations so I’ve only seen her the last 3 times every other week instead of every week. I’ve really missed her and I think it might have triggered some abandonment issues. This last session I had with her I was in a bad mood because I was kind of mad about her not being regularly available and I admit I was a little bit standoffish but I was not rude or disrespectful to her. I told her I had a conflict our next session with work which is this Friday and she gave me 3 options of alternate times. I sent emailed her with my choice today and she told me she filled that spot but she didnt offer me any other alternate times like she normally does.

I honestly feel like she is mad that I was kind of in a bad mood my last session. I really feel this way. Again, I totally understand this could be my issues at play. The last session i saw her before this she told me how much she missed me during her vacation. Again, based on the full picture it really makes me wonder if she is having a reaction to me and is trying to send me a message by not rescheduling me.

I dont think her practice is fully booked becasue many times when I leave my appointment there’s no one after me during my regular time or other times when i reschedule. I guess I am writing becuase I am trying to make sense of this and really dont want to stop working with her but something keeps telling me something is wrong. I have worked with another therapist for a year in the past and didn’t feel this way at all. I never questioned that she had my best interest at heart. I hope I am clear in my question. I know I rambled a bit.

Is My Therapist Right for Me?

Answered by on -


Your symptoms have improved under her care so apparently the “fit” was good as far as treatment goes. But the larger context of your relationship is certainly questionable. Your therapist seems to be confused about whether she is your friend or your professional treater. Since she also shared the story about the other client who paid for a flight as a “thank you”, her issues around boundaries don’t seem limited to you. It is not considered ethical for therapists to accept this kind of gift from clients.

Not charging you for sessions, over-disclosure of her own issues and that whole strange story about Wyoming are cause for concern. Further, it’s not at all unusual for a client to have difficulty with a therapist’s vacations. Usually, it is material for a session, not a source of conflict. I don’t think you are off base at all for being uncomfortable. I worry that you are so concerned about being fair about your own issues that you aren’t trusting yourself.

Trust your instincts. There is something very wrong here. Regardless of what your issues may be, the therapist’s behavior raises concerns about boundaries and counter-transference that have nothing to do with you. You could try to talk to her about it, but since she has similar issues with other clients, I’m not optimistic that it will be a successful conversation. If it isn’t, my recommendation is that you thank her (verbally, not materially) for her help and transfer to a new therapist.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Is My Therapist Right for Me?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Is My Therapist Right for Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 7, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 11 Nov 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.