I am Afraid My Therapist Doesn’t Like Me

Reader’s Question

I have heard and read that if you think your therapist does not like you, you should find another one. Is this true? I was under the impression that it didn’t matter whether they liked you or not because a good therapist should be able to put your best interests first and do their job without bias.

I realize there should be mutual respect and trust between client and therapist. But do you need to like each other to be able to work well together?

Psychologist’s Reply

It’s natural for therapist to have normal, human, responses of various kinds to their clients. However, therapists are also trained to be keenly aware of those reactions and to temper them in a manner so as not to disadvantage the client.

You indicate that you think your therapist doesn’t like you. Possibly that’s because your therapist is behaving toward you in a manner that is inappropriate. If that is the case, by all means consider changing therapists. But the other possibility is that your therapist is confronting you about issues that are unpleasant to face and you are attributing hostile intent to him or her when no such intent is actually present. In that case, what’s really important is that you process through the issues very carefully. In any case, you’ll likely need to address your concerns directly with your therapist. If your therapist doesn’t respect your willingness to do this or responds in a negative way, you’ll know it’s time for a change.

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