In the first session with my therapist, she sighed and seemed bored when I tried to explain something. Is she a bad match for me?

If you can stand one more session with her, ask her, directly, this very question.

And, if you truly cannot settle into being with her, then tell her, directly, why you are choosing this option.

That is your complete right and I would not change it in any way.

If she did have this reaction, (and it’s truly helpful that you copped to others having a similar reaction), it could be you’re on the right track to finding a solution to what has been bothering you.

If perseverance is the path, then persist and take action on your own behalf.

You may have uncovered something very important in the first session.

4 Replies to “In the first session with my therapist, she sighed and seemed bored when I tried to explain something. Is she a bad match for me?”

  1. Let’s say, for a moment, that you are hopelessly boring. Or that you have a manner of communicating that prompts a negative reaction in others. Your therapist, in my opinion, should not have reacted to the impulse, but rather made mental note of it. Whatever it is you are going to therapy for, if people are responding negatively to you for something you habitually do, it will be an important part of the work to assist you with this.

    You could go again, and tell the therapist you felt this way when you noticed she did what she did, and see how she responds. Maybe she can pull it together. But I doubt it. When you read what other therapists talk about on this board, you couldn’t be blamed for developing unrealistically generous expectations about what therapists, on the whole, are like. (My compliments to other therapists hereabouts!). In the real world of certainly my town, and probably yours, many therapists are just simply awful.

    I’m not saying your therapist is necessarily awful (though I might suspect it). What I am saying is, so you went once, you had this unpleasant experience, I see no reason to go back. Why invest more with her, given what she did in session 1?! Move along. Find someone else who feel comfortable talking to. Someone who leaves you with the feeling that it will be safe to open up an pour out your soul.

    Good luck.

  2. I agree with Brenton Crowhurst.

    A good therapist (IMO) would be interested in the first session and make a note of the fact of their CT (countertransference – how they feel about you i.e. bored). This should be informing them in their work.

    For example. Often when I am bored, the client isn’t bringing any of themselves into the therapy. They are narrating a story. I got up, went to work, came home, had dinner. It’s a boring story. Where are their feelings? So I’d be interested in this. I might say ‘I notice you tell me about what you’ve done today, but I feel quite detached from what you’re saying. Does this happen in other aspects of your life?’ Or ‘I notice you’ve focused on what you did, how were you feeling?’ If they say ‘Yes, fine’ this could indicate that the client struggles with feelings. Perhaps we need to investigate this. Perhaps they feel they need to protect me from their ‘bad’ feelings. Maybe they feel like they need to present a ‘nice’ version of themselves and sanitise all the pain or the sadness. Why is this? Where does this come from?

    These are the kind of things that you should be discussing in therapy. Of course it’s difficult to say how relevant these questions would be not having met you, but the therapist should take your feedback into consideration and alter their course accordingly.

    Having experienced at least one therapist and supervisor who had no wish to discuss what we call the ‘in-between’ i.e. what is happening in the therapy room at that time or in our relationship, I suspect this happens a lot. If your therapist were better, she could do this. I suspect she isn’t because she can’t even be attentive for the first session.

    It’s frustrating to keep ‘interviewing therapists’ but you already feel like you’re not a good match. Find a better therapist.

  3. I think that it is very good observation on your part and also lucky for you that it feels as if your therapist has the same reaction as others when you speak about your problems. It offers an excellent chance for you to explore your interpretation of their reactions. Tell your therapist that you think you are boring her and it feels to you that she reacts like others. You have the chance to learn whether your feelings are validated by them or whether you are misinterpreting or misreading their looks. Tell your therapist that it feels like nobody is empathizing with or understanding you. Though it may feel bad in the moment, this is a very good start for you therapy.

    You may be many things but hopelessly boring is very unlikely to be one of them— most especially in the eyes of your therapist. Good luck. This is a very good start.

  4. A therapist is a good match if:

    1. They seem to like you and seem genuinely interested in what you have to say.
    2. They communicate in a way that is clear. (You don’t need a dictionary and they don’t waste time teaching you psychology terms)
    3. You feel comfortable enough with them that the idea of spending an hour a week with them feels positive.

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