What are red flags in a therapist?

What are red flags in a therapist? Learn about the things you should watch out for in choosing a therapist through this post. 

Therapy can be a very powerful method when you're struggling with a physical or mental condition. The problem is, there are many therapists out there who aren't equipped for the job and make it about themselves instead of helping you. Here are some red flags that could indicate that your therapist is doing more harm than good:

They have no credentials

If you're looking for a therapist, it's important to know that most states require them to have credentials. The National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology lists all states and their requirements for credentialing. 

Therapists can receive their credentials from one of these levels:
•​Level 1: Licensed Psychologist (LP) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). These professionals have completed graduate school and passed an exam given by the American Psychological Association (APA). They are required by law in many states and countries around the world to have this level of license before they can practice psychotherapy with clients under their supervision.
•​Level 2: Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC). This designation means that an individual has completed at least 15 hours of supervised clinical experience working directly with clients who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety disorder; however, these individuals may still choose not to pursue further education beyond this point if they prefer not taking time away from home or family responsibilities outside therapy sessions themselves!

They engage in sexual behavior with you

Of course, the therapist should not be engaging in sexual contact with you. This is unethical and illegal. It can also be traumatizing and damaging to the therapeutic relationship. Sexual contact between a client and a therapist is never appropriate or ethical, even if they're married or have been together for years.

They give you advice/tell you what to do

Therapists do not tell clients what they should do with their lives or how they should live them; instead, therapists simply listen as clients describe their experiences in hopes of helping them find solutions on their terms.
A good therapist will avoid advising because it can be damaging when taken at face value—for example: "You should watch movies at home more often." Or: "You need a personal trainer so we can get rid of those extra pounds." These statements may sound helpful but end up being misleading because they imply that someone else knows better than another person what is right or wrong (and therefore deserves praise/flattery).

They don't make you feel comfortable

Some therapists don't make you feel comfortable and aren't empathetic. They are not interested in your life or what's going on in your life but only focused on themselves and their problems instead. If a therapist is interested in your well-being, then it shows through how he or she interacts with you during sessions and how he or she responds to you after each session ends. If someone doesn't care about your well-being, then there won't be much effort put forth by this person during therapy sessions (or after any other interaction).

If you experience any of these signs, look for another therapist:

1. The therapist is not licensed in your state or country. You should always ask if they are licensed before starting treatment with them. If they claim to be licensed, but you cannot find evidence that they are, this is a red flag because it means they may be practicing illegally and could endanger your health or safety by giving out false information. 

2. The therapist lacks training in psychology or social work (or both). Therapists must have at least an undergraduate degree in psychology before becoming therapists; however, some states require additional education before someone can become an MFA-level psychotherapist—this means that many therapists do not meet these standards! A lack of professional credentials will put you at risk of being taken advantage of by unqualified individuals who may take advantage of your vulnerability during sessions without properly evaluating whether there were any warning signs beforehand (e., sexual harassment issues).


If you feel like your therapist is not a good fit for you, don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s important to take care of yourself, and sometimes that means looking for someone new. If one therapist is not working out for you, try another one or two before giving up on finding the perfect match!

Curious on what is the best doctor to see for your mental health? Check out this article or learn more about mental health here.

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