What are the RED FLAGS When Working with a Therapist, or any Health Care Provider?

Suzanne Kellner-Zinck
3 min readJul 28, 2022

A while ago someone on Quora asked me about the ‘red flags’ to look for in a therapist. This is so very important because the reality is that there are too many patients of therapists who are not receiving the help that they employed these people to receive.

I have also noticed over the past year or so that there are many more people complaining on Quora about being unable to find the right therapist for them not just in the realm of feeling they are being heard and respected as patients, but also in the inability to help certain types of people such as those who have been diagnosed with personality disorders most especially those with borderline personality disorders (BPD). I wrote a whole other answer for that one, but the summation is that those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have some very significant areas of emotional disturbance that if the therapist does not understand like the need for very clear boundaries and allowing them to know that they will NEVER be abandoned by the therapist, this will go very far in making them feel safe and not act out in destructive ways when they feel hurt.

As for the rest of those looking for a conventionally trained therapist or anyone, to be honest here is the list that I gave of ‘red flags.’

Redflags in a new therapist (or any therapist/doc)

1) They are telling you how you feel, instead of allowing you to tell them how you feel.

2) They tell you what you are thinking instead of shutting up and allowing you to tell them what you are thinking.

3) They bring up a bunch of crap that has no bearing on why you are there.

4) They are overly protective of you — meaning they are unwilling to tell you what you need to understand to grow.

5) They blame others for your problems instead of helping you understand the larger picture and what you can do to never have that occur again in your life.

6) They have zero tools or techniques for you to use — they sit there saying nothing and just let you talk or not.

7) You feel they are condescending to you.

8) You don’t trust them.

9) They don’t live by that which they are suggesting you do.

10) You feel uncomfortable with them.

11) You don’t like them as a person.

12) You don’t respect them.

Therapy is the sort of thing where one has to build the trust to open up, however, if you have a competent and truly interested therapist, that should be felt from the start.

No one is forcing you to stick with a particular therapist, it is you hiring them, not the other way around, so feel free to switch and see if you can get a better fit.

Also, look for someone who states on their website or literature that they deal with the sorts of issues that you have. There are many mental/emotional issues a person can have and not all therapists are equally capable of dealing with each of them. Each has their own niche types they find interesting and fun to work with, so find one that likes helping people with your sort of issues.

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Suzanne Kellner-Zinck

Hypnotism is Suzanne’s profession, specializing in working with kids and those with eating disorders and sex addiction.