Good or Bad? How To Tell


Good or Bad? How to Tell

 So what does good therapy look like anyway? How do you know if you’re getting bad therapy?

 Once, I noticed that a client was especially nervous about being in therapy. As we worked to get to know each other, I thought it might be helpful if I reminded him that he was in control of the situation. I wanted him to be able to judge for himself if what I was offering was good or bad. 

And even though it always takes some time to develop trust in the therapeutic relationship, I think the following information might help you feel confident about our work together. I am always open to having conversation about your response to any of these things. Are you currently a client at Breakthrough Counseling? Do you have a question about our work? Are you looking for the "right fit" or a therapist who can help you reach your goals? I am looking forward to talking with you! Call for an appointment today!  

 *Taken from 50 signs of Good Therapy, 50 Signs of Questionable Therapy or Counseling


1. Your counselor always maintains professional business practices by keeping the focus on you. She prepares ahead of time for your sessions by reviewing notes or action items from previous sessions, keeps your appointments, is generally on time, demonstrates that she is paying attention, and doesn’t answer the phone, check email, or become distracted during your sessions. 

 2. Your therapist offers diagnosis if necessary, but remains focused on helping you to manage any such diagnosis and get better. The diagnosis remains the backdrop for therapy, not the focus of it.

 3. Your counselor provides insight and knowledge that you otherwise might not have seen. This insight clearly comes from experience and training.

 4. Your therapist maintains a good balance between your thoughts and your feelings without neglecting or diminishing either one.

 5.  Your counselor regularly checks your progress against your goals and helps you to understand where you are and where you may still need to go.

 6. You feel a connection with your counselor that shows he or she really believes in you and in the goals you have set for your life.

 7.  Your counselor maintains a professional relationship with you at all times. His or her demeanor could be friendly, but she never depicts your relationship as a friendship.

 8.  Your therapist treats you as a “whole person,” an equal who is not defined by your issues, and does not make negative judgments about you. You feel genuine care and concern from your therapist. One of the hallmarks of good therapy is known as unconditional positive regard.     



 1. Therapist is not interested in the changes you want to make and your goals for therapy.

 2. Therapist provides no explanation of how you will know when your therapy is complete.

 3. Counselor does not seek consultation with other therapists.

 4. Therapist makes guarantees and/or promises.

 5. Therapist does not provide you with information about your rights as a client, confidentiality, office policies, and fees so you can fairly consent to your treatment.

 6. Therapist talks excessively about personal issues and/or self-discloses often without any therapeutic purpose.

 7. Counselor cannot accept feedback or admit mistakes.

 8. Therapist acts as if they have the answers or solutions to everything and spends time telling you how to best fix or change things.

 9. Therapist encourages your dependency by allowing you to get your emotional needs met from the therapist. 

10. Counselor seems overwhelmed with your problems.

11. Counselor pushes you into highly vulnerable feelings or memories against your wishes.

12. Your counselor habitually misses, cancels, or shows up late to appointments.