“Is my therapist tired of me?” is a fleeting question many people in therapy ask themselves. However, if you’re experiencing this repeatedly, it may indicate that something’s off.
Below, you’ll find the top 4 signs that may suggest your therapist is tired of you and 4 things you can do about it.
Signs Your Therapist Is Tired Of You
We’re most vulnerable in our therapy sessions - they’re a space where we lay bare. However, if your therapist is tired of you, this can be hurtful and affect your therapeutic process. You may also wonder, “is it all in my head?”
To know for sure, here are 4 indicators that you may be tiring your therapist.
#1 Your Therapist Keeps Yawning
This is an issue that crops up in many client-therapist relationships. While the research around yawning is patchy, we understand one thing: we yawn more when we’re tired or bored . So, you may conclude that your therapist is tired of you if they keep yawning.
But there is also another potential explanation. To understand this, we have to talk about mirror neurons.
Mirror neurons are brain cells that respond when we perform an action and witness another performing an action. We’re social beings, so our brains are hardwired to communicate with others - we can pick up others’ emotional states just by being around them, without needing verbal language, if we’re tuned in . And therapists are tuned in.
Therefore, it may not be your therapist’s tiredness or boredom causing them to yawn - it may be yours. Ask yourself:
- Am I feeling bored in my sessions?
- Am I feeling tired?
- Am I avoiding emotional content and focusing on everyday issues?
- Am I choosing topics that I find easy to talk about?
- Am I emotionally disconnected in my sessions?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, your therapist’s yawning might be due to your emotional state.
#2 You Leave Feeling Disappointed
Feeling disappointed at the end of a therapy session can be a sign that you’re not getting what you want out of the therapy sessions. While this may not necessarily mean your therapist is tiring of you, it can suggest that something is amiss in your relationship.
Experiencing uncomfortable emotions such as anger and disappointment is inevitable in any relationship, including the therapeutic one. It’s important to address these by discussing them with your therapist. Otherwise, you’re missing an excellent opportunity for your therapist to understand how you’re feeling and express yourself fully in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
#3 Your Sessions Feel Tense
Therapy sessions are all about rupture and repair. When we talk about “ruptures,” we refer to a (usually) temporary breach in a harmonious therapeutic alliance.
Ruptures are common in the therapeutic environment. They may be caused by:
- Client keeping hold of negative emotions about the therapist or their actions
- A lack of trust in relationships
While ruptures can be distressing, they can bring about healing if you repair them. The repair process involves fixing what went awry and creating a new template demonstrating that relationships don’t have to stay broken forever - they’re malleable.
However, if you’re experiencing tension without a rupture, it may indicate something is wrong. For example, if you are feeling judged in your sessions or like your therapist is making you feel guilty, this may be a sign that they’re getting tired of you.
It’s essential to remember that this is just one possible explanation. There may be more deep-rooted elements at play - we’ll discuss these later.
#4 Your Therapist Is Unreliable
Does your therapist cancel sessions last minute or turn up late? Do they respond to messages or check their phone during sessions? Perhaps they reschedule or cut a session short.
If this happens to you, it may leave you feeling undervalued or that your therapist is tired or bored of you.
As a trained professional, your therapist has a duty of care towards you, per their ethical framework. If they do any of the above, they are going against their ethics - this is a sign of lousy therapist behavior. Unless they have a valid explanation for these actions, it may be best to seek another therapist.
What To Do If You Think You’re Tiring Your Therapist
It can be upsetting if you feel your therapist isn’t giving you the attention you deserve. However, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Below are four actions you can take to:
- Identify if your therapist is truly tired of you
- Solve the problem
The first (but scary) step is to talk it through.
1. Talk It Through
The no. 1 thing to do when you’re experiencing these worries is to talk it through with your therapist. While asking these questions may not be appropriate in other relationships, such as your relationship with your manager, these queries are undoubtedly suitable in a therapeutic relationship.
If you’re worried that your therapist is becoming tired of you, openly ask what’s happening with them and whether it’s to do with what you’re discussing. This can open up new doors in the therapeutic relationship, allowing you to explore more emotional content and build your trust.
2. Identify Any Trends
Ask yourself: what are my exact worries? Are you concerned that your therapist is bored of you because you’re not good enough, smart enough, or interesting enough?
If you feel this way, your worries may come from a deeper place - potentially a core belief that you’re inadequate based on your previous experiences. One way to identify this is by looking at the trends - do you often feel this way in other relationships, too? If so, this is likely a core belief.
To address this, speak to your therapist about your worries, and discuss the experiences that may have led to this core belief.
3. Check In With Yourself
Are you avoiding the emotional stuff? Often people worry that they’re tiring their therapist because they’re not making themselves vulnerable by talking about the deep, emotional stuff - they’re staying surface level.
This can be the difference between sweeping dust under the rug or giving it a good hoover - the former will remove it from sight in the short term, but the dirt is still there and needs to be cleaned at some point.
When we explore emotional content rather than speaking about minor everyday issues, we worry less that we’re tiring our therapist, as it feels like they’re more active in our healing process.
Perhaps the reason why you’re not delving deep is that you’re scared. If so, check out our article on why people fear going to therapy.
4. Spot Any Projection
Projection is a psychological defense mechanism that involves diverting your feelings about someone or something onto another person or object . We often do this with our close family and friends.
Let’s explore an example - you’ve had an awful day at work; you go home, and your partner/family says something that you immediately find irritating. You experience burning anger at them and lash out, only to later realize that it wasn’t your partner/family that annoyed you but a manager or colleague.
Sometimes, we bottle up thoughts and feelings we deem unacceptable to show in one situation or towards one person and project this onto another. This can happen in the therapeutic relationship too. So, try to spot any projection by considering whether your relationship with someone else is actually causing these feelings.
Fire Up Those Cylinders
The last thing you want during your therapy sessions is to worry that your therapist is bored, not paying attention, or tired of you. If you’re leaving therapy feeling disappointed, you’re tense during your sessions, or your therapist keeps yawning, this may indicate that your therapist is tired of you. Or, there may be more than meets the eye.
If your therapist is unreliable, showing up late, or canceling last minute, this may demonstrate a lapse in their ethical judgment - it isn’t a reflection of you.
To address feelings like these, talk it through with your therapist, identify trends, check in with yourself, and look out for projection.