Your therapist's least favorite client

Featured Articles

Therapist's least favourite client: a photo of a therapist taking notes during therapy session with her female patient

Your therapist's least favourite client

If you're on the mental health or therapist side of TikTok, you've probably seen people joke about wanting to be their therapist's "favorite" client. While funny, I've never been able to relate. Because I'm convinced of the exact opposite. I'm convinced I'm my therapist's absolute least favorite; I'm sure she hates working with me. I'm awkward, I don't like small talk, I don't want to know anything personal about her, and our video sessions typically involve me avoiding eye contact with a blank stare back at her. I'm not the "oh my gosh, you won't believe what happened last week!" client… I'm far from it. 

"I'm convinced I'm my therapist's least favorite client; she hates working with me."

My therapist thinks I'm difficult

I know I'm difficult and frustrating to work with. I feel like it's just a matter of time until she tells me she can't work with me anymore, that we're not a good match, I'm not trying hard enough, and there's nothing more she can do. 

That's how it's seemed to go in the past, at least. I was constantly told by doctors, parents, therapists, psychiatrists, and the like that I wasn't trying hard enough. I needed to be more verbal and talk more -- not a single one recognized I couldn't. 

Barely a teenager, in what seemed like the span of a year, I went from being a sarcastic, energetic, fun girl to someone who had stopped talking almost completely, was deeply depressed, and thought about killing herself every day. When that landed me in a hospital psych ward and everyone found out, I was quickly ushered into therapy. I never had time or space to process that day or what had just happened. I went from next to no one knowing to suddenly everyone knowing and getting calls of concern from family members out of the blue.

Read more: How does music therapy help anxiety.

It was my worst nightmare. I didn't have the language to explain it to myself, let alone to people I didn't feel safe with. Put in a therapist's office with my parents talking concerningly to the provider, I had no words. I couldn't talk… in talk therapy. I was filled with all-consuming anxiety, and I froze once I got in that room. 

But no one recognized or at least voiced to me that's what was happening. It's only 10 years now that I can look back and understand that. I was told therapists couldn't work with me, we weren't a good fit, I needed to try harder, and they couldn't help me if I didn't open up. So, from a young age, I developed a deep-seated belief that my inability to speak about what was going on was a personal failure. It was something inherently wrong with me and a major inconvenience to everyone in my life. It was my fault.

"I had no words. I couldn't talk… in talk therapy. I was filled with all-consuming anxiety."

Now, my current therapist (who I actually like, and for God knows what reason, still shows up every week) has tried to tell me multiple times she does not think of me like this. She recognizes my reactions are a result of my past experiences. She has told me she's at a point in her career where she would not be working with me still if she did not want to be (homegirl must love a challenge). But she also knows she can't make me believe anything; she can only show me. And she has only shown me all of that is true -- but there is no room in my brain for it to be true. 

To make it even better, I can't talk about this in therapy. It almost always leads me to dissociate. But she brought it up briefly during our session the other day. And while that session did not end well, there was one thing she said in the midst of it I needed to hear. She said, "I don't see your trauma responses in therapy as you being difficult. And I know validation is hard for you to hear, so I'm speaking to the part of you that can hear me." 

Those words may not change my beliefs, but they do give me a sliver of insight. I know I respond how I do because the nature of therapy is triggering in and of itself to me, which is far from convenient for both of us. And that's because of how past therapists, psychiatrists, etc., made me feel in that space. I know my brain and body are just trying to protect me. If I believe so deeply that I am horrible, at least I'm saying it to myself, and someone else isn't telling it to me. Suppose I'm already convinced this therapist will eventually get fed up with me and leave. In that case, I don't have to be hurt or blindsided when it happens.

But my therapist calling out my behavior for what it is -- a trauma response -- at least helps me release a bit of blame and shame from myself. Even if I still believe certain things about myself, knowing logically that they aren't personal failures is huge. They feel like they are, but at least I know now that they aren't.

There is a reason I still go to therapy

My previous therapist (the first I ever trusted) used to tell me frequently, "there's a reason you're still picking up the phone." I would start to think maybe everyone was right, maybe I wasn't trying. Maybe I didn't actually want to heal at all. Maybe I didn't believe people could change, or I could change. She reminded me I wouldn't still be showing up to see her if those things were true. At least some small part of me didn't believe what I was telling myself. 

And I know a small part of me knows how I view myself and therapists isn't reality, either. If I truly believed 100% that it was just a matter of time until my therapist told me she couldn't work with me anymore, I wouldn't still be showing up. There's something in me that knows that's not true. It may not be a large part of me, but it's important.

I don't know if you can relate at all. But if you feel like you're "difficult," or like you're an inconvenience or burden to your therapist or doctor, or that you're your therapist's least favorite Client, I want you to know I see you.

And speaking as a person who also feels like that, I write this reminder for both of us. You are not a burden. You are not an inconvenience. You're still showing up. And that says more than you know. 

Article by
Sky Taylor

Sky Taylor is a mental health advocate, freelance writer, and works at a mental health non-profit. Using her lived experience as a bedrock, Sky is passionate about humanizing mental health conditions, reforming crisis care, and helping create a more inclusive world. She is an avid coffee enthusiast, and can always tell you where the nearest Dunkin Donuts is.


"I'm convinced I'm my therapist's least favorite client; she hates working with me." | ©Prostock-studio / Adobe Stock