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Jun 27

20: Bad Therapy 1


Edited: Jul 9

The first round of Mercedes and I looking at some listener submissions of their bad therapy experiences. My hope is this provides some clarity and new avenues of thinking about therapy experiences. I don’t think she or I are trying to demonize anyone or the profession, but there are some glaring issues here obviously. Curious what you think of this episode, good or bad...

Definitely not trying to demonize what we do or the people who do it. But, it seems as though some therapists have lost sight of some of the most basic and important lessons of our practice. It is necessary that we, all of us, maintain our bearings so that we can effectively serve the people who seek our help.

I greatly appreciate the conversations you two are having on this topic. I think clients need to hear what is and isn't okay in therapy, and some of those examples were absolutely awful. As an LPCC, it was hard for me to hear some of these stories- not just out of empathy for clients, but some of them hit close to home, because I know I've been guilty of daydreaming in session, dreading seeing a particular client, or yawning from time to time- all due to a bad case of burnout and lack of respect for boundaries from my workplace. I would love to hear an episode or two geared toward therapists, in an effort to help guide some of their "bad" ways and inform them of how to be better. I've been in various counseling centers and jobs where therapists were overworked and way underpaid, with little to no supervision, leaving us to guess on what was and wasn't appropriate. Yes, we know our ethical code and follow that, however, we also don't always have the option to up and leave jobs (thankfully, I did). In the 3-4 years I've been practicing, I have had two jobs where we were forced to see clients we were incredibly uncomfortable with seeing, felt unsafe with, or just didn't know HOW to work with, so I have no doubt that, at times, I too could have been labeled as "bad". I think it could be validating for other therapists to know it is 100% okay to set boundaries with your workplace, refer out, ask for a lighter client load, seek supervision/mentoring elsewhere, and tips for practicing basic self care. We are expected to be "on" and our best, present selves in session, so it's imperative we know how to do that. Thank you both for the work you do!

Susan, you're awesome. Thanks so much for bringing these things up. I found myself nodding vigorously as I read your words lol. I've worked in a number of settings (no private practice...yet!) and can attest to the various climates therapists work in. Being underpaid (check), negative coworkers (check), unreachable demands (check) and being thrown into the job without adequate training (check)... yeah, been there. Luckily, I have a fantastic workplace and co-workers currently. It's really a great situation to be in.



This isn't the first time that someone has suggested maybe focusing a bit more on the therapists themselves. I'm a little reluctant due to the wide range of listeners we have... but I also know there's many many therapists that listen. And honestly, I love the idea of being very transparent about our end of things, so this could possibly work. Mercedes and I might need to do a bit of brainstorming. One of our potential topics we've brainstormed is actually discussing the various settings that therapists work in and the issues that underlie them. It's not all a cozy private practice setting!


Thanks Susan! I know I’m not a perfect therapist either, but I’ve also been lucky enough to have an excellent support system of co-workers/supervisors to lean on or consult with. I think that is something that has helped to keep my focus where it needs to be. But I’ve also fallen victim to burnout and poor workplace boundaries, so I can relate to that, for sure! It would definitely be important to continue the conversation on therapist self-care. Great idea! Thanks for the comment! 😊

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