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Bad Therapy 2 / ep21 show notes

Updated: Mar 27, 2020


“I had a therapist who continually took 10-20mins of the time to talk about his adventures in other countries to entice me, thinking I was depressed. Which I wasn't...I just couldn't do stuff due to chronic illness 😑. Another therapist was highly afraid of me telling my story and took a good 3 sessions trying to steer me away so she didn't have to face that 😳. And my last one, where I went for trauma therapy, decided after 5 sessions, in which we had only explored but hadn’t really gotten into the trauma therapy at all yet, that I was ok to just come whenever something popped up (so she suggested every 4-5wks or so). She was done, while we hadn’t even started yet. She also was dissociating whenever I brought up emotions (she'd never ask about them) and once left me hanging, didn’t re-regulate and send me out in the streets in pure triggered and hyperarousal state...just perfect 😖”

  • Mental health vs chronic illness. Come on.

  • Two therapists that were avoiding someone talking about trauma. How is this real life? What did they expect the job to be like?

  • Therapeers - get comfy with trauma. Quick.

“... I didn’t have many individual sessions with her, but she regularly forgot major life events, traumatic experiences I had, (making me repeat deep wounds in an attempt to get her to understand, much less remember), she never took notes, and after 3-4 sessions said that I just “couldn’t let things go” and wanted to try EMDR to move things along quicker (without my consent mind you, she just started doing the hand movements after forcing me to tell a random trauma story and then explained what she did when she was done).

  • You can’t just do stuff. This should all be a part of informed consent regarding treatment modalities. Include the client in the treatment.

  • Therapy is with the client, not at or to the client!

  • “Let things go” - what does this mean? Really, what does it mean?

“I have a horrible few stories of bad therapists… but they aren’t funny at all. I have PTSD. [Bad Therapist] listened to me talk with eyes glazed over and then prescribed medications the first time and asked about my coping mechanisms and stated that what I had been through was extreme and I would likely never get over it, basically to suck it up and take pills to numb it for the rest of my life; and the second time I saw [Bad therapist] we spoke about a new traumatic event, at which point she prescribed even more medications and scheduled a third appointment. At the third appointment after only seeing me 3 times had me on 5 medications and told me that I had healthy coping mechanisms (journaling, meditation, and exercise/yoga) and she would no longer be seeing me. I’ve never gotten over any of it. I’ve just learned ways around the debilitating anxiety and afraid to try therapy again.”

  • A therapist must be present for the client, especially at the first session! To appear to the client that your eyes are glazed over is completely inappropriate.

  • Hopefully, [Bad Therapist] was a psychiatrist and not a therapist.

  • Some psychiatrists also provide therapy treatment.

  • Stated that the client “would likely never get over it”... Then why are you practicing therapy, if not to help? We can’t predict the future. How can someone have such a horrible prognosis? How can you expect so low of your patient?

  • Only 3 sessions?!?! Irresponsible client care. Continuity of medication treatment. Should have referred to a therapist familiar with some deep trauma

  • “I’ve never gotten over it” - New trauma and/or retraumatizing

“Hi. I just watched the live video about an hour ago and I cried when you said that it was OK to ask for what I needed and what I thought might be helpful. I’m a pretty good communicator and I do have some ideas of what may help me. But, I have had three therapists who never made space for my requests. And of course in those times I feel like I must be doing something wrong then. I have these battles in my head where I know I am not being unreasonable, and I am being articulate, and I believe what I’m asking for is going to help me… because I know me. But based on the responses or lack, I flip back again to thinking that there must be something wrong with me. I try to figure out where I am wrong, so I can make it right. And it all makes me sicker.”

  • Why aren’t these therapists listening to the client?

  • To “make space” for a client is exactly the point of being a therapist

  • Reinforcing client’s negative self-image

  • Invalidating appropriate assertiveness

  • Therapeers, in session 1, give your clients permission to ask for what they need.

  • “Makes me sicker.” To all listeners - you’re not sick. You’re stuck. You’re not abnormal but probably survived something that was.

“For over a decade, I worked with an older female therapist that helped me tremendously in working thru my severe childhood traumas. She was beyond helpful. However, my therapist kept wanting to actually step-in & be my new mother. I know that may sound sweet on one level, but I found it confusing & inappropriate while I was literally trying to walk thru the fiery truth of processing the horrific hurts inflicted by my real mother. I needed a therapist, not yet *another* mother. I needed to heal from the one I had. It felt like a boundary violation during a time & in a place that I needed to feel safe, so i could go deep. Instead, I felt judged & like I was disappointing her for not accepting her offer. Regardless, I am deeply grateful for her teachings & her guidance. She was imperative to so many life saving advances I have made on my healing journey. Sometimes, you just have to know when to part ways.”

  • Therapist needs to respect the client’s pace and boundaries. When a therapist pushes for their own needs to be met, it creates distress within the relationship leading to clients taking on feelings that are not their own (i.e. “like I was disappointing her”).

  • “You just have to know when to part ways.” Yes!

  • Don’t solve their problems.


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  • We are getting messages regularly from people that are finding some relief or some peace just by listening to this podcast. So please, share it and know that you’re helping to impact someone in a very positive way.

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