Good vs Bad Therapist

People say there are no bad therapists. The usual response is: “It is not a good fit.” I find this response hypocritical. It is easy to intellectualize, have theories, and opinions when you are in a good place emotionally and mentally, however, when you are in bad emotional, mental, and psychological state and you need a therapist you want a good one. A good one means someone that can start helping you immediately or if he or she cannot help you they can refer you to someone that can. That is a good therapist! Period. Exclamation mark! Done.

A bad therapist, on the other hand, will accept you as a client most likely because they have free slots they need to fill them in, in order to make money. In other words, they will do it out of their own needs, not yours. The argument these therapists make is that it is the client responsibility to decide if the therapist is a good fit or not. Also, it is the client responsibility to communicate, be motivated, to do the work, etc. They put the full responsibility on the client. This would make sense if these are two healthy adults deciding whether they want to get married or not. Also, it would make sense if you are hiring a personal trainer. However, this is therapy. The client is not mentally and emotionally healthy and the therapist has more power and more knowledge and experience.

The bad therapist will continue scheduling sessions and will point out minuscule improvements you have made in therapy. In addition, they will project their own beliefs about the world and how things should work. Some might even try an involve you in their agenda to heal the world. Some might even try to teach you how to communicate at a very high-cost undermining your confidence and undermining that in your life you have been an excellent communicator – based on hard evidence, not just your opinions. Some might also try to teach you breathing techniques after you have already told them you’ve completed the full Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in a group setting and that you already have a full year subscription to Headspace and that you attend Yoga classes. Again, all of this at a very high cost per session. Others might tell you to go out and make friends as homework – another undermining of your confidence and capabilities – you already have friends, make friends easily, and have received popularity awards. Yup!

I don’t want to sound to sound pessimistic because by nature I am an optimist. Bad therapist exists but good and great therapist exist too. It is unfortunate that we as trauma survivors, who have already gone through so much, need to go deal with bad therapists. However, I am convinced that there is hope and there is a light within us. I believe that if we were able to survivor the abuse we are able to overcome the consequences and live full and successful lives. Live to tell.

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