Dear soon-to-be former therapist,
My husband and I came to you for the reasons most couples seek therapy: we needed help and the conventional wisdom is that a therapist’s office is where to find it. But when I would relay something my husband did that was hurtful or difficult, you would invariably instruct me not to “take it personally.” He failed to do something that I depended on him to get done? Don’t take it personally. He yelled “I felt no love for you on our wedding day” in a fight-or-flight moment during a volcano of a row? Don’t take it personally. He forgets whole conversations that involve plans with or commitments to other people? Don’t take it personally. As if the problem is not the thing not finished or the broken trust or the strained relationship but my feelings about these otherwise ostensibly neutral incidents.
My efforts to explain the problems with this approach have not budged your needle of understanding, it appears. Like a good client, I at first blamed myself, thought this failure of communication was because I wasn’t being clear. I tried different ways of explaining as I thought of them. You at one point accused me of repeating myself. I considered that perhaps I was wrong and that the problem was really that I was taking my husband’s broken commitments and his failure to follow through personally, that those issues were his issues, not mine and I was letting them affect me too much, not focusing enough on the good things or the overall nature of our relationship (which, despite the sounds of the snippets here, is genuinely positive).
But that thing that has always bothered me about therapists — that thing that kept me from seeking their help or any help for over a decade after I realized I needed some sort of outside assistance — wouldn’t let me lay the blame for this on myself. What has always bothered me is the attitude of those in the mental health field, the questionably named “helping” professionals, that they can never be wrong and that any friction or trouble between therapist and client must be due to that client’s diagnosis (or that the client needs a diagnosis). Because “the therapist is always right.”
I think I’m finally starting to understand why you keep repeating “don’t take it personally.” That’s your motto. That’s how you continue to excuse yourself for any possible mistake you could be making in relationship with me. That’s how you can treat my husband and I very differently in session and not even consider the possibility that this may be an impediment to whatever work you think you’re trying to do with us. You tell me not to take things personally because that’s what you do. If I react in a way that would otherwise indicate that a change of course is needed on your part, you don’t take it personally. If I straight-up tell you that what you’re doing isn’t helpful, you don’t take it personally. If my husband and I are making no demonstrable progress on the areas we ourselves have identified wanting to make progress on, you don’t take it personally and assume maybe we just need to find another therapist. That’s how you resolve the cognitive dissonance of encouraging us week after week to look inside, examine our own shit and so forth, while feeling no need to do so yourself. That’s how you maintain the paradigm that whatever you’re doing must be helping despite evidence to the contrary: because that evidence — me leaving session after session in tears (and conveniently blaming myself for failing to regulate my emotions), me “repeating myself” (which I conveniently felt bad about for “being stuck,” “fixated” or “holding a grudge”), us getting into arguments that detracted from the attention my marriage needed (which I conveniently understood as my anger problem), etc.
That’s also how you feel okay with the incident that will end our therapeutic relationship, or at least have shown no indication of being disturbed by it. I was immediately upset by it but attempted to find things in myself to work on rather than strike out (as you’d been directing me to do since lashing out is apparently always dysfunctional). That is, until I got outside affirmation that what happened was not okay.
You ask us how we want to use the time today. My husband, with my hesitant permission, brings up the issue of my increasingly frequently and strong suicidal thoughts. It had been hard enough to tell him; I wasn’t at all sure I was prepared for the equivalent of a “don’t take it personally” in this situation. But the suicidal thoughts were an issue in our marriage and we were, after all, in marriage counseling. Plus, I truly wanted help. I had been wanting help for ten years and hadn’t been able to identify appropriate, affordable or accessible versions of it.
I was bracing myself for some sort of “contract for safety,” one of those patronizing documents that professionals sometimes require their clients to sign stating they won’t kill themselves between the time the session ends and the next session or something like that, which are really more about liability and the emotional ease of being off the hook for the therapist than any sort of effective support measure the person brave enough to have broached the topic was seeking. I was prepared for you to ask me direct and uncomfortable questions about whether or not I had a plan and if I had the means to carry it out. I was even prepared for you to present a release of information for me to sign granting you permission to speak with my individual therapist, who had recently dismissed my request for help constructing a safety plan — steps I could take if the dark thoughts and feelings began to overwhelm me — because he’d judged that in the past I had done better and made more progress during the time we did not have a safety plan than when we did.
In fact, what you did was worse than what my individual therapist did. My individual therapist at least gave me the dignity of a conversation, which, given how that conversation went, I hadn’t thought to be grateful for until our session with you. His clinical assessment of our work with or without a safety plan was sloppy and did not take into account any confounding factors, yet he was so certain of his opinion, and of his helpfulness, that my advocating for my needs — in this case a safety plan that involved more than self care but the real, actual, invested care of others — was construed as manipulative, attention-seeking and over dramatic. I basically had to convince this guy that I was suicidal “enough” to need the “extra” support of asking for other human beings to be involved in my healing. What could be worse than all that?
You changed the subject.
In the Adult Mental Health First Aid training I attended a few weeks ago as part of my job as a social worker at a crisis center, this is the first thing they tell you not to do. Even before the training really starts. Even before we get to the specific unit on suicide. Just like the cardinal rule of scuba diving is “never hold your breath,” the first rule of mental health first aid is take suicide seriously. To do that, one has to stay on topic. The material on suicide went over in depth, in various scenarios, how first aiders should address suicide and then we were required to practice. It appears that you have either never heard, did not understand or do not remember this vital information, which I can’t believe wouldn’t come up in at least one class required for your license-qualifying degree, so here are the guidelines again:
- Ask the person directly about thoughts of suicide. Do: “Are you having thoughts of ending your life?” or “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Do not do: “You aren’t thinking about killing yourself, are you?” or be vague, indirect or ask about “self harm.” This, to many people, is a separate action with separation motivations than those related to suicide.
- Remember that you are not planting the idea in the person’s mind. It’s likely already there and they are waiting for you to bring it up because of the bogus and life-threatening stigma associated with suicide (or any level of despair, really).
- If the person answers affirmatively, ask if they have a plan.
- If they say yes, ask if they have the means.
- Either way, do not leave the person alone until you can get them to professional help.
And here’s where we have a couple of problems. There are definitely problems with the Adult Mental Health First Aid curriculum; they are outside the scope of this letter aside from the last step, which advises seeking professional help. It’s not like we have specific mental health paramedics we can call to rush to the scene like we do for physical problems — which, by the way, shows that despite our culture’s rampant adherence to the biomedical model, the mainstream does not actually believe in the equivalence of mental and physical illness. We call 911 for mental health emergencies, or we call the police and either way, we’ve generally made the situation worse. The point is that it can take days to weeks to get “professional” help for mental or emotional distress. Even if our approaches (or lack thereof) to mental health were not “leave it to the experts, friends can’t do anything,” it’s not possible to accompany another adult for the days or weeks they have to wait to get an intake at a professional’s office.
We have now arrived, squarely back in your office, at our second problem and the reason I’m writing this letter. Even if the first aider managed to stay with the suicidal adult for the days or weeks (or, in our specific case with you, months) until their intake (or the days until their next appointment provided they had a therapist already), the odds are that, whatever they find in that office, it will not look or feel like help. Why?
Because your colleague dismissed it and you changed the subject and it was not because you simply missed what my husband said. I get that you are a couple’s therapist and your job is to home in on the patterns in the relationship between the two parties in the room, but there is no justification for not even acknowledging that my husband just reported that his wife is experiencing increased suicidal ideation and that maybe, just maybe, it’s affecting the marriage. He asked how he could be supportive of me. He asked for resources. He took my suicidality personally — as in, he personally decided to do what he could about it and to expand his existing knowledge where he felt limited.
Why is it that members of the community who have no formal education in psychology or counseling or therapy like myself are receiving more training in compassion and effective responses to the public health crisis that is suicide than “professionals?” There may be flaws in said training, yet the nonprofessionals I’ve come across in the community as well as my coworkers at the crisis center who do not have formal education in counseling or psychology are far less pathologizing, cold and judgmental than those with licenses to “help.” Why is it that “mere” first aiders, volunteers who care, are being instructed to actively care while you and your colleagues evidently are not? Why is it that effective care is free while you and your colleagues feel fine charging money to ignore, dismiss or invalidate your clients? In not even acknowledging what my husband said, but “moving on” to “more effective” topics like “what’s happening between he and I,” you failed, in the name of “helping,” to take me, my husband or our relationship seriously. You also failed to take suicide seriously. I take that personally and I hope that someday you do too.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Thank you Megan!
How can you, or anyone, NOT personalize such cruel words and actions? 🙁
The thing your therapist should have told you was that your husband’s behavior was unacceptable. His deeds made him a bad person. No one deserves this treatment.
It’s safe to assume there are others your husband treats poorly–employees, fast food workers, and others “beneath” him. Sadly for you he vented all that was darkest and worst inside him on the one nearest him. His wife.
I hope things are better now.
I have been married 63 years…..it is much different
than I ever imagined….it has been very stressful..
I think that good marriage counseling is hard to find…
‘Why is it that members of the community who have no formal education in psychology or counseling or therapy like myself are receiving more training in compassion and effective responses to the public health crisis that is suicide than “professionals?”
1 CAUSE YOU ARE A HUMAN, AND PSYCHIATRISTS ARE A BIOLOGICAL MACHINES, THE PROOF OF THAT FACT IS DEHUMANISING LANGUAGE THEYE ARE USING.
2 SCIENTISM AND BRAIN/ BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS IS A CONVENIENT OMISSION OF THE ESSENCE OF THE HUMAN PSYCHE. SCIENCE HAS GOT NOTHING IN COMMON WITH EMPATHY, LOVE.
PSYCHIATRY IS A CONTINUATION OF NAZISTS FANTASIES ABOUT FLESH, BIOLOGICAL PSYCHE.
(APOLLONIAN FIXATION AND NEGATION OF HADES AND DEATH===MENTAL HEALTH === PSYCHOLOGICAL NAZISM, IDEOLOGICAL/THEOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALISM/CULT WITH PRETENSIONS TO SCIENCE. NEGATION OF THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL MAN WAS THE MAIN AIM OF NAZISM—-THE FIXATION OVER FLESH BODY, AND APOLLONIAN EGO IS A SIMPLE FLESH WORLD, AND PSYCHE IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL WORLD WITH OTHER AIMS THAN APOLLONIAN SIMPLICITY AND MATERIALISM
3. PEOPLE DON’T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE PSYCHE, BECAUSE SCIENTISM —-INQUISITION —DESTROYED THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE PSYCHE. ONLY JAMES HILLMAN WRITES ABOUT WHAT THE PSYCHE IS. ABOUT THE PHENOMENOLOGY. APOLLONIANS AND THEIR MAIN RELIGION -SCIENCE HAVE DESTROYED IMAGINATION.
THERE IS NO CURE, BECAUSE THE CURE LIES IN DESTROYED AN BURIED LANGUAGE, DESTROYED BY AUTHORITARIANS AND THEIR UNHEALTHY PREOCCUPATION WITH BIOLOGICAL PSYCHE AND, THE BRAIN THEORIES ——— MONEY IN THE PLACE OF THE CONSCIENCE.
WHERE IS THE PEHNOMEOLOGY OF THE PSYCHE? WHERE THE F, IS IT, BECAUSE THEY CURE STH AND STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS. THAT IS THE PROBLEM.
FAKE PEOPLE, FAKE PSYCHE.
RE -VISIONING PSYCHOLOGY JAMES HILLMAN, MANUFACTURE OF MADNESS -T. SZASZ
AND ALSO SUCICDE AND THE SOUL —
BECAUSE DEATH IS NOT THE MEDICAL OR THEOLOGICAL PROPERTY, THE PSYCHE MEANS -THE REALITY OF DEATH. THE NON EXISTENT REALITY (IN APOLLONIAN SIMPLE CONVENIENT IMAGINATION )THE HARDEST REALITY, NOT THE MOST SICK ONE. THIS IS THE DIFFERENCE, DEATH IS NOT AN ILLNESS.
HADES IS THE HARDEST AND THE CRUELEST PSYCHOLOGICAL REALITY. NOT THE MOST SICK ONE IN MEDICAL MEANING.
YES, APOLLONIASNS —————–YOU ARE THE WEAKEST, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT EVEN TOUCHING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL REALITY, EVEN IN DEPRESSION, IN DEPRESSION YOU ONLY SEE DEATH FORM THE SAFE PLACE. PSYCHOSIS IS STH DIFFERENT. AUTHORITARIAN SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY POWER OVER PSYCHOLOGICAL HADES. BECAUSE THE JUST DO NOT HAVE IT, ANYWAY.
HARD PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE AND NON MATERIAL FUNCTIONING IS NOT A VACATION, YOU ASSHOLES,
AND HARD WORK IN SIMPLE PSYCHOLOGICAL/APOLLONIAN REALITY IS NOT A HARD LIFE.
BELIEVE ME THAT, COMPARED TO HADES REALITY , YOUR HARD WORK ON APOLLONIAN LEVEL OR EVEN IN THE DEEPEST DEPRESSION —– THIS IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL VACATION FOR KIDS. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT PSYCHE/HADES MEANS FOR EGO. AND THAT APOLLONIANANS ARE SO EXTREMELY ARROGANT.
FOR STATE YOUR PSYCHE IS ONLY A MEAT.
SO FIGHT FOR THE PROPER HUMAN MEANING.
YOU, PSYCHIATRISTS AND DSM SLAVES, LAW —–YOU ARE THE HIDDEN DESTRUCTION OF THE STATE IN HUMAN MEANING. YOU ARE THE CONTEMPORARY INQUISITION.
THIS IS NOT A STATE, STATE WAS DESTROYED BY INQUISITION, LONG TIME AGO, THIS IS A PARASITIC FAKE REALITY WITH PRETENSIONS TO BEING A STATE.
I did not read your comment because it is in ALL CAPS.
You might wanna rethink that if you actually want people to read your posts.
They didn’t have to, I am loud enough. bahahaa Besides, my boyfriend read it. He lives in lethal prison for serial murders. He has got problem with eyes.
Sweet Mary please, save his tired soul and give him a pair of new good glasses.
Megan, I hope that you do deliver this letter personally to this “marriage counselor” and I hope that they have integrity enough to bring it into their professional supervision sessions. I think you should (strongly) suggest it. I also think you should send a copy to the licensing board that issued him/her their certification to do this work. You have a claim for malpractice here, you know, if you wanted to pursue it. Perhaps you should point that out as well.
I agree, write to all professional bodies, employers, licensing bodies this counsellor is involved in.
Even better, get an advocate to do it for you.
Thanks for posting this Megan. I’m so glad to see that you were able to figure out what was actually happening in that confusing situation. It seems to me like a lot of therapists blame the patient for how they have been treated – either openly like your marriage counsellor did or covertly through diagnoses. This is not to say that we are helpless, we can still work to make our lives better, but let’s at least not lie to each other about what is happening around us! That is crazy-making. I also find compassionate friends to be more helpful, along with returning to regular common sense. Peace.
I also found “mental health professionals” and doctors tend to project their own “mental illnesses” onto their patients. In other words, they pretend their paranoia or mania or depression is your problem. And I agree, when you don’t know your doctor, who you just met, is an insanely dangerous paranoid “schizophrenic,” because she wants to proactively prevent a malpractice suit for her incompetent doctor husband.
And she’s so dangerously paranoid that she wants to have you murdered to proactively prevent a malpractice suit. So she projects her paranoid “schizophrenia” into your medical records, without even telling you. Which results in a “foul up” by a subsequent doctor, then more, and more, and more, and more, malpractice by each subsequent health care worker. That, especially due to the resulting egregious and unneeded anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings, and poisoning people is a form of attempted murder, is crazy making.
I also found compassionate friends to be helpful, along with utilizing common sense, ignoring the bad advice of these crazy making “mental health professions,” and eventually walking away from all the DSM deluded, to be what was beneficial to me.
This type of systemic betrayal by the medical community, of their clients, is shameful, however. Both the mainstream medical community, and their malpractice covering up psychiatrists, psychologists, et al, should be ashamed of this type of systemic, greed inspired, abuse of patients.
I’m sorry Megan that you, too, dealt with insensitive and incompetent “mental health professionals.” Walking away was what helped me, it sounds like it’s likely what will help you as well. And it is shameful that the “mental health professionals” do not take others concerns seriously. Before leaving my psychiatrist, I confronted him with the reality that his medical records were filled with misinformation about me and my life.
As it turned out, he had never listened to me, and instead he’d gotten all his misinformation about me, according to medical records, from paranoid doctors, as well as paranoid child molesters. My psychiatrist, too, became a paranoid “schizophrenic” when I confronted him with that bitter pill. And his “delusions of grandeur,” that he could declare my entire life to be “a credible fictional story,” and that would make it true, were written into his medical records. The inmates are running the asylums, #walkaway.
I am sorry, Megan, from what sounds like a non-empathic response from a couple’s therapist. It sounds like he was not validating your thoughts or your feelings. This was not a therapeutic, healing discourse and actually sounded like it was a re-traumatizing experience. I would recommend talking to the therapist directly about your experience and see how he responds. Writing it out like you did can certainly help you to focus and be calm and centered when talking to him. I would want to know if I harmed someone.
I understand that you are angry but making blanketed statements that “helping” professionals, that they can never be wrong and that any friction or trouble between therapist and client must be due to that client’s diagnosis (or that the client needs a diagnosis). Because ‘the therapist is always right””. I know I am wrong a lot. Being a therapist does not mean trying to be right at al. To me therapy is about assisting others to find their own truth and as a couples therapist I teach more productive communication skills. I have to practice this myself. I like emotion-focused therapy myself for couples. I wish you the best.
”Now when therapy decides to cure the pathology, instead of seeing that the pathology is part of the crack or the broken window, and that something is trying to get in, then it seems to me it’s creating more pathology and keeping the Gods even further away. And then they break in through the whole fucking society”.
James Hillman — read his books, he was a friend of psyche, not a another inquisitor who writes about sth he never have experienced. Because this is psychiatry, egoic apollonians people bla bla about sb else psyche/ hades.
We must realize that those people are inquisition in pseudo scientific disguise. This is not science and this is not empathy, this is witchcraft. And anyone who represent psychological traits beyond apollonian ego is mean to be killed. In one way or another. So we must know what is the phenomenological world of psyche, what means apollonian ego, normalcy and hades/psyche which is beyond natural world, beyond normalcy.
The see no value in psychopathology if it is beyond material profit.
AND THE NATURE OF THE HARDEST AND THE MOST DANEGROUS STATES OF PSYCHE IS BEYOND SIMPLE MATERIALISTIC WORLD.
DSM PERSECUTORS WILL SERVE PSYCHE. THIS IS THE FUTURE.
The only therapist I felt like taking any advice from was one that actually seemed to care what I thought or felt. The rest of them just wanted to use either some authority figure approach or some kind of method approach. I think we have to feel like our attitudes, feelings, opinions, are first accepted as important, worthy, and honorable, because that is what we have to work with, that is what we are at the moment. But when they just brush those things aside, I seem to just automatically reject their advice.
“Dont take it personally”
Sounds like the broken record technique
“Dont take it personally”
Sounds like the broken record technique
“Dont take it personally”
Sounds like the broken record technique
Ha ha boans
“Don’t take it personally” was a response I ran into repeatedly from tons of people in the “mh” world, from therapists to professional advocates. It’s like a motto or philosophy, in order to avoid. Talk about a cop out!
And indeed, it is one-way, because they seem to take EVERYTHING so darn personally. Therapists will not take feedback, and they HATE it when you terminate with them. They feel personally rejected, rather than seeing it through a professional lens, like any other business which serves clients would normally do. It’s crazy-making.
“Don’t take it personally” means there will be no change because nothing will be looked at on a deeper level, which is what is supposed to happen in so-called “therapy. It is a completely inappropriate response because it is a personal judgment which the therapist is attempting to project onto the client, and it has nothing to do with healing. This response serves only to appease the status quo of any system.
This is how abuse gets enabled and dysfunctional systems remain unchallenged. It is, in fact, a form of gaslighting, so it is abusive, in and of itself, in this context of “therapy.” It’s also incompetent.
I knew a “professional advocate” who would say this to people complaining about blatant discrimination and double-binding in the mh and social services industry–as in, don’t you dare complain about how you are being treated or there will be consequences. Don’t take it personally??? That’s not even the point of the grievance.
I guess it’s just too much trouble to make change happen by actually challenging abuse and discrimination head on and calling it out as it occurs. We’ll just stay mad and wounded from it and complain about it forever, together in unison. But please, and this above all–don’t take it personally!
therapy is a waste. counseling is a dead end. I don’t doubt that there are some high quality people in mental health…but they’re the exceptions to the rule, sadly enough.
its all about control, usually. labels, stigma, making more money for themselves or the psychiatrists who will galdly drug up their patients to make us/them more “amenable to treatment,” etc.
people need people, of course. people need guidance, real compassion, real friends. i think we’d all be quite alright without therapists, counselors, etc.
Seek out psychiatric “help” and you’ll lose all friends, support, and guidance. You don’t need compassion just drugs cause crazies don’t have feelings. If you express pain you’re faking it and manipulative. 😛
My dorm mom told everyone in my dorm to shun me. Said only trained professionals should talk to something like me.
Psychiatry isn’t about healing people but vaccinating society against those they deem walking diseases–the “mentally ill.” Real doctors don’t appear on 48 Hours to demonize their patients.
Remember Dirty Harry? The way they see it we’re the disease and they’re the cure.
Do you feel lucky punk?
Therapists have been a hit and miss proposition for me. I think that I’ve dealt with one truly good therapist who worked out of his own humanity and who truly cared about the people who came to him for guidance. One therapist was useless and never knew what I was talking about because he never listened. I had one good woman therapist while I was in the “hospital”; she listened intently, heard what I said, and made observations and asked appropriate questions. One therapist didn’t know what she was doing and I walked her through our sessions together. Another ended up using me as his therapist as he sat with his legs drawn up in the seat of his chair crying. They are truly a mixed bag and you never know what you’re getting until you sit down across from them and begin talking. Not everyone who thinks that they should be a therapist should actually be a therapist.
Personally, I’ve got Wise Women friends that I can go to. I got pretty good help from fellow “patients” on the same unit that I was on in the “hospital”.
Stephen, I had one that cried in my presence and used me as her therapist, too. I had one ask me out on a date. I had two that slept during our sessions. Elsa Ronningstam would sleep for 10 minutes at a stretch while I sat there not knowing what to do. The only reason I ended up with her as a therapist was because my previous therapist insisted I see a psychologist and Ronningstam was the only one available. Since she specializes in stuff like sociopathy, she didn’t know what to do with me. She couldn’t help me with my ED at all. I saw her after ECT till I fired her. After seeing her for many months she called me up and said she had to have me come in so she could answer the questions on the disability form. I came in and she asked me “What are your symptoms?” I was shocked…oh wait, I’d already been shocked…either way, that did it for me. After eight or so months she didn’t even know why I was there.
The abusive one insisted that I get force-weighed and regularly threatened me over my weight. I figure at that time it was her duty, or better yet, my psychiatrist’s, to inform me that I had kidney disease (functioning under 40%). The therapist knew but did not tell me. I have diabetes insipidus which means I need more water to survive. This therapist repeatedly accused me of “water-loading,” “water addiction,” and “abusing yourself with water.” Totally untrue! She even accused me of vomiting, which I have never done. I never learned how! She sent the cops to my house when I was sitting quietly, studying, at the library. She even called me and I happened to be in a location where I could pick up the phone there. I did, and she asked, “Where are you? The cops couldn’t find you at your apartment.” Huh? I was so scared to go home that day. She sectioned me another time, and then, claimed she had only sent the cops for a “wellness check” and claimed the cops mis-heard her and dragged me in anyway. I doubt it since a section involves paperwork they have to fill out w her. They HAD the papers! She regularly lied to me, then claimed I was the liar. I had to sign a seven-page contract with her, which she regularly changed to suit her whim. One time she came to the hospital where I had been imprisoned. I prepared for the meeting with “staff” and had a statement written out. My voice was not heard. The meeting was all about her! I was shocked. Of course with her narcissistic tendencies, that all makes sense. One time in “therapy” she said “bullshit” after everything I said. And more.
I hated that she ran my life. I so badly wanted out after I realized this. I went through withdrawal after I quit her. Narcissistic abuse does that to you. You become isolated in the therapy and your other relationships weaken or end. During the abuse you might seem erratic or bizarre to others since you are being manipulated the whole time. I lost many friends that year. They never understood that the abuse caused it all. it took a long time to recover, and I was angry for a long time as part of the grieving process.
OMG, that is such a horrific story! I thought the first one was bad until you described the second. Inexcusable!
Yes, Steve, that story about the second therapist really needs to get out there. I have spoken of her many times in my own blog, but the blog isn’t getting a lot of pageviews right now. I am trying to get the story more visible without resorting to joining Facebook again. She is still practicing. I don’t think she should be, and I don’t know where to go to report her where I will be taken seriously.
I face the usual dilemma, the easy way out that people use. All they have to do is call me crazy and my story and anything I say is silenced.
This is why maintaining labeling is so important to them, despite the industry’s ironically deceptive “Anti-stigma” campaigns. As long as “the mentally ill” can be automatically deemed not credible, any facts about wrongdoing by “mental health professionals” can remain hidden. It is appalling.
Removed for moderation.
I was a therapist for 50 years, and I guess I did take it personally!
At 90 I am still trying to change psychiatry: to encourage listening to people, trying to understand them, and especially trying to help them to understand themselves. I think of it as a human approach, and feel it contrasts with trying to find a drug that will relieve symptoms. Some patients prefer the latter path, and can be referred.
I had a background in science, with interests in journalism and drama, so it seemed natural to take a personal history, to get to know people, and to find the connection between past trauma and present symptoms.
This approach did not endear me to psychoanalytic or psychiatric former colleagues.
Meghan, Something doesn’t sound right about this relationship at all. If this were a friendship, what kind of friend would this be? It isn’t helping you. It is hurting you. You need to end it and find good people in your life.
I agree with the others. Often therapy does more harm than good. I had an abusive one I would love to write about here in an article but I don’t know if MIA would welcome that since so many subscribers are therapists…..Although I don’t see how relating a personal experience would steer anyone away from therapy…only from the abusive or harmful therapists. Sadly, there are far more out there than most people are willing to recognize. We do not know what happens behind closed doors, do we? In general I do not think going to therapy is a good idea.