Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org




therapist horror stories


Recommended Posts

This is a thread for us all to share our worst experiences with "therapists" who didn't know what they were doing or talking about, or who made you feel even worse about yourself.

 

For example, when I was 16 I went to a therapist who spent an entire session trying to convince me that I'm not gay and that "lots of people think they're gay but really aren't." I'm still not sure wtf she was talking about, but needless to say, I never went back. I actually ran into her a couple of years ago in the supermarket, and she didn't recognize me, but I definitely recognized her. It took a lot of willpower not to go up to her and unleash. 

 

Anyway- what are your therapist horror stories? Commiserate with me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 51
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I suppose that I am not only perverse, but also an optimist. I find it more heartening, uplifting, and supportive to read of folks positive experiences, their growth through those experiences, and to see the world of MI therapy as a potential for good, rather than concentrating on the negative and harmful.

 

Do we not each experience enough negation as we deal with MI that we do not have to concentrate on sharing all that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's probably more helpful to hear positive experiences with therapists, but i will say that the amount of therapists that are competent and genuinely helpful seem to be far and few compared to the many who are incompetent and/or see it as nothing more than a job. i've gone through so many, it's rare to find a gem in a therapist. you have to look carefully.

Edited by j.evang
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think therapists are a lot like yelp reviews...

people are motivated and sometimes very right to complain about their bad experiences. 

 

When people have a good experience, they don't necessarily talk about it.

http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php/topic/67379-therapist-joy-stories/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think its just human nature.  I remember the people who walked up and sucker punched me much more than I remember the times I dropped things and someone stopped to help me pick things up.  To me the only potential hazard is when people start playing "Queen for a Day" and try to out do each other with the worst possible stories, that is counter productive and truly serves no fruitful purpose.  

 

But so many people seem to have really suffered at the hands of therapists because they felt that their pain, suffering, and issues were invalidated.  And it seems that this place has always been about seek out validation.  Many people are looking to tell their tale to regain some power that they may move own.  That whole cathartic closure thing.  "I'm so sorry that happened to you", "I'm listening", "No one deserves that", this is the very language used to respond with when someone tells of hurts they have suffered at the hands of others and I see it all the time around here.  As long as it doesn't turn into a perverse contest, I don't see where this topic would be different from any other that spoke of an individuals pain that came from an exterior source.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see any reason why people shouldn't be able to talk about their awful experiences with bad therapists. Maybe it isn't "uplifting" and heartwarming, but it is a reality many people experience all the time. Of course there are great therapists out there, I currently have one, but I've also had really shitty ones. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see a problem with the thread, sometimes commiseration is comforting. I at least find the humor in it sometimes.

I had a therapist tell me she was scared of me once, she said I reminded her of the sandy hook shooter and that she hoped I got help soon otherwise she would read headlines about me one day. she had also somehow gotten the impression that I had dissociative identity disorder. She was a really nice lady but I never had a therapist tell me she thought I was crazy before. "i wouldn't want to meet you in a dark alley" she said. Well actually she said she didn't think I was crazy, which maybe is worse because she just thought I was a murderer or something.

I saw another therapist in that building after that and he spent the session showing me powerpoint presentations on mindfulness. I started crying and he just stared at me and said "I'm not here to help you I'm just here to give you advice". He was a real estate agent who decided it would be exciting to get into health care instead.

I find those stories humorous though. Not so humorous was the director of Residential reatment center I attended. She really liked me until I started decomponsating into psychosis for the first time. She started sending me text messages from out of state at conferences blaming me for the group going downhill, saying I was a bad influence. I saved the messages on my phone because I wanted to file a complaint but never did. She started pulling me out of group to her office, she said if I wanted to kill myself I could because it was my right, and for the last month pressured me daily to sign out against medical advice from program. My insurance company was putting pressure on the facility because I was the client there the longest and relapsing rather than getting better and she said I was a liability. After a month of harassment I agreed to sign out ama. I was really upset, got very bad, but I later learned another client sued her so I dont feel so bad anymore.

I have had some really great therapists of course, but its just odds you will get a bad one or two eventually. I usually think the therapist is always right so maybe there is some benefit in realizing when they are not so you can stand up for yourself. Some therapists are sloppy....but people like the woman from treatment I think need to have attention drawn to them. She discharged clients who relapsed to keep agood image of success at her facility going so far as to discharge a friend of mine for drug use without doing a drug test. Staff knew what was happening too and many left. It was agood program, but that woman was no good.

Edited by kitkatt91
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only really bad experience I had was with a pdoc who also did therapy with me too, and would call family meetings without telling me/asking me about it first.  I'd find out from my parents (I lived with them at the time, and was 18) that "oh, tomorrow we have a family meeting with (pdoc)," and I was like wtf?  So I'd call pdoc and ask why are we having a family meeting and you didn't even bother mentioning it to me?  And he'd say he didn't think he needed to.

 

At the time is was extremely important not only for trust issues, but also to know about these things ahead of time because of the family dynamics back then.  I had to emotionally prepare myself for these meetings, and he didn't seem to see a problem. 

 

I stopped seeing him, then 5 years later ended up in the hospital and asked him to be my pdoc again (Idk why, I think it was just that he was the only familiar face where I was and I was scared to be there to begin with).  We got along much better, but a few years down the road when I was not doing well, and clearly not getting any better -- I was getting worse -- he said there was nothing left he could do for me, and that I'd have to find someone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a tdoc that did one on one DBT with me.. but all she did was photocopy out of a book she got at Chapters.. that cost less than one session (and I was getting discounted sessions because she was in school) I eventually terminated therapy because it was fairly useless, she mostly agreed with me and didn't speak much.. we never formed a relationship.. and she kept calling "schizotypal" "schizo-typical".

 

She was just not experienced enough at the time for what I needed... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine is mixed too, she was good in the way of being understanding and compassionate, but lacked training in DBT and bipolar, and didn't like me using PRN meds. So she would make a face when I took my Klonopin, DBT was "here's a copy of a few pages of this book", so sometimes I would just go and vent, which was helpful sometimes. But other times I ended up having general conversation. She eventually said we should go to "as needed therapy" and I agreed. So not really a horror story, but not helpful sometimes either.

 

The first one I had ever seen used to zone out and look like he was going to fall asleep and constantly looked at his watch, I wanted to say to him, "am I boring you?". I should have.

 

Oh, my husband went to a therapist for his OCD and she spent a lot of time talking about past lives, as if it was caused by that?? And she was recommended by our insurance company??

Edited by wj74
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My childhood tdoc (who also saved my life, so... it was not entirely bad) was a hard-core Freudian. I saw her from 8 to 18 and... 

 

"you are cuddling your dog because you want a penis. You are using it as a penis, because that's what you want" (I was 8, and a girl, and no, I was not familiar with the weird obsession with penises that some psychoanalysts have...)

 

To 14 yo me, saying that I am think I may be gay: "See, it proves you are not fixed yet. You refuse your real desires, and prefer to stay in your imaginary world. Preferring girls is just a way to resist. To avoid getting better."

 

She also: forbade me to read, set the appointments precisely at the times I had trouble coming/I would have had other activities, I had to pay if I chose to go to a friend instead of to my session, even if planned more than 3 weeks in advance, if I felt comfortable talking in one way, she would not listen until I used the way I was uncomfortable with, because I should learn that I don't get what I want, feelings are just... to be ignored.

She said I was studying because I refused to admit my penislessness, so I had to compensate.... she said I refused to be fixed. 

 

That's the main thing I regret, spending 10 years thinking I was not good enough and needing to be fixed, and learning that through therapy. But she also helped me a lot, and I worshipped her in the "I am 12 and you are a brilliant grown-up" way^^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can relate to the getting the bills ... I had a great tdoc for 7 or 8 years on a sliding scale, and then I became medicare-eligible after 2 years on SSDI.  One day I get a bill in the mail for the Medicaid part that she didn't cover, which cost more than the sliding fee ever did.  She never even told me she would start billing me, so the first bill had 4 or 5 sessions on it that I owed.  I asked her about it and she said I could pay it a little at a time if I wanted.  But either way I'd owe all of it.

 

Same with pdoc ... he cut 3-4 hours a week to 1.5/week one day, out of the blue, because he was no longer taking medicaid.  I could still see him the 3-4 hours, but I would owe him 50% of his astronomical fee every time.  So I was like fuck it, and eventually left him.  I think that had a little to do with the psychotic break I had.

 

Thing is, with these 2 people they NEVER let money get in the way.  I've talked about them before here on CB.  When they did start making money an issue, I just couldn't handle it anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh you're all going to love this one... My very first therapist appointment.

 

I got accused of been the asshole of society, also had my parents accused of raping me as a kid wich is why i am like this right now apparently... and did i mention i am a bully who enjoys pushing my weight on others... like i'm even capable of bullying anyone! oh and i only got a job as security so i can perve on women... forget my track history of catching the most shoplifters out of all security officers in this town! and i changed my careers because i was a failure forget my 6 years experience as a chef... did i mention again my parents touched me as a kid,,,

 

what a wasted space fucking useless therapist.... i'm sure there is a breach of code of conduct in there somewhere..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I'm SO GLAD I'm not alone in this.

I have a thread going on in the chronic pain forum about my group therapy leader's issues. I was in severe chronic debilitating pain that was exacerbated over the last few months by the drug that was keeping me sane enough to even seek help, and everything about it was terrifying and confusing to me and I felt helpless. She did a whole bunch of immature and innapropriate things that she had to apologize for a few times, but essentially she accused me of hiding my feelings and focusing too much on medication and pain. And, like she said, "No magic pill is going to make you happy." Because I guess there's a magic talk therapy that prevents akathisia. OK then.

Anyway on a day when nobody wanted to talk, she mentioned making sure your physical healht was in check, and when she mentioned sleep I said that I've had a lifelong history with sleep problems, but it started to really terrify me about 2 years ago when I switched jobs and had to start doing a terrible, long, morning commute - and I felt unsafe driving having taken an atypical antipsychotic the night earlier because when I felt in the morning was not sleepy or groggy - it felt like really heavy SEDATION and I was terrified every day of driving to work like that, and it still haunts me. The flip side is I have times where I can't sleep at all but there's no racing thoughts or anything - in fact, i've had this happen while on a mood stabilizer, my brain is just not able to turn out the lights. I've done all the sleep hygeine, paid for 3 sleep studies out of pocket (OY) that were inconclusive, tried guided meditation, I don't take naps, etc. - and the most depressing part of any day is seeing the sun rise and having not slept all night. It disturbs me. How do I deal with this?

A few other people chimed in and wondered too and I started to say something and she interrupted me and put her hands in her ears and siad "Oh my GOD - OK does anyone have a story NOT related to sleep? Please? We need to keep the conversation moving."

I said "Wow. Ok. Nevermind."

And the group was just silent for a while. 

She apologized to me after group and I said it was cool - maybe i"m not in as big of a crisis as other people and those people probably need the time more to talk about more urgent issues, so whatevz. She assured me this was not the case.

Her assistant approached me later and asked if the leader had apollogized to me. I said yes and said the same thing about maybe not being in the kind of crisis they treat. She also said, "NO - ALL human pain is EQUAL" and assured me that I should stay and participate.

Bunch of other stuff happened and it was mostly public and humiliating, I'm really upset by how that went and I'm not a therapist n00b - been to sevearl great individual therapists, and went to a great inpatient program and one other outpatient hospital and each program was great, at least one was amazing.

This was a wonderful facility but the leader was incredibly unprofessional. 

I also filled out my paperwork to specifically state I did NOT want any of my information shared with a family member, etc. about my treatment, but she thought that it was necessary to decide for everyone that they should include their family or SO.

I said I didn't for specific reasons - IMO it turns into a big game of telephone (ESPECIALLY with this therapist) where something I said gets turned slightly different when it's relayed to say, my doctor, and by the time the therapist finally innaprporiately brings it up in front of 20 people it's a completely different thing than from what I truly said. My mom does NOT NEED this - it worries her and she's already terrified for me and feels like she can't help me from a distance. I keep my mom properly updated.

I told the leader "Yeah I decided to not have the hospital relay information about my treatment, etc" and she kept prying. She was like "yeah I know but I like to include someone. I will not tell them anything you discuss in group..." and I was like, "Still. I just don't want to do it that way, I'd just as soon keep them updated myself." At this point I already had MAJOR trust issues with her and just flat out didn't want her freaking out or twisting things to my boyfriend. 

Again, she said "Well if something really bad happens to you..."

And I said, Well, I mean, I have an EMERGENCY contact if that's what you mean, but it's in my paperwork. She asked for the name and number and relationshp and against my better judgement I gave it to her, again reminding her it's my EMERGENCY contact.

She called my boyfriend that night and left hima voice mail. I did not have an emergency that day. Or ever while I was there. I asked him not to return the call till I cleared things up with her but things just got worse and worse and worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had 2 bad experiences. One that was okay, but it was religion based and really not my thing but it wasn't bad.

One was a marriage counselor who pretty much spent the entire time we saw her agreeing totally with everything my husband said and did while telling me everything I said and did was totally wrong. We stopped going when she started suggesting we get a divorce. That's not what we were there for.

My 2nd one spent a number of sessions prying into my childhood and teenage years trying to find something that had triggered off my depression and anxiety. She seemed almost disappointed that there was nothing at all and subsequently decided perhaps my husband was controlling (he's not) and that I should think about leaving him. WTF? That was 3 years ago and I'm happy to say we are still married (and happy!)

I'm a little scared of seeing a new one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had 2 bad experiences. One that was okay, but it was religion based and really not my thing but it wasn't bad.

One was a marriage counselor who pretty much spent the entire time we saw her agreeing totally with everything my husband said and did while telling me everything I said and did was totally wrong. We stopped going when she started suggesting we get a divorce. That's not what we were there for.

My 2nd one spent a number of sessions prying into my childhood and teenage years trying to find something that had triggered off my depression and anxiety. She seemed almost disappointed that there was nothing at all and subsequently decided perhaps my husband was controlling (he's not) and that I should think about leaving him. WTF? That was 3 years ago and I'm happy to say we are still married (and happy!)

I'm a little scared of seeing a new one.

YES!!! This is EXACTLY the way I felt this last time around and with a former therapist. While my childhood wasn't ideal, there was no real trauma or abuse, and I had one kinda traumatic incident as an adult involving a broken engagement but even for that I felt like intense therapy was overkill but I did it anyway. It absolutely does NOT keep me up at night or is something I dwell on. In fact, I think I went into my next relationship with the LEAST relationship baggage I've ever had in my life. It ultimately ended but we're on good terms - it was a nice, happy healthy relationship. 

This last therapist seemed borderline obsessed with knowing more about this story and I was like WHY? lol. It's no longer therapeutic to talk about for me, all it would do is satiate your desire to hear it. That's just borderline...nosy lol. I'd be happy to tell you about it over drinks but I'm not buying.

Years earlier I tried couples counseling with my ex because I felt constantly angry, and that's not like me. I felt this rollercoaster in my head where I felt like I had an awesome idea, then my brain shoved a negative thought in there immediately to refute it and I was just miserable and agitated and angry ALL the time. It's so out of character for me. It'd been happening about 2 months.

The therapist asked about my family, and I talked about my mom and my sister - and she said dramatically "But don't you see what's happening? You are subconciously trying to please both of them and it's their voices arguing in your head..." and had this really flowery, drawn out therapist explanation about how it was this dual voice thing that I could control if I talked more about them. Because the anger is ultimately rooted in something, probably that.

About a week later I ran out of Vyvanse for my ADD and there turned out to be a shortage or something (the drug was still kind of new, I don't remember what the issue was), and as a holdover my psychiatrist prescribed Strattera.

The first DAY I switched and took Straterra instead of Vyvanse, the anger completely disappeared. Then the next month when I started Vyvanse, the anger came back. Then I went off for good and it never returned.

She had my med history but she's not a doctor, I guess I can't blame her for that but med management was very new to me and looking back, even without a professional background in it, I would at LEAST consider ANY stimulant (particularly for ADD) to be a possible culprit. There was already plenty of documentation connecting Adderall to similar stories.

I'll never understand why talking through a traumatic experience is consdered more "legit" than something just going on with chemistry. In the last group program it felt like if you needed meds you were just being lazy or too afraid to face some deamon in your closet.

I just don't have a sad story right now. My life and relationships are pretty rad, I just have this thing happening inmy brain and iwth my body that won't fix itself. Sorry to disappoint you LOL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say that although I've had good experiences with other therapists before, I'm scared of seeking a new one, too. And although I do feel like I'm a little bit in crisis, I just can't be in an environment where the solution to everything is to "live each day like it's your last!" "find things to be grateful for!" "let's build and emotional tool belt!" etc.

I get why these things are said and get why crisis therapy exists but it all feels so...4th grade to me. I feel more alone and alienated in group therapy than I actually feel alone. I feel like I'm hyper-aware of my feelings, on, like, everything, but I often was accused of hiding my feelings. I'd never been accused of that before. I felt like being able to talk about my feelings without completely breaking down about some terrible situation I just encountered was treated as an attempt at my being "strong." I was often interrupted and said "It's ok to say you're scared" and OF COURSE I was scared - I've been SAYING THAT. But I think the therapist largely ignored what I was saying until I was literally crying.

I feel like over the years I've developed ways to cope and get through the day if I have to, but the depression has become a part of my life. I feel pretty non-functional right now, but I feel like I need a level of therapy that's not based on feel-good platitudes and half-truths to make me feel "better." My meds are really not working and I need that fixed in conjunction with therapy that helps my already-in-place but-could-be-better coping skills, especially now that chronic pain is thrown in the mix. I feel hopeless right now about this type of therapy existing.

There were moments in this last group that were "breakthroughs" for many people there but I found myself confused as to why these things were revelations for people with even more life experience than I have. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...