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Negative Therapy Experiences


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I posted this under another thread; i shouldn't have.

For the benefit of those who have had negative experiences with therapists, though,

i'm posting it again here:

I've been to 12 therapists in my life, by my count, and i stopped going to therapists twelve years ago.

The best of them were well-meaning, but ineffectual.

The worst of them disclosed something i had told her in confidence, and advised my wife to divorce me.

The common thread always was, they were dismissive of the damage done by my alcoholic father, indifferent mother, and bullying high school classmates. They, like society as a whole, wanted me to "just get over it." (and come up with $50 - 100 per session.)

Only you know what your needs are. Don't be afraid to state them clearly to a therapist when you start.

I think (only my opinion) that the people who get the most benefit from therapists are people whose problems are rooted, wholly or at least partially, in an inability to express themselves or a fear of expressing negative feelings.

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Sometimes I wish I could share my therapist. He was wonderful and I was fortunate. If I recall correctly, it was in his initial paperwork that clients never had to do what he suggested. Also, I would hope that therapists make an effort to never be dismissive. It's also true that the client is the buyer.

I can imagine it would be very frustrating and discouraging to have so many therapists and to not find therapy helpful. What has helped you, TooOld4This?

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Thank you for your post, IrmaJean.

As i reflect on the approximately twelve therapists i've been to, i realize:

most of them were from middle-class backgrounds, with social advantages and privileges that were denied to me.

One example: when i was trying to save my aborted first marriage, we went to a therapist as a couple.

Nice lady, she was, but in no way equipped to empathize with my problem.

Here i was, so unattractive i'd never had sex; whereas she, when she was in college,

was not only a cheerleader but a cheerleader who was hot enough to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

How can a woman like that ever empathize with an unattractive male virgin in his mid-20's?

She can't; it isn't possible.

She did try, certainly; i remember her as one of the better therapists in the sense of really wanting to help.

But she was a member of the social elite, a class that knows nothing about my sufferings.

And i found that with other therapists, too: they come from a privileged background,

they had a car, had status, had lovers, had popularity in their youth.

So, like the non-therapists out there in the world, they are bothered by a man with no self-esteem.

It doesn't fit their experience or their world-view.

They respond with platitudes and do-it-yourself stuff that boils down to,

"here, do this on your own, and stop asking me for help."

So-called Cognitive Therapy involved quite a lot of that.

Which pretty much diminishes and trivializes the patient's pain.

Well, therapists, i certainly have stopped asking you for help. Have a nice life.

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So, that was one therapist.

And i want to stress: i considered her to be one of the good ones.

Because she at least sincerely expressed sorrow over what i was feeling.

She couldn't empathize, or do anything to improve my self-esteem,

but at least she didn't downplay what i was going through.

Now, by contrast, there was that other unprofessional one,

who, i'm sure, believed that she was doing the world a favor by outing me as That Bad Man.

Enough said about her.

I also recall the first two therapists i went to (both male) when i was still in middle school.

In other words, i went to them when i was STILL GOING THROUGH THE WORST BULLYING.

I kept trying to tell them how much i was suffering from bullying at school,

but all they wanted to talk about was,

was i willing to admit that i masturbated.

They were real keen on making me admit that i masturbated.

Which, obviously, gave me ONE MORE thing to be ashamed of, along with being unmasculine and bullied.

Now i'm sure you all can see the causal connection between not admitting that you masturbate, and school bullying.

Perfectly clear, right?

I think maybe i'll re-post this in the bullying forum, too. This has got to be relevant somehow.

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