Therapy is supposed to help, not scar someone for life! These poor, unfortunate souls desperately needed help, and instead they received the strangest responses from these people, who were supposed to be qualified doctors! Can anyone find a therapist for these therapists? Seriously, be sure to thoroughly vet any mental health professional online, they could be one of these nightmarish loons! Content has been edited for clarity.
"A psychologist I visited briefly, in order to treat my anxiety and depression, began telling me really personal details about other clients and their sessions. And this was not vague stuff, more like, 'He was hearing voices, and the voices said they wanted him to kill me, the psychologist, and that was extra scary because he is the owner of a local sports team! Isn't that scary?!' or, 'She was addicted to blow and cheating on her husband, who is the owner of our local mall!'
I grew increasingly uncomfortable with these personal anecdotes, and they began to take up larger and larger chunks of our sessions. By the end there, I would have to interrupt her to redirect her back to MY issues. I was paying her to help me address them, after all.
The last straw was when she left the office for over fifteen minutes to go eat lunch, then she charged me for a full session. I confronted her, saying I didn't want to hear these private and confidential stories anymore, and that I would prefer to stay focused on my issues during our sessions, as I was hoping she could teach me how to work through them. A crazy notion, right? She immediately raised her voice at me. She tried to tell me I was imagining the whole thing and having some sort of delusion, an issue I have never been diagnosed with or struggled with. Then she backpedaled and tried to say that all those stories had been from HER imagination, meant to benefit me. I pointed out the contradiction and expressed that I didn't want to spend large chunks of our sessions talking about people in her personal life, imaginary or otherwise.
That's when she cracked up and told me that I wasn't 'worthy' of someone with her talents, and I could never hope to achieve mental health. I walked out and haven't been back to therapy since. I got into a supportive community, and they helped me heal, WITHOUT gaslighting me or breaking confidentiality!"
"I went to this recommended psychologist after an entire week when I blacked out. I remembered absolutely nothing from that week. I knew I was wasted for the first two days, but then my brain decided to block out the other five anyway. It got so bad that I apparently punched my best friend in the face at one point. I also tried to jump in front of a moving train, and I literally couldn't recognize myself in the mirror. So I go this this psychologist, who was fully licensed and recommended to me by a family doctor of ten years. He started our session by telling me, 'I don't believe in mental illness. It's simply a weakness of the mind.'
He then spent our hour and a half long appointment talking to me about how he would never ever step foot in a hospital, because he wouldn't trust the government not to, 'take and replicate his superior DNA.' He was overflowing with conspiracy theories. I literally spoke for maybe six minutes in total. This guy consistently and rudely asked me if I had ever been assaulted, and if so, what was that like? I had been, and that had also triggered a black-out period, but under a very different set of circumstances. This guy ended our session by telling me I definitely had Disassociative Identity Disorder, and he sent me on my way.
Not only is Disassociative Identity Disorder (or DID) extremely hard to diagnose, but he had only spoken to me for a grand total of less than ten minutes. He had spoken AT me for well over an hour. I do not have DID. I am bipolar, and I have this neurological issue in which I have like five times the amount of cortex in my brain than people are meant to have. I honestly don't know what the cortex does, and my neurologists weren't quite sure about my condition either. I do have an exceptionally good memory, but otherwise it's just a bunch of dark matter on an MRI machine. My neurologist had to coordinate with some international neurologists to figure out what my scans really meant, but no one had ever seen it. They said it wasn't actually harmful, and I get to be a case study!"
"I confessed to my therapist that I had developed a crush on him and had intimate thoughts about him. He looked pretty caught off guard. He was super professionalm and we worked through it in a productive way! So for context, I had already been his client for two and a half years, so he knew a lot about me and I really trusted him. He was my lifeline through a ton of experiences, and he supported me through a VERY difficult post-breakup heartbreak that lasted several months. That one was after a relationship with an emotionally abusive narcissist. Several months after that initial heartbreak, I found myself in a good relationship with a wonderful person, but he didn’t want to commit. After several months, he broke it off with me. That actually turned out to be temporary, we are back and fully committed and happy now. So THAT was when these fantasies about my therapist happened, during the break.
It’s hard to recall the details because it was last year and went over many sessions, but I’ll try. It took me a lot of courage to tell him, so I kept saying there was something I needed to say, but I didn’t feel I could yet. After three sessions or so, I got enough courage at the very end, and he looked surprised to finally hear what I had been holding onto. He took a few minutes to be compassionate and acknowledge how brave it was for me to say that. After that, he told me about his boundaries with clients, but he reassured me it’s totally okay to express, and we can work through it. I had asked him if I should change therapists, and he encouraged me not to because he felt that this could be a breakthrough if we can figure out why it’s happening. So I stuck around. He is a talk therapist, so he’s kind of hands off, and he encouraged me to find my own conclusions in a way. Sometimes if I was overlooking the relevance of it, he would gently bring it up and help me make connections between my feelings for him and other topics in my life. Other than that, he mostly listened and asked open-ended questions that helped me figure it all out. Over time and with his help, I determined that these intimate fantasies about him were because I had never experienced such a deep intimacy with someone I wasn’t romantically involved with. I had been linking intimacy to doing it, when in reality they aren’t mutually exclusive.
Considering the many betrayals and the emotional turmoil I had experienced with my partners, and my Dad’s addiction and death, in comparison to my very positive, safe, and trusting relationship with my therapist, my brain just naturally went there! In a nutshell, he was compassionate, professional, validating, and patient. I learned that intimacy is something that can be experienced outside a romantic relationship, which was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me."
"I had a therapist tell me when I was a teenager that she didn't know what else to do to help me, because it seemed like I already understood everything pretty well. This was after my overbearing and crazy helicopter mom dragged me in for being depressed. Then the therapist switched to talking to my mom, and my mom quickly was in tears. My mom had the emotional strength of a child, and she wanted it to be about me when it was actually all about her. I knew exactly why I was depressed. I was stuck by myself in the middle of nowhere with her crazy self for a parent. There was no personal space, no ability to get away, no ability to say no, and her getting jealous of my friends when I spent time with them. It would make anyone depressed. She didn't even let me sit with the therapist by myself!
Unfortunately, my mom usually bails as soon as any therapist starts touching the real issues. She absolutely will NOT face her problems. She's probably going to die early because of that. She avoids going to the doctor too. Because clearly, she knows more than them, of course. I'm twenty-eight now, and my mom has still not even begun to address her mental issues. She's divorced, has pretty much no friends, and is constantly moving here and there because nowhere is good enough for her. Whenever she can, she clings to me like an octopus, because I'm literally the only person who will attempt to tolerate her. I mean she is my mom and I'm her only child after all."
"Okay, it was a thing of beauty I had a therapist tell me to make a fck budget. Okay, hear me out! My therapist told me that I only had so many fcks to five before I totally lose it, so I needed to budget them out. I would start with things I had to give a fck about, like my kids, my work, and my health. Then I would cross out the things I didn't want to give a fck about, like people's opinions of what I wear. My therapist was an older gentleman who was very well-spoken and didn't swear normally, so this took me completely off-guard. Hearing him say I needed to stop spreading my fcks so far made me die of laughter and immediately feel better. To this day, I still have a fck budget that I do every month religiously, and it has taken so much stress off my shoulders
It's a whole process. You basically list all the thing you gave a fck about the month prior, and which ones stressed you out, along with how much it stressed you out. Then you cross out unnecessary things that stressed you out and stop doing or giving a fck about those things! It's that easy! So I like to start out with twenty-five fcks, and then I subtract from there for each thing that I give a fck about. Things that I enjoy or that are necessary I give more fcks to, and things that I don't care about I give less fcks towards, and things I have no time for I give zero fcks whatsoever. It really works so well for me! For example, I budget one fck towards saving $50 per paycheck. I give three fcks for supporting my best friend. I'll give two fcks for taking some recharging me time. I give too fcks for running errands and paying the bills. I give one fck towards interacting with my family. I give two fcks for making sure my hospital patients are happy and cared for. I give four fcks towards time with my kids and my husband, as well as my pets."
"I have two memorable experiences as the patient, both involving marriage counseling and relationship stereotypes. For a little bit of background on us, my wife and I are a typical modern couple, so we share the roles and chores. So she isn't the one always cooking and cleaning, and I'm not always mowing the lawn or managing finances. We both do it all together. Now on with the stories.
My wife and I had some major life changes early on in our relationship, and it really affected our marriage. We found a really good therapist that specializes in marriage counseling. On the first day, it was obvious that she was used to old style traditional couples. When we had to correct her that my wife wasn't a stay at home wife, or that I cooked half the time, she totally froze. Like a good three or four seconds, it was just a blank look as she processed that information. Eventually she caught on, but it was a very awkward first session. She did end up helping us work through our issues, and my wife and I bonded on our enjoyment at watching her reactions while trying to figure us out like a puzzle, so I would say it was worth it.
The second one was really, really bad. My wife is catholic, and the church where we were getting married required a weekend couples' retreat. It was standard stuff to make sure everyone was on the same page before tying the knot. Do you want kids, how many if yes, shared finances, family medical histories, stuff like that. Eventually, they had a guest speaker come up and talk about what it means to be husband and wife. One problem, this guy was super prejudiced, like he made everyone in that room uncomfortable with his words. He started talking about how a wife's role is to support her husband and be quiet and obedient. He tried to make a joke about how a wife must always look her best, and if she gets big and doesn't wear makeup, then her husband won't want her anymore and will sleep with other women. This didn't happen decades ago, this happened less than five years ago. My wife and I were completely stunnned, and we immediately looked for a new church!"
"I will never forget my first day of therapy. My therapist asked me if I had ever been abused as a child. I simply replied, 'No, I had a normal childhood. I had everything I needed, like food and shelter. I mean, my mother slapped me and would tell me to kill myself, and my dad would drag me by the hair everywhere and pull my hair out, but no, nothing abusive or anything.'
There was at least thirty seconds of dead air between us as I watched her blink while trying to figure out how to respond to what I said. Eventually, she put down her file, crossed her legs, and said to me, 'My dear, that IS abuse.'
My world came crashing down all around me at that moment. For so many years, I had buried my feelings about what my parents had done so deeply that I had managed to convince myself that what they did wasn’t actually wrong. Less than a year later, I was diagnosed with PTSD and a panic disorder from the trauma, and I cut off all communication with my parents. Yeah, my therapist explained everything to me afterwards. I’ve talked with many other victims of similar childhood trauma, who have had the exact same response.
Slapping and strangling is ABSOLUTELY abuse. But for so long, my thought process was like, 'My parents aren't that bad, I mean it's not like they lock me in a cage and beat me until I'm on the edge of death.' Geez, trying to rationalize their behavior was so horrible. I'm in such a better place now."
"The very first time I visited a psychologist, he was reviewing all of my paperwork when he made the worst comment out loud! He said that he could tell I was good in bed based on my handwriting! I kid you not, those words actually came out of his mouth! I was so caught off guard that the first thing I could think to say was, 'Uh, I think I am!'
I ended the session early for obvious reasons. I soon found how that he got in trouble for having an inappropriate relationship with a client. But his words definitely messed me up for a bit, and I didn't feel comfortable around men for a while. Setting boundaries was really difficult for me. I was there in the first place to get help in terms of being more assertive, but I landed in the exact wrong hands. I never returned, and I seriously wish that I reported that man immediately. Unfortunately, I didn't think that anyone would believe me after it happened."
"So one day, I was talking to my school psychologist about my mental health issues, and I casually brought up that I enjoy playing card games to take my mind of off heavy things sometimes. This guy literally walks over to his cabinet, opens the door, and he takes out a fancy briefcase full of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, a popular fantasy trading card game that I love. With a mischievous grin, he asks me if I want to play. I'm a huge nerd, so my answer was an immediate yes! This psychologist had a lumberjack beard, was pretty ripped, and he resembled a hipster athlete much more than the stereotypical nerd, so I was completely shocked. I quickly got past my surprise, and we started a very excellent game. We ended up playing every Wednesday together, as a reward for discussing my mental health and being vulnerable with him. I only won once against this guy, he was just too good! To this day, I am still in touch with this guy to this day, and once this massive lockdown is over, we are thinking of entering a co-op tournament together!"
"One time, I was in the psychiatric hospital when I was a teenager. Once all the patients would go back to their rooms after some recreational time, all the mental health technicians and nurses would carry out their shift change. The staff would have a quick meeting to update the night shift employees on how the various patients were doing, and anything of note that happened earlier in the day. The room I was staying in happened to be right next to the kitchen, which was where the meetings would happen. I overheard so much gossip. One day, my door was slightly open, and I decided that I would listen in on the meeting that was commencing. The first thing I hear is one of the psychologists actually talking about me! Specifically, this psychologist was mentioning (with a heavy sigh) how I was a total mess
Now I never held it against him, because I knew it was true, and he seemed to be a really good guy, but it was a little shocking hearing it said so bluntly. It was definitely more funny in hindsight. Yeah, I was definitely a mess at the time, and I still am to an extent. This guy would always say really uplifting things to me, and he was generally just really good at his job, so I knew he was just being honest. To defend him, he never would have said this to me or any of his patients. He really did take so much time and effort with me in order to better relate to what I was going through at the time. Quite frankly, he was doing a much better job than the social worker or psychiatrist assigned to me!"
"I was in a hospital after experiencing what I suspected was an intense miscarriage. The hospital was well aware of my mental health history, so they wouldn't release me until I spoke with a staff psychologist. It was a Sunday morning when I was ready to talk with the guy, but he wasn't on site on the weekends. I was lying in a hospital bed when a staff person brought in a phone, with the psychologist on the other end. I said hello, and the psychologist immediately said, 'So I've heard you had a miscarriage!'
With a hint of fear in my voice, I stated, 'Well, that is what they think, and it's not certain yet, but-'
The psychologist immediately interrupted me and stated, 'So are you going to kill yourself if we send you home?'
I was completely speechless. What the heck?! There was no empathy, he didn't even ask me how I was feeling, or about any loved ones who were taking care of me. He was so matter of fact, like in a business email! Just let us know if you're going to kill yourself or not! I told him I wouldn't, tears welling up in my eyes. Apparently, that was good enough to qualify for a psychologist appointment, and an hour later I was discharged to finally go home. There actually was some good news from all of that horror! I didn't actually have a miscarriage, I just had HCG levels that were super low, but nothing out of the ordinary for an early pregnancy. My son was successfully born and he is now nineteen months old. No idea what happened to that 'psychologist', but I sincerely hope he got fired from that job. People like that shouldn't be working with such vulnerable people!"
"I think I talked my Psychologist into moving away. When I was nineteen, I had to see a psychologist because of depression, stress, suicidal thoughts, and so on. Since most of my problems were related to family drama, we reached the conclusion that maybe it would be a good thing for me to move away. We talked about it constantly, and I told him that I have a friend in Switzerland I wanted to visit for a week, and I asked if that would be okay with my therapy going on, since I was going to therapy five days a week at that point. I needed every single day. He said that this was a good idea and gave me his number, in case I need to talk about something.
The week after I came back, we talked about my trip. We focused on what I got to experience and what I liked/disliked the most. I had nothing negative to say. It was the first time I had been genuinely happy in a few years, so we focused extensively on this experience. Shortly afterwards, I visited Switzerland a second time to see my friend, with the same result after I returned. When I turned twenty, my psychologist gave me a book about the most beautiful places in Switzerland to visit, and he said that he would be going there for the holidays, thanks to my stories on how majestic it was.
As our sessions continued, I was down to one visit per week. That's when I decided that I truly wanted to move to Switzerland. This also coincided with my therapist finding a new job at a different clinic, so our sessions would be winding down anyway. When our last session arrived, he handed me a 'swiss starter pack;, with all sorts of travel gadgets and books about the country. He told me he enjoyed his holiday trip there so much that he would be moving there in a couple of weeks for that new position. He thanked me for all of my travel stories, because otherwise he would have never experienced it for himself firsthand and made that decision. Nowadays, we actually don't live too far from each other in Switzerland, and we meet each other at least once a year, but for coffee instead of therapy. I have a new therapist now, and I have been doing very, very well."