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Help recovering from therapist harm

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Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:16 am

Hello,

There's not a lot of activity here, but I'm not quite sure where to find the appropriate support. I've tried a couple of other places but am still hurting from my experience. So here it goes...

How do you recover from a psychotherapist who has emotionally harmed you? Well it was pretty intense...when undergoing an assessment from a new psychotherapist, I experienced a strong initial transference by our third meeting. He reminded me so much of my father, I later realized. I felt feelings for him like I was a child and he my father, though I was not at all unaware of the distinguishment of these feelings and my feelings as an adult. I really afforded him more trust than I normally do a mental health practitioner, based on who referred me to him. I overreacted (unintentionally). But he overreacted too (intentionally). I was also pretty desperate and vulnerable at the time, as my life was falling apart....though I was not "clinically" depressed at the time. I had never met with a psychoanalyst before meeting with him, so the whole thing caught me by suprise. I was shocked. I did not know a therapist could provoke this kind of reaction within another human being.

Since this happened, I realized during this 'assessment', he stripped me of my defense mechanisms--a sort of practice used by psychotherapists who practice short term psychodynamic therapy. It was very aggressive and never before and never after has a psychotherapist used such techniques with me. It somehow brought to my mind a flooding of repressed emotions-unconscious material I have been repressing for 20 some years. I had phsyical feelings, images, dreams, emotions flood my mind.

Due to the strong transference feelings, he told me he could not treat me after this third session. I understand it was too intense for him, perhaps, although I didn't cross any lines with phone calls, acting out, etc. I simply revealed my feelings to him, and well, that was it. THe problem was not necessarily that he was not able to treat me, and I understand why he could not, but it was how he treated me. It was awful. He was rude and showed no empathy. Dishonest with me--I think that was the worst part...as I've been harmed by so many authority figures in the past....Dismissive and refused to explain to me what happened. And no, I am not imagining this through the 'transference'....He also mistakenly assumed I was borderline (I realized this later from researching certain things he said to me). I don't have anything against anyone with BPD, but because he labeled me this way, none of the therapists he referred me to wanted to treat me.

I suffered for months with no therapist, feeling suicidal and anxiety so intense unlike any other anxiety I've experienced in the past. I feel I got over the attachment feelings to him rather quickly, but am now stuck with the most ugly feelings I can imagine. I've felt hopeless, worthless, and extremely depressed for six months now. I did find a new therapist, someone who is extremely trustworthy and honest. I really like him, but he does not have a psychoanalytic background, which I'm starting to see as problematic. We seem to be intellectualizing everything, which is not helping me with this situation. I had been a patient to several therapists before, and his methods are similar...not much emotion worked through. I've never felt transference with any other therapist aside from the one who hurt me.

I just keep getting worse and worse as time progresses, due to these feelings lingering with no relief. My new therapist and I still can't identify the source of these feelings after months of therapy. Maybe my fault-so used to repressing emotions that I simply cannot connect them to the past? I suffered a lot of abuse/neglect throughout childhood, and CSA. It's just that I am getting worse, and I don't know what to do at this point. My therapist is the only one who believed in me, while I felt I was kicked when I was down by the others I reached out to. And we have a great alliance/are compatible. How in the world do I tell him he is not helping me? What do I do? How do I recover from this unprecedented event?

Any advice? I'm really hurting, and I am not sure how much more psychological torture I can endure. Sorry to be such a downer....Thanks so much.


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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:07 am

Hello guest

What a horrendous experience you have been through :( It sounds heart breaking to be treated in such a careless way and not have any power over what was/is happening.

I did find a new therapist, someone who is extremely trustworthy and honest. I really like him, but he does not have a psychoanalytic background, which I'm starting to see as problematic. We seem to be intellectualizing everything

I am glad you have found someone who, although not psychoanalytical based, tries to understand and help you. Do you know what pasychotherapy they are practising?

Being so deeply betrayed by someone you have opened up to can be soul destroying, especially when it brings up abuse and trauma/rejection from the past, such betrayel can take many yearsto work though in therapy
I know you said that you have been with this therapist for a few months[?]... it might take many years until the trust can be re build again, try to give it more time.... unless you really feel you need a new therapist... maybe you could show your now therapist this mail you wrote? If you are not strong enough to show him in person could you mail it to him via email or letter?

In the meanwhile keep talking about it, we are hear and listening
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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  sky on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:15 am

Guest wrote:Hello,

There's not a lot of activity here, but I'm not quite sure where to find the appropriate support. I've tried a couple of other places but am still hurting from my experience. So here it goes...

How do you recover from a psychotherapist who has emotionally harmed you? Well it was pretty intense...when undergoing an assessment from a new psychotherapist, I experienced a strong initial transference by our third meeting. He reminded me so much of my father, I later realized. I felt feelings for him like I was a child and he my father, though I was not at all unaware of the distinguishment of these feelings and my feelings as an adult. I really afforded him more trust than I normally do a mental health practitioner, based on who referred me to him. I overreacted (unintentionally). But he overreacted too (intentionally). I was also pretty desperate and vulnerable at the time, as my life was falling apart....though I was not "clinically" depressed at the time. I had never met with a psychoanalyst before meeting with him, so the whole thing caught me by suprise. I was shocked. I did not know a therapist could provoke this kind of reaction within another human being.

Since this happened, I realized during this 'assessment', he stripped me of my defense mechanisms--a sort of practice used by psychotherapists who practice short term psychodynamic therapy. It was very aggressive and never before and never after has a psychotherapist used such techniques with me. It somehow brought to my mind a flooding of repressed emotions-unconscious material I have been repressing for 20 some years. I had phsyical feelings, images, dreams, emotions flood my mind.

Due to the strong transference feelings, he told me he could not treat me after this third session. I understand it was too intense for him, perhaps, although I didn't cross any lines with phone calls, acting out, etc. I simply revealed my feelings to him, and well, that was it. THe problem was not necessarily that he was not able to treat me, and I understand why he could not, but it was how he treated me. It was awful. He was rude and showed no empathy. Dishonest with me--I think that was the worst part...as I've been harmed by so many authority figures in the past....Dismissive and refused to explain to me what happened. And no, I am not imagining this through the 'transference'....He also mistakenly assumed I was borderline (I realized this later from researching certain things he said to me). I don't have anything against anyone with BPD, but because he labeled me this way, none of the therapists he referred me to wanted to treat me.

I suffered for months with no therapist, feeling suicidal and anxiety so intense unlike any other anxiety I've experienced in the past. I feel I got over the attachment feelings to him rather quickly, but am now stuck with the most ugly feelings I can imagine. I've felt hopeless, worthless, and extremely depressed for six months now. I did find a new therapist, someone who is extremely trustworthy and honest. I really like him, but he does not have a psychoanalytic background, which I'm starting to see as problematic. We seem to be intellectualizing everything, which is not helping me with this situation. I had been a patient to several therapists before, and his methods are similar...not much emotion worked through. I've never felt transference with any other therapist aside from the one who hurt me.

I just keep getting worse and worse as time progresses, due to these feelings lingering with no relief. My new therapist and I still can't identify the source of these feelings after months of therapy. Maybe my fault-so used to repressing emotions that I simply cannot connect them to the past? I suffered a lot of abuse/neglect throughout childhood, and CSA. It's just that I am getting worse, and I don't know what to do at this point. My therapist is the only one who believed in me, while I felt I was kicked when I was down by the others I reached out to. And we have a great alliance/are compatible. How in the world do I tell him he is not helping me? What do I do? How do I recover from this unprecedented event?

Any advice? I'm really hurting, and I am not sure how much more psychological torture I can endure. Sorry to be such a downer....Thanks so much.


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I am so sorry you are suffering so badly at the moment. It sounds like you really did fall into something very painful whilst undergoing assessment with the therapist you speak about. Throughout the course of an appropriate therapy the reasons why this happened will become clear i am sure.

I am glad you have a therapist who has been able to 'hold' you while you recover. It does seem like you are wanting something more analytic and i think you need to find a therapist (does it have to be a man?) who is very very gentle and takes it in little bits with you - an open ended agreement that allows the work to be done very slowly. Then you can work more safely in the transference. Perhaps you could go and interview prospective therapists and take the post you wrote here as it explains what it felt like for you very well. Perhaps you could also take this to your present therapist as i hear you are worried how to say it - well you say it very well here!

Not all therapists will be compatible even if they are well thought of by others - as you have found out. It sounds like you had a very strong negative tranferential reaction with the therapist you talk about - and it was advisable to go and find a different therapist. It sounds like it caught you both unawares as it was only 3 sessions in total and wouldn't have been expected. That is what an assessment is about - to see if you can work together - but i hear that for you it felt traumatic - like he was the abuser perhaps. I hope you are able to discuss this with your current therapist so you can both discuss a way forward.

Keep on talking here if it helps

With support

Sky [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]


Our lives are like the course of the sun. At the darkest moment there is the promise of daylight.
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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  sky on Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:34 pm

Guest number 2 - i have split your post into a separate thread called 'bad experience in therapy' where you can talk about your own experiences. This thread is for guest no.1 to do the same.

Kind regards

Sky


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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:03 pm

So the result from spending just a couple hours from a therapist could take years to recover from? That is horrible. I feel the only person who can fix this is him. At least if he explained to me what happened and acknowledged he had some role in it--I would feel much better. Instead, he said it was all me since these were my feelings.

I was recently in a relationship with a man who betrayed me. He lied/cheated. He said it was my fault-never showed any remorse for hurting me. When I was crying, he simply flipped through the newspaper, ignoring me. Another time, he even wanted to have sex with me when I was crying. Yet-he was the one who kept pursuing me, increased the intensity of the relationship, pushed for marriage, etc. Thankfully I never accepted the engagement. This therapist acted similar to him.

That's the worst of it--him not acknowledging his part in the incident. I can't tolerate authority figures harming me, then not taking responsibility for it anymore. This happened throughout childhood.

I will have to talk to my therapist about what I wrote. It seems there is some kind of disconnect between us-like he doesn't hear me or something. I told him I was feeling so much despair that I didn't want to exist anymore, but he didn't see that as a big deal, and more or less changed the subject. Maybe because I am not outwardly emotional. I am not sure. I don't know what his therapeutic approach is, but I was initially told he was psychodynamic. He is a psychiatrist as well.

Thanks for your support, Shadow.
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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:14 pm

That is what an assessment is about - to see if you can work together - but i hear that for you it felt traumatic - like he was the abuser perhaps.

Oh? I didn't know an assessment should be that way. If it were a mere assessment, I'm not sure why he would feel a need to be so agressive. He kept me in such a high state of anxiety and questioned me so intensely, addressed all my defense mechanisms until I was no longer utilizing them - that I remember only some parts of the experience--but from outside my body at the other side of the room. Some assessment that was. He told me he had some indications of what my issues were from some things I had said, so I don't know why it was necessary to do this. I feel permanently damaged from this day, from how he treated me after this and from the catharsis of repressed emotions that ensued.

No, it was only positive transference feelings.

There was no need to remove the post from the Guest who replied to my message, but thanks anyway.
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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:17 pm

So the result from spending just a couple hours from a therapist could take years to recover from? That is horrible. I feel the only person who can fix this is him. At least if he explained to me what happened and acknowledged he had some role in it--I would feel much better. Instead, he said it was all me since these were my feelings.
I think emphasis should be on could. It could take years because you feel you were betrayed by someone who was suppose to help you. Someone who was there to be trusted. You will take this with you into your next therapeutic relationship and it could take years to build trust again with the new therapist.
I hear you when you say you feel that he is the only person who can fix this... but unfortunately he is not able to help you, I know that is very very hard to hear. He will not be abnle to work with you through your issues and help you heal your wounds of the past - whatever they may be. Whether from childhood or from adulthood.

I will have to talk to my therapist about what I wrote.
You are very brave. Please come back and tell us how it went [if you like]
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Re: Help recovering from therapist harm

Post  sky on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:29 pm

Guest wrote:So the result from spending just a couple hours from a therapist could take years to recover from? That is horrible. I feel the only person who can fix this is him. At least if he explained to me what happened and acknowledged he had some role in it--I would feel much better. Instead, he said it was all me since these were my feelings.

I was recently in a relationship with a man who betrayed me. He lied/cheated. He said it was my fault-never showed any remorse for hurting me. When I was crying, he simply flipped through the newspaper, ignoring me. Another time, he even wanted to have sex with me when I was crying. Yet-he was the one who kept pursuing me, increased the intensity of the relationship, pushed for marriage, etc. Thankfully I never accepted the engagement. This therapist acted similar to him.

That's the worst of it--him not acknowledging his part in the incident. I can't tolerate authority figures harming me, then not taking responsibility for it anymore. This happened throughout childhood.

I will have to talk to my therapist about what I wrote. It seems there is some kind of disconnect between us-like he doesn't hear me or something. I told him I was feeling so much despair that I didn't want to exist anymore, but he didn't see that as a big deal, and more or less changed the subject. Maybe because I am not outwardly emotional. I am not sure. I don't know what his therapeutic approach is, but I was initially told he was psychodynamic. He is a psychiatrist as well.

Thanks for your support, Shadow.

I believe it is the issues that caused such a reaction that could take time to heal from - and that is the issues you explain from your childhood that appeared to violently and painfully manifested in those assessment sessions. 3 sessions of therapy couldn't cause such harm but they triggered your pain. I think it was unfortunate but was probably lying just under the surface waiting to be triggered. It is your issues and pain from the past that need time to heal - and of course those issues will rear their head in your present relationships - issues with abuse, authority, trust, etc. Unfortunately in the here and now we unconsciously find people to repeat the past abuse with us - it's not your fault ok - but it does need to be worked with so you can find more healthy relationships.

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