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Bad experience in therapy

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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:44 pm

I am still recovering from being 'harmed' by a therapist, probably not in such an intense manner.
Having been in therapy before, very successfully, I needed to find a new therapist locally. I was recommended to try EMDR - so I found a thrapist who practiced that locally.

Now, I would hope that any therapist would understand about clinical depression and the fact that clinically depressed people cannot relax. I would also hope that any therapist worth their salt would recognise transferance.

To cut a long story short, he reminded me of my mother, which caused the transferance - which made for good therapy. But deeper down some of his remarks were dismissive and even degrading. The only supportive tools he gave me was to imagine I was in a safe place. He did not explain what was happening. The reason the past therapy had been so successful was because it was all explained to me.

I suffered a nervous breakdown. Which I still have not got over. I contacted him by phone to say I was not attending any more session, and he tried to get me to come back, saying that we could practice more relaxation - I told him that was useless, because I could not relax. The only way I could get rid of him was by saying, I could not afford to pay him because I was off work sick.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  sky on Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:43 pm

I am so sorry your previous therapist was unable to hold you in your pain and distress and work with that. It is sad that you had to leave abruptly witout any resolution or a properly worked ending. I expect that was also a repeat of something from your past that compounded you pain even more? I am pleased you were able to find a therapist who could help you.

I hope you feel able to use this forum for support if you need.

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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:38 pm

I am so sorry to hear of your experience. I wouldn't minimize having a nervous breakdown as "less intense". Therapists can have so much power - its amazing they can cause so much harm, yet-therapy is not necessarily regulated like medications are. I mean-a patient could go to a licensing authority-but who would be believed-the therapist, or the patient who had the nervous breakdown? I've read plenty of research articles where the author identifies the patient as "imagining" being harmed by the therapist and similar versions of that concept, but I've never seen any articles that point to abuse by therapists. While I believe the majority of therapists are good and get into the field for the right reasons, naturally there are some who are some who are dangerous-the same as in any profession. I certainly wasn't prepared for a mental health professional to harm me. The thought of that possibility never crossed my mind before. I was shocked when it happened...

There was one past therapist who tried to help my anxiety by addressing it directly-it was cognitive based. It made the anxiety so much worse-I can relate to what you said about not being able to relax! We quit that approach after 3 unsuccessful attempts. She didn't mean any harm though.

You said he made some degrading remarks-do you think he was a misogynist (if you are female)? I've met a couple men with such traits in my lifetime....

Thank you for sharing your story with me. I wish you well in your recovery.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:03 pm

To cut a long story short, he reminded me of my mother, which caused the transferance - which made for good therapy. But deeper down some of his remarks were dismissive and even degrading. The only supportive tools he gave me was to imagine I was in a safe place. He did not explain what was happening. The reason the past therapy had been so successful was because it was all explained to me.

It can be difficult to seperate transference whether negative or positive, from reality sometimes cant it? Very confusing, especially when the therapist does not seem to or cannot explain and interpret to the client what is happening.
I think it is important to listen to your inner voice and gut feeling although that can be extremly difficult when it is that inner voice that had to buried a long time ago. It can leave the client very confused.
Therapy can be a minefield and unfortunately some therapists are just not good enough for the client. To find out that the therapist has reached his/her limit can not just be painful but if not handled good enough by ther therapist abusive and damaging for the client.

Would you consider looking for a new therapist? Or maybe its more of a question of whether you are strong enough to put your trust into another therapist? You say you still havent gotten over this harmful experience... are you having to deal with this on your own right now or are there people in your life who you can lean on and confide in?

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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:32 pm

I'd had various forms of therapy on the NHS, such as CBT, which did not do much for me, besides I had to wait so long for it, it made little differance to my original problems. A couple of years later I had TA, which was with a private therapist. Everything was explained to me, all my processes - I had that for three years, and it made a huge differance to my life. Unfortunately my therapist moved areas, so it was not until I suffered a traumatic incident late last years, that I decided to get back into therapy. I was offered it on the NHS, but, I decided to go private.

The thing that bothers me is that this therapist knew I was taking anti depressants and beta blockers, but, did not understand that I was suffering from clinical depression - and there was no way that I was going to relax. But, his, finding a safe place to soothe me, where I could go in my imagination was no use, because, I live in the real world, and unfortunately if I could cut myself off from the real world, I would not have the problems I have went to him with. If I could have relaxed, I would have - I had been down the route of yoga, music, meditation etc - non of it worked. I had told him this - but he just dismissed it. The tools he gave me to cope through my therapy just did not work, but he was not prepared to give me alternatives, or to explain my process. He did keep saying how do you feel? But, as I have spoken to my TA therapist since over the phone, she said, that I have a don't feel injunction anyway. She knew this - so why didn't he?

I never bonded with my mother, which is part of the problem, and when I said to him that I could not 'relate' to how a good friend of mine felt when her mother passed away, because, I did not know what it was like to love a mother - He said was that because you could not understand why your friend was upset - Making me feel like some feelingless monster - this is what I found degrading and this is what started the transferance - because that would have been the type of remark my mother would have come out with. I had to explain, which I thought would have been more apparent having given him my history of my relationship with my mother, that I did not know what it was like to be close, bonded, loved and nurtured by a mother, I could not understand that deepness of feeling - What I was trying to come to terms with, was the fact I could not understand it, I was deprived of that bond, I was deprived of the feeling my friend was going through, no matter how painfull it was. My therapist just took me to be cold and unable to understand that my friend was sad and upset because her mother had passed away.

The next thing was when I started reacting badly to the thrapy, I was constantly tearful and could not keep a lid on my emotions, which was not helpful at work. I phoned him and told him how I felt, and he suggested that we went a bit slower with the therapy and did some relaxation. I went for another session, but my heart was not in it. I had not realised about the transferance then, but I continued to get worse. By the end of the following week, I had had to go off sick from work, and see my doctor - I phoned the therapist again, and he still said the same thing, about taking the therapy slower, and doing the relaxation, and managed to talk me round to going back. I decided though, it was not worth it, and sent him an email saying that I was not going to be paid while I was off sick (which was not true) and I could not afford to pay him. I asked for him to reply to confirm he had the email, but he did not.

The only thing that came out of this experience, is how frightened I still am of my mother.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:44 pm

'Would you consider looking for a new therapist? Or maybe its more of a question of whether you are strong enough to put your trust into another therapist? You say you still havent gotten over this harmful experience... are you having to deal with this on your own right now or are there people in your life who you can lean on and confide in?'

I have actually gone back to my previous therapist. I cannot have regular therapy with her because she lives a hundred miles away, but, I keep in contact, and get support from her. I have a very good employer, who although doesn't pretend to understand what I am going through, is prepared to give me the time and space I need.

I have friends some friends who know what is has happened, some who don't. I feel supported, but I am just shocked that all therapist are not up to the same standard. OK, my previous therapist may be exceptional, but you would think there would be some standards they have to meet.

Besides, this guy did not appear that confident with people skills, could not explain, when he did try to explain, very clearly. He appeared 'nervous'. So, maybe he was out of his depth.

So, he has all the qualifications, so he can set up in practice - but, he just has not go a clue as to how to handle clients? Surely there must be something, somewhere to enable this to be apprased?
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:21 pm

It must have been a huge loss... having your therapist move away from you. That must be so hard to deal with... I am glad she still supports you though, at least you have someone there ... but i feel ...maybe you will dissagree and that is ok too... that a new therapist might be able to work with you through your losses and pain. Someone who works on a deep level, which will be painful yes, and it will cause tears, but someone to help you understand. Yourself. What is happening between you and others etc.

I dont know much about EMDR at all... maybethat wasnt the right approach to what you needed?
What would you like to get out of your therapy? Perhaps being aware of what you would like to gain from yourtherapy can help chosing a therapist for you. I heard you saying that it is very important to you to understand what is happening. Can you elaborate on that? And... is there anything else you would like from your therapy?
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

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

Yes, Shadow, you are quite right, I should be looking to continue my work. EMDR was not the right thing - I realise that now, althought he therapist said that it could be used on a long term problem, I feel, if it is going to be effective, it will be on more acute problems and recent trauma.

I look at it as if I am on a journey, I am still trying to get myself back to work full time, I am still taking the maximum dose of anti depressants. I don't think now is the right time, it would just be too much for me to handle.

When I say I needed to know what is happening, and have stuff explained to me - My original therapist used to explain the theory behind the theraputic model she was using - which was TA. She would make sure I understood what she was explaining and I found it easy to put into practice, or make sense of a problems once I understood the reason behind it. As I have said, I have a don't feel injunction and knowing that explained a lot to me. Panic is my trap door, I use it to get out of situations I cannot cope with, knowing that helped me too.

I find I need to know what is happening in therapy, having the theory as back up, gave me the tools to cope with what came up. But, the other therapist, hooked into areas of me that were my scare, my mother, my inability to relax and my panic. He did not notice - that is my biggest issue, he wanted to continue to work in that vain, even though I was having a breakdown - I don't think he believed me when I said, that I was physically unable to to therapy that week because I could hardly stand up, let alone drive to his session.

I think the biggest shift is now that I have accepted what did come out of his therapy, that my mother is still my biggest scare, and accepting that somehow lessens the impact of it - as I say, that is the only good thing that did come out of the experience.

At some point in the future, I will return to therapy, but it will be because I want to learn more and understand more about what I have been through, rather than thinking I should do it, because it should be a solution to my immediate problem. I know that might sound strange, because therapy should be able to help overcome an immediate problem, but I was, and still am to raw, under differant circumstances, I might have coped with this guy, but, he obviously was not set up to treat someone in such a vunrable position - and that is what bothers me.

The experience has not put me off therapy - it has just made me very aware, that all therapist are not the same, there are good ones and very seriously bad ones - it has opened my eyes. At the end of the day, I am the customer, and I should be able to choose.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:40 pm

At some point in the future, I will return to therapy, but it will be because I want to learn more and understand more about what I have been through, rather than thinking I should do it

that sounds like a good plan

ps i am getting a bit confused about what guest is who, would it be possible for you to sign with a name so i know what guest i am talking to? fanks :)
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  tandem on Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:24 am

I was a psychotherapist long before I trained as an EMDR therapist.
I have clients where we've been seeing each other for several years in preparation for EMDR.
If people are going to a therapist for EMDR it is essential to check what the therapist's background was BEFORE training in EMDR.
When I trained - about, what, 5 years ago - in EMDR, many of the students were CBT therapists or psychologists of various persuasions, who would not have worked with transference, (or countertransference), and had had little or no personal therapy.
EMDR is not on the NICE guidelines for depression, it can be helpful, but most therapists will realise that there needs to be a really significant period of preparation for ANY work on more chronic issues of any sort.

tandem

PS. I know I'm talking to 'guest' and that 'guest' is answering. I wonder if you'd like to join the forum as members? You'd probably find support here more easy to take if you felt you 'belonged' here a bit more.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:18 pm

Hi tandem - I have tired to register - I have put a post on technical support.

My EMDR therapist was a social worker before he became a therapist and trained in EMDR work.

The reason I chose it was because the depression and anxiety I suffer, a part from it relating to my mother, what actually triggered it was a serious road accident, 25 years ago, since then, various incidents have triggered episodes. The last one as a panic attack whilst driving a company vehicle, so work was involved and I had to be seen to be doing something positive towards resolving the problem, and I thought EMDR was the was forwards. Maybe there is just too much stuff there.

I can see that EMDR is a powerful tool, but, too powerful for me at that time.

I hope to get the registration sorted out to this site, as it is very supportive and helpful.
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Re: Bad experience in therapy

Post  Yazz on Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:01 pm

Now registered under Yazz
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