People Share What They Regret Talking To Their Therapist About
It's not easy opening up to a therapist, and chemistry is important. Some patients have seriously bad luck, with therapists either not helping or making matters worse - like telling someone who was suicidal that they were simply hungry. WTF?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
"Thinking happy thoughts" does not help with depression or anxiety.Giphy
Yeah, when I was in my late teens this therapist suggested I should only think happy thoughts, that the abuse I received was my own fault for not standing up for myself, and when all of that didn't work she prescribed a high dose of Xanax for me. Literally said she would be beating the s*** out of her own daughter if she found out she was cutting herself like me (back then). I thought this was the norm and she was right, a better therapist later on told me that she was messed up and demanded the company she was with to make sure she wouldn't ever have another client again. Apparently she got many, many complaints as she did this to many of her clients.
This is bad advice.Giphy
Had a therapist who recommended me to go visit my dad whose girlfriend had a month prior tried to strangle me to death, and had abused me for well over a year. I was five at that time.
Props for trying.Giphy
I've been seeing a therapist for a year and it's been great. Some sessions are better than others, but it's helped me considerably with my issues of anxiety and depression.
However, she suggested than I try one of the group classes, and I was hesitant. But I figured that the worst that could happen was a bad experience, and signed up for one.
It went fine until the doctor/teacher asked to share what was bothering us. I was not at all prepared for this. It takes a long time for me to open up to someone other than a doctor about this stuff, I was not remotely okay with sharing this information with total strangers. I basically had an anxiety attack while waiting for my turn, and did my best to hide it when I was asked to speak, but I wasn't able to form coherent sentences. The doctor reminded me to try some of the basic anxiety coping mechanisms and I basically clammed up after that. I spent the rest of the class trying to not dwell on the fact that I had a anxiety attack right in front of people.
I felt worse after that than I did before I stared seeking help. It only really took me a week or so to feel normal again, but there is no way that I'll ever do any kind of group therapy again.
Malpractice 101. Crohn's can cause depression, however.
At around age 12 I started getting terrible, burning stomach aches. All I could do was lay in my bed, waiting for it to go away. Went to my doctor and he "diagnosed" me with lactose-intolerance (I did drink a lot of milk) and depression/anxiety. Made me go to a therapist but I just knew that wasn't the issue. Mentally I was fine, still am. Kept going to these over and over again, learning nothing, while my health state got worse and worse. My body turned to bones, my skin was as pale as a ghost. But no, I was "just sad." (Don't worry, I know depression is more than just being sad.) It almost got to a point where they just about convinced me they were right, and it was just a mental thing. Finally went to a professional and was immediately diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Within a month after receiving treatment, my skin color came back, and I gained around 10-15 pounds after being deathly below what I should have been. It wasn't totally the therapist's fault, but it still made a little upset that I was always just told I was wrong.
"Religious therapist" should be considered an oxymoron.Giphy
I did! I found it really difficult to talk about things and it was emotionally draining.
I'm a reserved kind of guy, and I don't talk about that kind of thing, so opening up was unnatural and too much to deal with for me.
I also saw a Christian therapist, which in hindsight maybe wasn't the best idea for someone questioning their sexuality.
That's not how it works.Giphy
There was a time when I felt down a lot, so I figured seeing a therapist might be a smart move. She told me emotions are a triangle of happy, sad, and angry if I recall correctly.
"whenever you feel sad or angry, just think about things that make you happy"
That's it, that's all there is to it apparently.
Just pray! Pray it all away!Giphy
Yes. Husband and I went to marriage counseling after a large marriage altering event. He chose a Christian counselor. I had misgivings, but went anyway.
Chick basically spent every session telling us to read some workbook she was selling (not even one she had written), and then ended in prayer. Yea, not helpful at all. We ended up only going a handful of times and working things out on our own instead.
Well, here we have an ethics violation.Giphy
So my ex-school has this system where a psychologist will come in and talk to kids that the school thinks needs some therapy. The school pays for the psychologist to assess the student and if the psychologist thinks that the student needs some extra therapy, the school will then allow for extra sessions. I suffer from a lot depression and PTSD but I have a psychiatrist outside of school that helps me so much, but regardless of my improving mental state, the school wants me to see that psychologist that they have just in case.
So I went in there, explained that I am doing really well and that I just want to spend some of my free time I have for myself but the school psychologist didn't want to hear that and continues to question me on and on about stuff and so I eventually told her that yes I do have recurring nightmares of my mother who was abusive sometimes and that affects my sleep a bit, it's no big deal, it doesn't affect my mood or my overall performance at school but the psychologist wanting the money, goes to the school and tells them "She has reoccurring nightmares of her mother and I think she needs some extra therapy," basically exploiting that ONE THING I SAID SO THAT SHE CAN GET MORE MONEY.
I found the sessions really unhelpful and it sometimes even cause me panic attacks afterwards because that of a psychologist digs up well buried memories that I have long forgotten back to the surface and pretty much undoing all the ACTUALLY USEFUL THERAPY WORK THAT MY PSYCHIATRIST OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL DID. I got so fed up at one of the sessions that I walked out and my father made a formal complaint to the school board saying that they are forcing me to do unnecessary treatment despite several different requests cancelling therapy sessions.
Takes a lot to be this hangry.Giphy
I was suicidal and the therapist told me I was probably just hungry.
Awkward. And seriously unprofessional.Giphy
Yeah. Wife and I went to a marriage counselor. He tried to rub one off when we were talking about our sex life.
On whose side was this therapist?Giphy
Yes, very much so. I struggled a lot as a teen with bullying at school and what amounted to what I now recognize as emotional abuse at home. I was very depressed and anxious. I started having thoughts of suicide at age 13. I eventually convinced my parents to let me see a psychiatrist, though they didn't really think there was a problem. I was a HS freshman at the time, so 15-16.
I liked the doctor a lot at first. He was friendly, he really listened to me talk about my issues, and he was the only sympathetic adult in my life at that point - I thought. After a while, he told me the way I was being treated at home was very wrong, and he wanted me to bring my dad in to a session so we could all talk about it together. He felt that if he were mediating the conversation, my dad might actually take my feelings seriously. I thought, "Wow, this is great, I will finally be heard!"
The next time I came in, I brought my dad, but the doc did a complete 180, talking about me with my dad as if I weren't even there. He told him he was doing a good job as a parent, but I was just a bad and rebellious kid who did everything for attention. The best thing to do, he said, was ignore my attention-seeking behaviors and not validate them in any way. He said he didn't believe I was really depressed at all and was faking to get drugs.
A friend had died in a car accident just a few days before, so I was already in an emotionally vulnerable place. Whenever I tried to speak, they'd just talk over me, like I was just some thing, not a person with feelings. I started to cry, so the doctor pointed at me and said, pretty triumphantly, "See! She's crying now because she knows I'm right. I can't be right because I'm old, isn't that right, downhereforyoursoul? You can't stand for an adult to be right!"
I tuned out whatever was being said after that, just quietly cried while they continued discussing me and my issues with authority or whatever. Home life worsened after that because now there was even less of a chance for me to ever be listened to or taken seriously. I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. It was many years before I felt comfortable seeking help again.
That ahole is probably retired or dead by now, but f*ck him. I'm still salty about it.
This is profoundly unhelpful.Giphy
Yes, she repeated what I have to do is change my personality. Feeling depressed and anxious is about my personality... Interesting.
Isn't it the therapist's job to recognize signs of abuse?Giphy
Yep! My therapist, who is been seeing for a year prior for other reasons, had incredibly unreasonable expectations for a new relationship of mine. Talking about "true love" and how "some people just get so lucky finding 'their person' so young". I remember having misgivings at the time, but continued seeing her. Started having relationship problems so brought him with me to the therapist. Therapist started getting erratic and giving contradictory advice in the same session. Ended up having to dump the therapist before dumping the SO.
Ironically, this therapist is supposedly the best in my area for post-abuse counseling.
When your therapist violates confidentiality...Giphy
Yep. As a teen I had a few sessions with a psychologist. I wanted to go in order to talk about some historical trauma but my father was paying for the sessions because he wanted me to figure out how to better adapt to life with his new batshit crazy wife. After a few sessions, I found out that the psychologist was having regular discussions over the phone with my father and disclosing what I was saying during our sessions. I promptly freaked out and then refused to seek psychological help (which I really needed) for close to a decade.
Don't treat patients like customers.Giphy
She treated me like a product and did her job like it from a checklist. I wasn't in a good mental state at the time and she pushed too many of my buttons. The most notable thing I said to her was "stop regurgitating the same bile you find off of the internet and do your f*cking job."
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: