Archives for May, 2010


When Good Therapy Turns Bad

We all know good therapy when we experience it, that warm fuzzy feeling where we are heard, understood, validated and start healing from the inside.  But what about bad therapy, what does that feel like?  And what if bad therapy turns ugly and ends in termination?  Here are five reasons why good therapy turns bad and ends in termination.

1.  Countertransference – when a client triggers the therapist’s issues.

It has been a long established rule of good therapists never to take on a client who will trigger personal issues.  The therapist who has been raped may not be able to cope with the raped client.  The therapist with children who finds out her client is a paedophile or the client who triggers off mother-issues with the therapist who has not resolved her own childhood.  These well-meaning people can sometimes unwittingly do more damage than good if they have not received their own therapy or supervision.
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The Found Child

There is a child that is easy to love.  I want to embrace her and tell her that she is “well behaved” and a pleasure to be with.  She is a compassionate child, with oodles of empathy, loves other people, is non-judgemental, care-free, innocent and everybody loves her.  She is a child that knows herself, has emotional intelligence, knows what to say and the right way to say it.  She made all the right decisions, at the right time, with the right people and for all the right reasons.  What a pleasant, likable child, people all say.

This is the child who, at age 12, upon viewing a documentary about starving people in Africa, set about collecting goods and chattels and crocheting rugs and selling them at school recess and sent ten dollars off to World Vision.

This is the child who rescued stray cats and brought them home to be loved and cared for.  Who rescued native birds from her stray cats, cried when they passed away, and buried them in her garden.  This is the easy to love child who volunteered her Sundays to work at an animal shelter.  This is the child who cared enough for a stranger, twice her age, to talk him out of suicide. 
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The Lost Child

There’s this little girl I want to kick in the shins.  I hate her.  She’s a whinging, snivelling, whining, horrible little girl who is dumb, stupid and cowardly.  She was selfish, arrogant, outspoken, over-emotional, over-sensitive, rude and difficult.  She made all the wrong decisions, at the wrong time, with all the wrong people and for all the wrong reasons.  She didn’t know how to be nice, she was always jealous and plotting, saying nasty things, thinking nasty thoughts and trying too hard to ingratiate herself with the very same people she was offensive to.
She did things that would bring shame on herself and her family.
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Five Things I Have Learned From My Therapist

There are some things I need to be taught, that I cannot learn for myself.  If I had my way, I would mire myself in binge-eating, TV marathons, smoking, drinking and drug-taking all enveloped in a toxic bubble of anxiety and depression.  It’s an easy, seductive path I get lured down occasionally.  But with help and inspiration from others, especially my therapist, I can pull myself out of that hole and into life.

Here are five things I have learned from my therapist that I could not teach myself.
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More Sex With Your Therapist

Is there ever a good time to have sex with your therapist?

According to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Australia who noted that ''in some circumstances, it may be appropriate for a psychologist to have a personal and sexual relationship with an ex-client,'' but that it should not start until at least two years after therapy ends.

However, in the case of one particular transgressing psychologist, it wasn’t two years and the client wasn't a fully consenting adult, he was a brain-damaged sex killer on parole.  Apparently this makes no difference.
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On Being a Therapist

I’ve often wondered what being a therapist and giving therapy feels like?  What does it feel like to be on the other side of the couch, the so-called mentally healthy side, slowly building up that all-important trust, respect and safety, dispensing wisdom, experiencing and sharing flashes of insight, feeling the poignant pangs of empathy and for some, being able to conjure up that third person, the second client in the room – the inner child, the little girl/boy who so desperately needs a voice to be heard after being silenced many decades before?
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