18 thoughts on “5 Signs of Narcissistic Therapists (The Ultimate Covert Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing)

  • March 6, 2019 at 8:52 am

    The supervisor of a PHD student therapist I had once insisted I be called Mrs. Hertzberger in spite of my direct request to be addressed by my first name. The student was not allowed to change that. I wrote that supervisor a scathing letter which finally had her relent. She was haughty, addressed to the nines and as cold as ice. Yet they had her supervising student therapists.

    I told her that I changed my name when I married to get rid of my abusive father’s and that the only name I felt was mine was my first name. I insisted I had the right to be addressed according to my wishes.

    The student therapist was wonderful, though.

  • March 6, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    wow, great article! Glad someone is writing about this topic, it’s long overdue.

  • March 7, 2019 at 10:37 am

    This is a topic has lifelong detrimental effects on children and parents going through custody issues. Through personal experience as well as shared experiences from people I know there is an unimaginable amount of suffering caused by narcissism in the judicial system. A change needs to be had by recognizing this abuse and holding the abusers accountable. Standing up is the only way this starts to change and we are working on this movement to do so.

  • March 7, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    It sure looks like I’m blessed the two wacked therapists I went to didn’t do the above mentioned things. However, There were boundary crossings. A male therapist close to my age had given me compliments and had said and done other non therapeutic things. He creeped me out.
    I went to a female therapist to talk about what had previously happened. I made sure to not mention the former therapist’s name, I thought it was the kind way to deal.
    The latter therapist repeated over and over that the male therapist “liked me.” Who does this? This is not professional. It’s disgusting. He may or may not thought I was interesting, but like?
    She should have been reported for all the garbage she said.

  • March 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Many military marriage counselors “side” with the serviceman, despite the fact that I also served, they diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder, which I see by your article is common, they give “excuses” for my husbands abuse, saying that “I don’t understand how tough the navy is” despite repeatedly telling them I’m prior Army, telling me he loved me despite me being “unlovable” and even talking to him about my private sessions long after he quit going.
    Glad they are all now part of my past and I am moving forward but I wish more was known about these therapists and how to remove them once they are spotted.

    • March 10, 2019 at 6:37 am

      Hi Lisa,
      You need to file a formal complaint with your state’s Board of Psychology. You can easily find the form online with guidelines of helpful terminology to use when you file. I also strongly recommend writing an article and sending it to every news channel network. This is EXACTLY the right time to get a journalist to show interest in your story and investigate deeper into the abuse…. yes this is ABUSE. Entertain a lawsuit and if you know other victims gather them together and voice to the press and form an advocacy group. You have a voice and your voice counts. To quote Mother Theresa “Don’t wait for leaders, do it alone person to person.” You clearly are a strong woman and you can impact a change just like what is happening on the news today with the military and women’s abuse. ☮️💜

  • March 10, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    I have am struggling horribly with C-ptsd, Depression, Anxiety, Panic, Vivid Night terrors, Sleep Disturbances including Insomnia, Isolation to my home. I have a long victim history of child sexual assault, physical abuse, emotional abuse, family abduction by a female relative(aunt )(s) one whom I was lead to believe was my mother and whom I spent much of my childhood with. I had more than one perpetrator (6) 2 adults male and 4 male teen. I’ve witnessed the death of a sibling( cousin) who was 14, I was 7. It’s been a Lifetime an this doesn’t scratch the surface 😭.. I’m in therapy both
    Art therapy and regular , I have a community support person . I am seriously struggling with my Art therapy because my Therapist thinks I should have compassion for my aunt ( my abductor) (& my Eldest daughter who NOW is an Adult & Doesn’t believe anything happened to me with my Aunt- her Great aunt) so my Eldest daughter has kicked me out of her life repeatedly( unless I have something she Needs) … I’m so very confused I’m 52 years old and very very tired at this point in my life.. I’ve dedicated my life to getting healthy but I am getting worn down . Am I supposed to be feeling compassion for my aunt? Am I wrong for feeling angry that I went thru hell and never knew my Real Mother til 14, that I could of had a normal life.. Am I wrong because I want to heal? Everyone keeps telling me just get over it it’s been years!!💔 what’s wrong with me??

    • May 19, 2019 at 5:46 am

      Mental health professionals should never expect you to show compassion for or forgive an abuser. You may be interested in articles on trauma informed care such as this one https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/blog/centre-mental-health-blog/what-happened-you
      I know it’s hard to find someone who is trauma informed and though there are very good, empathic therapists out there, narcissism is rife amongst the psychology profession (a kind of open secret…..). It’s important to trust your intuition. Best of luck.

  • March 11, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Precisely why I am not seeing a therapist–never have, never will. Thanks to the Internet and books I have all the information I need without the agitation from mentally unstable “professionals.”

    • April 4, 2019 at 6:14 am

      I agree with you. I saw a psychoanalytic therapist for one session and he ‘interpreted’ Oedipal issues instead of recognising what was clearly the lovebombing and trauma bonding of narcissistic abuse. Total waste of time. And many therapists exhibit narcissistic traits anyway – desire for power, status and money, attraction to the vast power imbalance inherent in the therapist role, the enjoyment of the adoration of positive transferences, attraction to the secrecy, lack of witnesses and unregulated nature of the profession. Learning from narcissistic abuse sources on the internet has been far more validating and helpful for recovery. It is essential to get information from people who have direct experience of these sadistic relationships as it is so complex and yet so subtle that most people can’t identify it unless they have experienced it themselves.

  • March 12, 2019 at 10:44 am

    This a very intersting article. I truly feel for the victim who have been re-traumatized.. Something got my attention in the victim’s stories. I think personnal boundaries as well as private life intrusion should be a warning sign. The victims there were probably misinformed or in too much pain/need for help to worry about that first but I don’t think it’s a good sign of a healthy therapeuthic relationship if your therapist is coming to your marriage. Therapy makes us already so vulnarable because we open up a lot in front of another human being. So boundaries between therapy and personnal life should strenghened a lot more than in any other relationship. Same for seing a therapist who is a friend of your abusal spouse.. I mean. This cannot work out from the beginning. Hope those people were able to find someone truly empathetic and at the same time able to put the boundaries between themselves and the patient.

  • March 17, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I experienced this. Many have. This is a topic that MUST be written about more. It is absolutely imperative that the healthcare profession acknowledge the issues presented in therapy – and act accordingly to prevent further harm when those whose job it is to help – choose to harm.

    There is a power imbalance in therapy. And there is also a lack of accountability. I would love to share more insight with the author of this article. I am a journalist too – and this topic is my passion. I would love to hear from the journalist who wrote this so that we can make further strides on this endeavor.

  • April 6, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve experienced this , unfortunately more than once. It was traumatic enough for me to be able to set up a red flag for myself before I ever knew there was help for this sort of thing. My red flag? If the therapist, counselor, doctor, starts talking about themselves, turning anything you say about your pain around to focus on stories in their own lives … run. Get out that door as fast as you can. Do not PAY someone to listen to YOUR pain, then have to sit there and hear them drone on and on about themselves and their own life, invalidating you and the very reasons you are sitting in their office to begin with. Hoping that at long last, someone would exchange your money for a sympathetic and helping ear.

  • May 7, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for this article. The red flags here also apply to life coaches, dating coaches, and spiritual healers who aren’t therapists.

    It’s important for clients to trust themselves and be seen as the expert on their own lives. A helping professional doesn’t know you better than you know yourself. Authority figures can be wrong.

    It’s unfortunate that when survivors seek help on abusive professionals, others are uneducated on the topic and side with the therapist (thinking that the therapist means well). Not everybody in the helping profession means well. There are good and bad workers in every field.

  • September 5, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I just left a (free) writing course taught by someone who wants to be a therapist. The other day she read out something that began with her admission of being a narcissist! I wasn’t surprised. There were a number of red flags, the biggest one being her reaction to an essay I wrote about contacting an abusive parent. I’ve had therapy and I’m no longer young. I survived what I took to be the teacher’s admiration for the parent. (“What a strong person!” etc.) For me, writing that essay wasn’t therapy anyway–more of an act of letting go, of putting something painful into an art form that held humour, beauty and hope. Still, I felt rattled for a few days afterwards.

    I tend to second-guess myself, but at least two other people in the small class acted shocked by the teacher’s response. They made a point of approaching me later, saying that the teacher was wrong. And they didn’t go back to the class. I went back, thinking the teacher’s behaviour was a one-off. Was I wrong.

    I think people who were abused as children are especially vulnerable to narcissists and need to trust their guts. That’s hard, when you’ve been gaslighted and tend to second-guess yourself.

  • September 10, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    A great article. I know a narcissist–self-proclaimed–who wants to be a therapist. This, from someone who admits she shuts people down, tries to hurt people who are vulnerable, shames the victim, and so on. (She used different language, and felt sorry for herself.) Without giving away who this person is, I’ll just say she’s a full-blown narcissist and no doubt will abuse her most vulnerable clients, all the while charming and manipulating “those who count.”

    I’ve had a couple narcissistic therapists and know how much hurt they can inflict. Run, don’t walk, if you see the red flags. You are enough. You can validate yourself.

  • October 20, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    I’m asking for help if anyone has ideas. I have cptsd from the family law system (as do hordes of other moms and kids, I should say [yet no one really talks about it), and am seeing an unlicensed counselor intern for that. I don’t even know where to begin with this horrible story.

    Wow, she turned out to be a backstabber. Right in the very beginning she took my history right up to the family law system and stopped right there. I also clarified that I was looking for someone who could help me go beneath the surface a little and she ignored that because she was doing cbt. I think she was pissed at me because I said that cbt was more like life coaching and stuff you can find on the internet. I also articulated to the front desk what my needs were and they stuck me with her, possibly because my insurance didn’t pay much and she was cheap because she didn’t have a license. The front desk is another story.

    In the beginning she also wrote down goals which I never spoke of. They were here goals and not mine, and she never informed me of what “my” goals were.

    In the beginning she tried to label me as bipolar. I show zero signs of that. When that didn’t work, her colleague who was supposed to be doing EMDR with me suggested I had adhd. Again, no signs of that, but at this point it’s clear the office has issues with labeling people.

    Also, yes, I did notice the little signs that my intern counselor was just not good. She was triggering me and not apologizing and seemed disconnected, the vibe was off. On a regular basis I wondered how she got through school if she was so disconnected from the profession. I figured she was not naturally skilled but “tested” well and so I gave her a chance. When I told her that when she and her colleague label me, they’re gaslighting, she denied it and said in a condescending, nurse Ratchet kind of demeanor, that this was their observations or something like that. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember how she acted. So … to give her a chance again, I explained that gaslighting is when there is a problem and it’s blamed on the victim in a way where there is an effort to persuade the victim. I didn’t mention that this is particularly egregious when a counselor does this, but I was well aware of that. I kept on suppressing this stuff in me because I had already looked hard for a counselor and had watched really good youtube videos on how to interview or articulate my needs–and I did all of that but got this sucky counselor anyway. I needed the emdr but there’s maybe only one other place in town which offers it. I figured I could lower my standards and just keep going, what’s the worst that could happen?

    Also, I mentioned once that I didn’t like how so many people claim to have ptsd but really don’t have it. They have traumatic memories like we all do, but claim ptsd as if it’s a badge of honor. They also dilute the perceived severity of having it, so that when I ask for an accommodation for it, I get treated as if it’s all in my head. I think this pissed off my intern counselor because she says she has ptsd. I think she is a narcissist but is claiming ptsd to distract from what’s really going on. I know she’s super fake and willing to go far to be deceptive.

    So I’ve been improving in milestone ways because of work I’m doing for myself, not what she’s doing for me. For example, I specifically said I needed to work on my nighttime routine where I get stuck on the internet and fall off track. She said to set an alarm and get off the computer. That was triggering to me (full amygdala hijack trigger) because it obviously is not “counseling” to talk to a person like that and that’s the kind of thing I mentioned earlier as what I can find on the internet. I realize I’m really on my own and have stuck with the counseling because just talking about what’s going on is a way to keep me on track and if and when I get my sleep to a certain point they said I could do emdr which I really need. My improvements have been better sleep where I for the first time feel I can get through the winter okay, and also I organized my house better for the first time in ten years. These are true milestone breakthroughs. Plus, I felt ready to take on the way I talk too much as a habit of trauma. As soon as I began contemplating talking too much, I got better spontaneously and again, this was without the help of the counselor.

    Also, this past summer it took me a whole lot to come to terms with it, but I mentioned to her that I though I was addicted to the internet. She never once ever helped me to come to terms with that, nor did she help me afterwards, eventhough addictions are seen very often in ptsd.

    Speaking of addictions, my primary doctor who doesn’t have any special training in psychology was able to identify right away that my environment was not allowing my brain the dopamine that it needed and she suggested a brilliant idea to help me with my environment (to get out of the house to go to a coffee shop and chill). And this “bad environment” idea with addictions is basically “addictions 101.”

    When I mentioned the internet addiction, my counselor seemed very disconnected and almost as if she was a little tasered, like she really didn’t like me saying that.

    Since their attempt to label me as bipolar or adhd didn’t fly, she kept saying there was “something” she was seeing and asked me if I was open to psychological testing. My instincts told me I couldn’t trust them (there were other problems with the front desk as well as one of the co-owners, plus of course the two counselors I’ve mentioned, and additionally the fakey supervisor for the intern). So I felt that way, but also though, what could go wrong, and if I did the psychological testing, this would help the poor misguided intern to see the light. So I agreed, but apparently the wait to see that person was really long. Eventually another person came to the forefront. My intern counselor told me he was not licensed to evaluate, but he had a lot of experience with it (whatever that meant). I said sure, let’s give it a go.

    So at the appointment he intro’d himself and the process and asked if I had any questions. I don’t know then if I had a question or just a statement, but I mentioned something about the term, “evidence based” as being code for “someone with deep pockets decided to fund this study and that’s why it was done, not because it’s superior to other forms of evidence.” The evaluator wanna be said that students elected to do their own studies, etc. as if he was resisting what I was saying. I’m not an expert in the whole “how studies are chosen” department, but I mentioned to him that students are starving, they don’t have deep pockets to fund independent studies. At that point he got mad and accused me of being defensive and talking too much. And, though I had not planned on super scrutinizing him, when he could not acknowledge the fallibility of the profession he was in, something clicked in my head and I knew he was not credible. So that interview never happened.

    My counselor’s response to this seemed perfectly normal. I didn’t see the disconnectedness she otherwise showed when things didn’t go her way. But at the very next appointment, she interrupted it to tell me something that was on her mind. She had diagnosed me with szitzo affective disorder. I was completely FLOORED. She claimed that my dislike of all technology such as cell phones and laptops having spyware built right into them was evidence of paranoia. Whew, she told me that the government has been doing that since forever and I should get used to it. Like since men have been raping women since forever we had better get used to that, too. She told me that I never got cptsd from the family law system (eventhough my signs are extremely clear) and that I got it from childhood instead (which is impossible because I never had cptsd until the family law system came into play!). So she basically told me that I imagined I had cptsd from the family law system because I hallucinated that. Wow, that was so extreme. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that she did that and her supervisor allowed her too. She was smiling a sneaky smile when she said this. I remember I said to her, “how do you know you’re not paranoid of me and hallucinating things about me?” And she interrupted me while I was speaking and changed the subject in order to not answer the question, but with that same smirky smile, too. She’s officially creepy and I know if she did this to me so early on in her “career,” she most definitely will do this to others unless she’s stopped. She will just get more skilled at it unless she’s stopped.

    Anyway, though, sorry that I told the long version of this, but if anyone has any ideas of what I should do, please let me know. One of my biggest triggers of all is coerced free labor in exchange for basic things such as healthcare. So in this case, all the super great but labor dependent things would be triggering to me and I can’t do them. Keeping a diary of all of this, for example, is coerced free labor and I have to set a healthy boundary with that. The system is designed to put the burden on us of fixing this stuff, there’s no doubt about that. I also read somewhere that 80% of malpractice lawsuits are unsuccessful and that bothers me for what it is, plus the idea that by suing them, I could just be training them to be more skilled in their abuse, as opposed to really helping the situation, if the judge doesn’t hold them accountable. It’s a depressing situation. 🙁

    • February 14, 2020 at 3:34 am

      There are places you can file complaints if you feel you are being treated unfairly., like human rights, mental health care complaints. You’d have to search around google for them, the place I go to is supposed to give a list but a coincidence they never gave it to me 🙂 I’m not sure how much it would help but maybe if enough complaints are filed it would get attention.

      Are you going to a sliding scale type place? I feel the one I go to is just all about the money and I read sometimes a therapist will make a patient worse or not make progress to keep them coming back.

      I searched on filing a lawsuit for mental health malpractice and it looks like a hard thing to do since in therapy it’s just a she said this and she said that with no real proof. Mental health diagnoses just a guess, take symptoms see what fits in the DSMIV, prescribe the medications and hope for the best. Add to it your therapist is saying you are hallucinating (even if not true chances are she will believed over you, just how it is with the law system) and you are going to have a losing battle. The main focus on mental health professionals is making sure you aren’t a danger to yourself or others even if you never thought about suicide before – they will ask if you are thinking about it so much eventually you do start think about.

      If this therapist and clinic is your only option in your area that your insurance covers maybe it might be best to take a break from it. Not sure if you are on medications but sometimes a primary doctor can continue to prescribe what you take. I think the stress of dealing with a bad therapist can cause PTSD itself


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