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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Therapy

I have written many stories about my therapist. She is an exceptional lady, has a great sense of humor, was a journalist in another life and enjoys and approves of my blogs before I post them. I also enjoy a good relationship with my mother and she has also read this blog.

It’s emotionally exhausting and physically draining trying to stay positive, optimistic and generally uphold a bright outlook during life’s ups and downs. As well as with the added bonus of having to continually bolster the rest of your family’s flagging self-esteem, especially when you just want to crash and burn somewhere private.

Teaching self-responsibility to selfish teenagers is not only time-consuming but fundamentally self-defeating as well. I get sick and tired of taking responsibility for my own actions somtimes and there are moments when I just want to lay the blame at someone else’s door.

And if my mother’s at home, it’s always a good place to start. But when I got the door slammed in my face, that’s when therapy seemed like a good idea.

And who wouldn’t enjoy spending the best part of an hour whinging and blaming everyone but yourself for the poor state of your life. But I’ve learned along the way that just because your therapist validates your dysfunctionality in a soft cooing voice doesn’t mean that, like your mother, she can’t see your faults either.

Here’s some good, some bad and some pretty ugly stuff I’ve learned on the path to realizing that my glass of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is actually half-full and not half-empty as I previously thought.

The Good is when you see a therapist.
The Bad is when you fall in love with your therapist.
The Ugly is when your therapist falls in love with you.

The Good is when you realise it’s ALL about your mother.
The Bad is when you think your therapist IS your mother.
The Ugly is when you want to crawl into your therapist’s lap and stay there forever.

The Good is when you can see your mother’s point of view.
The Bad is when your mother can see only her own point of view.
The Ugly is when your therapist can see your mother’s point of view.

The Good is when you finally get angry with your therapist.
The Bad is when your therapist finally gets angry with you.
The Ugly is when you introduce a set of darts into the therapy hour.

The Good is when your mother finally sees a therapist
The Bad is when your mother chooses to see your therapist.
The Ugly is when your mother and your therapist decide to go on holiday together.

The Yellow Brick road of therapy isn’t easy. It is best seen as a journey rather than a specific destination. But with your mother as a back seat driver, do expect to hit a few speed-bumps and pot-holes along the way.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Therapy

Sonia Neale

Sonia Neale was recently awarded the Inaugural Barbara Hocking SANE Australia Fellowship to study and research Borderline Personality Disorder overseas in the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland. Her previous Psych Central blog was called Therapy Unplugged. She is the author of two books, The Bad Mother’s Revenge and Death by Teenager, both published by ABC Books/Harper Collins. She lives in Western Australia, is married with three adult children, has studied psychoanalytic psychotherapy, has a Certificate IV in Mental Health and is studying for a Psychology/Counselling degree. She currently works as a peer support worker in the mental health field. Please email her on davson at

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APA Reference
Neale, S. (2009). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 May 2009
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