Comments

Hi all,

I want to make some comments about comments and also acknowledge a situation that has occurred on the Your  Stories page.

First and foremost, I want to remind you all that this is a public site. It is NOT a members-only, password-protected forum where content is only visible to subscribers. What you write in your comments can be accessed and read by ANYONE. So please take that into account when you post.

There has been a situation (i.e. “learning experience”) within the Your Stories commentary that has presented some challenges I was not anticipating, and it has resulted in several changes going into effect. A while back, a dialogue started regarding a therapist accused of abuse whose name was used by the commenters. While I had some misgivings about the person’s name being in the comments, I chose to let things stand as they were. Then, however, the therapist in question discovered her name on the site and responded angrily to the accusations. This put me in a bit of a quandary. As a citizen of the U.S., I believe in the right to free speech, and, as I said above, this is a public forum. However, as moderator of this website and blog, I feel some obligation to provide some boundaries and safety for survivor-commenters.

The situation escalated when the therapist threatened legal action due to her name being linked publicly to the accusations. Since there had not been a formal complaint that resulted in the therapist being found guilty of the accusations, the comments were considered defamatory. So I removed her name from the comments and instituted a new policy that commenters not name names due to potential legal consequences. I also removed the therapist’s comments from the string.

Around the same time, someone else entirely posted a nasty, blame-the-victim comment elsewhere on the site. As a result, I decided to back off my free speech position a bit and more actively moderate comments, removing any “nasty” ones as I saw fit. I wrote up a new Comments Policy that you can read here.

Then I was contacted by one of the survivor-commenters in this situation. The commenter wanted me to remove all her own comments because she was angry that I’d allowed the abusive therapist to post on the site.

Okay….

So there are a few points I’d like to make here.

Yes, comments can be removed and/or edited. I am occasionally contacted by survivors who want me to remove their comments, for a variety of reasons (often due to a fear of being public), and I try to comply with these requests. I am in no way required to do this, but I do try. Removing and editing comments takes some effort, and I may not get to it immediately, but it can be done. (Having said this, if I suddenly get a bunch of requests to remove comments, I may start to restrict the occasions when I do this. Please take responsibility for what you write.)

What I need you all to understand is that if you were engaged in a dialogue with someone and then I remove your comments, it affects the whole string of dialogue. Any replies to your comments are now sitting by their lonesome selves, making for very odd reading. So my removing your comments affects not only you but everyone you were in conversation with. Please take this into account when you ask me to remove your comments and consider whether there may be an alternate solution (like editing or changing names) that does not affect the whole string.

Now, if you do decide to request that I remove or edit your comments, please provide me with a way of getting in touch if I have questions. There may be additional information I need from you in order to comply with your request. If you do not leave me a legitimate email address, this may cause a delay in my being able to comply with your request.

Regarding this particular situation, I believe I have removed what the parties requested I remove from the Your Stories page. Since other participants’ responses have NOT been removed, this has left a very odd and disjointed string of commentary. Now you’ll understand why.

So, to review, here are the points I’d like you to understand:

  1. This is a public website, not a members-only, password-protected forum. What you say is not protected and can be accessed by anyone on the world-wide web.
  2. DO NOT use full names of anyone you are making accusations about. There may be legal consequences for you, for me, for this website. (Note that I have completely refrained from using Dr. T’s actual name in my writings about my experience. That was intentional, to protect my own free speech. You can protect yours by not naming your abusers unless they’ve been formally charged and found guilty of the allegations.)
  3. Comments can be edited or removed, although this does require time and effort, and it may not happen right away.
  4. If you ask me to remove your comments, understand that, if you are engaged in a dialogue, doing this affects others, too, and alters the entire string of comments.
  5. If you ask me to remove your comments, please provide me with a way to get in touch with you in case I have questions.
  6. Please take responsibility for what you write.

As moderator of this blog, I am doing the best I can, but I am human and sometimes I make mistakes or allow something to fall through the cracks. If that happens, please know that I am sorry. It’s not intentional and it’s not personal. My intention is to provide a forum for voices to be heard, and I’m realizing that sometimes those voices need some protection. I will take that into consideration in moving forward.

Thank you.

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Resource: “First Aid for the Soul after Heartbreak” by Sandra Lee Dennis, PhD

In my last post I shared an article from Sandra Lee Dennis, PhD on forgiveness. Sandra’s got some great information on trauma and betrayal on her website SandraLeeDennis.com – Finding Heart in the Dark, including two free eBooks: 13 Signposts of Betrayal and First Aid for the Soul after Heartbreak. I found them both very well done, and Sandra has generously allowed me to share First Aid for the Soul after Heartbreak with my readers. (If you visit her site and sign up for updates, you can get them both for free.)

To access the PDF, click this link:

First Aid for the Soul after Heartbreak

This will also be on the Articles and Publications page.

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An Article from Sandra Lee Dennis on Forgiveness

Just wanted to share this great article by Sandra Lee Dennis on forgiveness.

For a long time it was my intention to write a blog post about forgiveness, which I would cheekily call “The F Word,” but I never got around to it. Now I feel kind of thankful that other people are writing similar posts so that I can simply read theirs!

Here’s Sandra’s:

Just Forgive! – by Sandra Lee Dennis, PhD

The trauma, confusion and heartache of betrayal often get worse before they get better. When your trust shatters, it can leave you spinning for a long time. After a while a kind of desperation sets in to find a way out of the pain.

In the ensuing quest to recover as quickly as possible, you will soon discover, as I did, an apparently straightforward remedy. Most everything you read, from self-help to depth psychology to the wisdom traditions—and just about everyone you talk with—will advise you similarly.

When you have been badly hurt by someone, in order to heal, you must simply forgive, let go and move on.  Just forgive and you will have the magic remedy that will wipe away the brokenness, stop the pain, and give you back your life, or so you are told. What could be more obvious! Encouraged by this chorus of well-wishers, I was inspired, and forgiveness became my new quarry, the sought-after Holy Grail.

Premature Forgiveness Only Covers the Problem

Striving to forgive too soon, or maybe ever, depending on the circumstances, turned out to be a self-defeating quest. Even if we imagine we have arrived at this saintly state of mind, premature forgiveness almost guarantees we will bypass our own suffering.  When what we need to do to move forward is to embrace, not bypass, the pain.

I speak from experience, because, believe me, I tried to forgive.  I fervently included forgiveness practices as part of my regular meditation and prayer times. Sending the man who left me loving kindness and wishes for healing, acknowledging his pain, and detailing my own transgressions became an integral part of my routine, second only to brushing my teeth.  In addition, I spent two years daily working the exercises in A Course in Miracles—the primary focus of which is forgiveness—as well as meeting weekly with a support group.  Despite all these efforts, I still felt horrible.

My traumatized state of mind repelled my exertions like oil does water.  My psyche would have none of this forgiveness nonsense, and demanded more potent medicine.  Outside the time of sustained attention on my practices, and sometimes even with a fierce focus on them, my mind kept reverting to resenting, blaming and hexing him for what he had done. Frankly, trying so desperately to forgive only showed me how far I was from being the spiritual, kind, forgiving person I imagined myself to be.

Forgiveness Grows in Mysterious Ways

When we take forgiveness to heart as an ideal—and who doesn’t want to be a kind, forgiving person?—we may naturally, anxiously, skip over the distressing thoughts and feelings that our soul is calling us to traverse.  Before true forgiveness can emerge from the ashes of broken trust, we need to wrestle with and listen to the messages in our own suffering. This means it may take many years of acceptance of our resentful, miserable, unforgiving selves before the heart softens and forgiveness comes quietly, almost magically, to fruition.

For most of us shattered trust brings with it a call to the work of complex grieving. We must grieve before we can forgive, and there is no timetable for that grief. True forgiveness, as a station of the heart, not simply a movement of the rational mind, becomes then an ideal to aspire to rather than an accessible way of being in the world.We may wish to forgive, even set an intention to forgive, but like so much else that involves our depths, forgiveness grows underground in mysterious ways that are not in our hands.

Meanwhile, let’s direct some of that loving kindness toward ourselves as we pass through this dark night testing and stretching of our hearts.

Adapted from Love and the Mystery of Betrayal by Sandra Lee Dennis, PhD—now available in print and ebook.

And here’s the comment I left:

I tried very hard to bypass my anger. The first thing I did (within 3 months of my own betrayal experience) was go to a Non-Violent Communication class. I kept getting triggered and felt far more violent than non-violent, so I quit the class, feeling like a failure.

Then I was going to all these bodyworkers and energy healers, because I had totally somatized my experience, and listened to them all tell me I needed to forgive in order to heal. And this was before I’d even gotten in touch with my anger! It was like blackmail: If you want to heal, you have to forgive. If you do not forgive, you will not heal. I felt doomed. Finally, I had someone tell me that really the only way to heal was to feel the emotions. That you couldn’t bypass them — you had to go through them. What a relief!

After time I did want to forgive, for my own peace of mind, but I think that happens as a RESULT of healing, not the other way around. Once you acknowledge and feel your feelings, then you can move through them and start to let go of what you’re holding on to (and holding against the other person).

To me it feels hard to be a “spiritual” person (I’m not hard-core spiritual, but spirituality is important to me) and hold onto what I think is true about forgiveness. Because everyone is spouting the need for forgiveness and it’s hard to think differently and feel okay about it. It’s funny how seemingly open-minded spiritual practices can also feel so narrow minded. Having acceptance for people’s unique processes is SO important!

You can read more of Sandra’s posts about love and betrayal on her blog at www.SandraLeeDennis.com.

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New Comments Policy

Hi Everyone,

I want to let you know that I have instituted a new Comments Policy. It is very important that you adhere to the guidelines presented here so that we can avoid any potential legal problems. It is especially important that you do not use actual names of any abusive therapists. That is not what this site is for. The purpose of this site is to provide support for victims of abuse and resources for healing. We cannot use it as a place to name names.

I hope that you can understand the need for the policy and respect it. I want to provide a place where people can speak about their stories with safety and freedom, but we do need to take some care in order to avoid any negative consequences.

As this is a recently implemented policy, if you see something on the site that seems questionable to you, please let me know.

I’ve included the policy below.

Thank you for your support!

Comments Policy and Participation Guidelines

SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas. We respect your First Amendment rights and embrace the core values of free speech.

Comments posted on the SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com website reflect the opinions of the individuals posting them and not necessarily those of the website administrators. If you have a concern about any posted content, or about any content that has been removed by a site administrator, please e-mail info@survivingtherapistabuse.com.

Page and blog administrators review comments and posts regularly to ensure any issues or concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

Please respect others who comment on our sites. Please avoid comments that personally attack others or are inappropriate, inflammatory, offensive, profane, obscene or sexually explicit. Comments of this nature will be deleted.

Posts that contain names of specific individuals as part of a complaint, concern or compliment will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, at the discretion of website administrators, the post or comment may be removed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Website administrators reserve the right to block or remove the content of any post that violates any of the above stated policies.

SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com is not responsible for, nor does it endorse, the content posted by participants on the website.

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Two Questions

Hi Everyone!

I’m putting a couple of questions to you all and would love to know your thoughts.

  1. Occasionally (thankfully not very often) I receive some really negative comments that may not be considered respectful of therapist abuse survivors. This includes, for example, comments that involve blaming the victim, saying the victim had a choice, that the victim consented, etc., or comments from people who just want to go off on someone. I’m talking about the rude, nasty, sometimes hateful stuff and not about general negative commentary.Up to now, my general policy has been to let the comments stand because I believe in freedom of speech and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But a colleague recently suggested that I could take a more discretionary approach and delete negative commentary as I saw fit, as long as I posted a disclaimer on the site regarding that policy. What do you all think? Are the negative comments upsetting to you? Would you prefer I make them “go away”? Or are they thought-provoking? Do they provide you an opportunity to express your anger about victim-blaming and that sort of thing?

  2. Right now we have a “Your Stories” page on which people can post their stories in the comment section. Occasionally someone submits a much longer story that would be prohibitive to read as a “comment.” So I am considering including links to survivors’ stories that would each open up on its own page (with a comment section below that would be exclusive to that story). The stories could only be accessed from the Your Stories page — although I could also put links to them in the sidebar. Hmmm. This is something I’m just starting to mull over and would like your input!

Thanks for your ideas and your support!


January 2, 2015 – Update

Thanks for your input! I have now posted the Comments Policy and Participation Guidelines for the website and all comments will be subject to moderator approval.

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“Hurry Up and Heal” – An article from Feministing.com

I want to share this great article from Feministing.com called “Hurry Up and Heal”: Pain, Productivity and the Inadequacy of ‘Victim vs. Survivor’ by Dana Bolger. I think many of us can relate to this!

“Hurry Up and Heal”: Pain, Productivity and the Inadequacy of ‘Victim vs. Survivor’

Afterward, my friend said to me, “Stop calling yourself a victim. You’re a survivor.”

The notion of the compulsory transformation from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’ is hegemonic in violence care-work in the United States. To be a victim is to be fresh, still smarting, an open wound. Weak, disempowered, passive.

To be a survivor is to be strong, (pro)active, healthy, and productive. To have progressed.

The point of transition from victim to survivor is variously delineated as the moment at which someone first discloses to someone else that they suffered violence, meets with a therapist, reports to the authorities, or (even) takes their story to the press or engages in policy work.

In elevating those who “move forward,” the victim/survivor dichotomy implicitly condemns those who do not, reaffirming myths about what constitutes a good versus bad survivor, and legitimizing certain forms of survivorship over others. To be a (strong) survivor is to carry that weight — figuratively, and literally. To be a (weak) victim is to crumble, “stay” silent, engage in self-harm.

Compulsory survivorship depoliticizes our understanding of violence and its effects. It places the burden of healing on the individual, while comfortably erasing the systems and structures that make surviving hard, harder for some than for others. You are your own salvation. You are your own barrier to progress.

* * *

My school hired a lawyer to clean up its act. She was invited to speak to the entire campus community to educate us about rape culture. Instead, she said: “Rape is the death of the victim’s spirit.”

I’m not dead.

‘Victimhood’ comes with its own baggage. In the popular imagination, to be a victim is to have lost but worse: it is to have let yourself lose.

Only certain people get to be victims (or survivors). The very categories are policed on the basis of identity, presentation, and experience. We only recognize the violence of certain acts. We only mourn the violation of certain bodies.

* * *

“Just get over it.”

Others decide how we express our pain: too little and they catastrophize (“he damaged you”), too much and they demand we move on.

The idea of the victim-survivor transformation is linear, and directional. You’re a victim until one day, you “speak up,” you report, you go to therapy, and poof! you blossom into a survivor. You “put it all behind you,” and then there’s no turning back.

The cult of compulsory survivorship ignores the cyclic nature of healing. The good days. The bad days. Healing is nonlinear, messy, disruptive, and unpredictable. Trauma is, as others have pointed out, generational and historical. We carry trauma in our bones.

I don’t believe the afterward of violence ever really ends. We get better until we don’t.

* * *

“We’ll get you fixed up and back to college in no time.”

Before that, I’d never known I was broken.

Who benefits from believing in the “fixable”? Who benefits from insisting that trauma and its effects have ended, from tying up pain with a pretty little bow?

Our society is invested in the idea that we will return to “normal.” That there is an impending date at which we will be as we were, when the ‘after’ will look like the ‘before,’ when everybody can finally have some peace and quiet. Perhaps for some that day will come. Perhaps it won’t.

We want to believe violence’s impacts are finite. We want to believe that healing is constant and progressive. Perhaps deep down we know this is not true. We cling to it for our own comfort. We insist victims perform resiliency for our own peace of mind.

The relentless imperative to “hurry up and heal” is an appeal to smooth over your rough edges and Move On. Get back to being a productive member of society. We hear it everywhere from our homes to our college campuses to the streets of our burning citiesI urge you to set aside your pain and engage in productive steps forward. Performing our survivorship benefits the privileged (who seek to remain comfortable in their ignorance) and the powerful (who are deeply invested in managing the anger of the marginalized). The compulsory transformation from victim (unproductive) to survivor (productive) serves an imperialist capitalist state.

Our history books paint the U.S. occupation of this country as over and done, a concluded (if tragic) chapter from a colonial past. If the trauma is over, then we can move on and forget. If the trauma is done, we can in good conscience stop carrying that weight.

I don’t know what to call myself these days. Victim/survivor feels inadequate. I want new language. I want new structures and systems and institutions that affirm and support vulnerability, instability, and anger.

* * *

“Right now you might think of him every second of every day but someday, you will think of him less.”

I do–

Read the article in its original format and find out more about Dana Bolger on Feministing.com.

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Technical Difficulties

Hi Everyone,

It’s Saturday, November 29 and unfortunately we’re experiencing some technical difficulties with the website. You will be able to access most of the content but comments are not available. I’m so sorry!

I’m looking into this and hope to address the issues within a reasonable amount of time, but I appreciate your patience with this. It’s possible that in order to address the situation I may need to change the look of the site. We’ll see…

I appreciate your understanding and I apologize for the inconvenience!

Kristi

UPDATE – December 6

Well I was so hoping to have this all sorted out by now, but the universe has other ideas. Just know that I am working on this as best I can and hope to have everything back to “normal” (if there is such a thing) as soon as possible. I am so sorry for the inconvenience! (And if anyone knows a web person who’d like to donate their time to a worthy cause, please have them get in touch!)
~Kristi

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Questions to Ask a Prospective Therapist

Looking for a good psychotherapist can feel like a big hassle. The impulse to just go with the first person you meet and avoid having to look any further can be strong, but unless you find someone right off the bat who feels like the perfect fit, it’s best to do some shopping. For a healthy and successful therapeutic relationship, you will want to find someone skillful you can trust, who treats you with kindness and respect, and who maintains good, strong boundaries. So it’s important to be selective. There are many different therapists—and types of therapists—out there, so don’t assume that the first one you meet is the right one for you. Plan on talking to at least two to three different practitioners so that you can get an idea of what you want in a therapist and who will be a good fit for you.

While many therapists will want you to come in for a get-to-know-you session that you will most likely have to pay for (although some offer free, short consultations), it will save you time and money if you can have at least a 10-minute phone conversation with a prospective therapist before you set foot in their office. This is especially important if you have experienced therapy-related trauma in the past. Having an initial phone conversation allows you to get an idea of what the practitioner is like, how they manage boundaries, and see whether any red flags pop up to signal you that maybe this is not the right therapist for you. An introductory phone call allows you to determine the likelihood of their being a good fit before you meet them.

I highly recommend you do three things before you start calling your prospects:

  1. Take some time to consider what you want in a therapist. What kind of therapy do you want to do (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, Jungian, somatic, transpersonal, etc.)? How much do you want to pay? Do you need someone who takes insurance? Do you want to work with someone who specializes in trauma? If you’ve suffered abuse in the past, give some thought to what kind of boundaries feel appropriate for you and what’s negotiable and non-negotiable in terms of the therapist’s behavior.
  2. If you’re going to be paying out of pocket, decide what your monthly therapy budget is and what you can afford per session. A therapist may have the expertise you’re looking for but charge more than your budget allows. Depending on your needs and your budget, you may want to consider options such as having sessions every other week or doing longer sessions. (Longer sessions can be particularly helpful if you’re doing trauma-oriented work such as EMDR or Somatic Experiencing.)
  3. Put together a list of questions based on information you want to know. When you get the prospective therapist on the phone, start interviewing. Depending on the length of your list, you may not get to all of your questions, but you can hopefully cover the most important ones.

As you are contacting your prospects, let them know you would like to ask them some questions and would appreciate the chance to speak with them on the phone for 10–15 minutes. This gives them a heads-up so that they can set aside time for the call. Make sure you provide them with your phone number and some good times to reach you.

To assist you with putting together your list of interview questions, here is a sample list that includes questions to ask when you first speak with the therapist (and/or when you have your first session), as well as questions to ask yourself after your initial contact and/or first session, to help you gauge your reaction to the therapist. A number of the questions are from an excellent book called Take Back Your Life—Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias, and I’ve also included several of my own. Decide which ones are most important to you and ask those first. The rest you can leave for your first session (if you decide to meet the therapist) or a follow-up call if you decide you want more information. You should have answers to all the practical questions by the end of the first session.

If you think of other questions you’d like to add to the list, please leave a comment below!

Questions to Ask a Prospective Therapist

  1. What is your counseling experience? How long have you been in practice? How long have you been licensed?
  2. What types of clients do you work with?
  3. What are your areas of expertise?
  4. What type of therapy do you practice (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, Jungian, transpersonal, somatic, etc.)? What does that involve?
  5. What is your educational background?
  6. What is the length of a regular session?
  7. What is your schedule and availability?
  8. What is your fee? Do you offer a sliding scale?
    Note: If you want to consider options such as longer sessions or every-other-week sessions, this is a good time to ask the therapist about these and other possibilities.
  9. What is your cancellation policy?
  10. What’s your policy regarding phone calls? Are you reachable in a crisis or an emergency? How often do you check your messages? What’s your policy regarding returning phone calls? Do you charge for phone conversations?
  11. Do you take treatment notes?
  12. What’s your privacy policy? Do you ever share information and under what circumstances?
  13. Do you have an advisor or someone you consult with regularly?
  14. Do you believe in setting treatment goals? How are these established?
  15. Tell me a little about how you hold boundaries for the relationship. What kind of therapeutic container do you provide?
  16. What do you do when you run into a client outside the office?
  17. Do you ever conduct therapy sessions anywhere other than the office?
    Note: If the therapist says they sometimes meet clients in coffee shops, make “house calls” or conduct sessions in their home (and do not have a dedicated home office), this may be a warning sign of someone with boundary issues.
  18. What’s your experience working with trauma and abuse? Do you have experience working with PTSD? How do you work with trauma and PTSD? What’s your approach? What modalities do you use? (For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and other modalities/techniques may be used in working with trauma.)
    Note: If the therapist uses few or no techniques other than talk therapy, ask if they refer out to someone more experienced in working with trauma, should you need that kind of support.
  19. How do you feel about spiritual or New Age concepts? Do you incorporate any New Age or spiritual techniques in your therapy? Do you ever use hypnotherapy or guided visualization techniques? If so, how do you determine if and when these techniques are appropriate?
    Note: While these techniques may be beneficial for some clients, they can be very triggering for others. It should be up to you as the client to decide whether or not you want to incorporate them into your therapy.
  20. What is your policy about having physical contact with clients? Do you ever hug or initiate any types of touch or contact? Do you ever use physical touch as part of therapeutic treatment? If so, how do you ensure proper boundaries are maintained?
  21. Do you believe it is ever appropriate to have sex with clients or former clients?
    Note: If the answer is anything other than “Never,” run—don’t walk—away from this practitioner as fast as you can!
  22. Have you ever worked with anyone who was a victim of sexual misconduct by their therapist?
    Note: If you have been the victim of abuse by a therapist, it is entirely up to you what you tell a prospective therapist about your situation and when. It’s completely understandable if you do not feel comfortable disclosing information about your abuse until you know this practitioner better and feel you can trust them. If you do feel comfortable disclosing some basic information, then feel free to ask the therapist if they have any experience working with this or similar issues.

Questions to Ask Yourself After Initial Contact with a Prospective Therapist

  1. How do I feel about this therapist? What’s my initial reaction?
  2. Do I feel accepted, respected, and comfortable?
  3. Am I experiencing any negative reactions (emotional or physical)? If so, is there anything I can pinpoint about the interaction that I might be reacting to?
  4. After a first session in the therapist’s office: Did anything in the environment make me feel uneasy?
    Note: It’s not unusual to react to the furniture, paintings, books, or other objects in the office.
  5. Was the therapist direct and open in answering all my questions or did they avoid answering some of them?
  6. Does the therapist seem sensitive, intelligent, and mature, someone with whom I can feel safe?
  7. How confident do I feel in this therapist’s ability to work with me?
  8. Did the therapist give me the impression that they have all the answers or could “heal” me?
  9. Did the therapist go overboard in assuring me that they were the right therapist for me? Were they trying to come across as the perfect therapist, the only one who could help me?
    Note: If the practitioner acts as if they have all the answers to your problems or they’re the only one who can help you, move on to someone else.
  10. How much talking did the therapist do? Did the therapist talk so much that I felt overwhelmed or didn’t have the opportunity to say what I needed to say?
  11. Did the therapist talk about their personal life? How much did they disclose?
    Note: This could be a red flag about boundaries. The therapy should be about you, not about your therapist.
  12. Do I feel that I can easily give feedback, state my needs, and be respectfully heard by the therapist? Do I feel that I can say no to the therapist if I need to?

Regarding red flags, if you feel anxious after seeing the therapist for the first time, that’s not necessarily a sign that something’s wrong. It’s normal to feel anxious or even wary of someone new, especially if you have trust issues. What you want to pay attention to is if you consistently feel triggered by the therapist and it doesn’t lessen after a few sessions, or if you feel in some way unsafe. If this happens, you may want to bring it up in therapy. If the therapist is open to discussing the issue and making changes and adjustments, that’s a good sign. However, if the therapist acts as if it’s your problem or tells you you’re wrong or that you should feel safe, that’s a big red flag. If this happens, move on to someone else!

It’s critically important that you find a therapist you can trust, who makes you feel safe, comfortable, respected and accepted. This is non-negotiable. You may need to speak with several practitioners before you find someone who feels like a good fit. That’s okay! You are worth it! Don’t settle for someone who disrespects you or can’t give you what you need. Just because someone is a practicing therapist doesn’t mean they have done their own personal work! Remember, therapists are just as human as you are. They’re not psychic or endowed with special healing powers or have a direct line to God. They’re simply people who chose to go into a helping profession to support people in need. Some are good at their job and others aren’t. It’s up to you as the consumer to be as discerning as you can. No one else knows you or what you need better than you do yourself. So honor yourself in this process and find a therapist who honors you!

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Seeking UK Attorneys Who Specialize in Therapist Abuse

Hi Everyone,

Occasionally I get contacted by UK readers looking for attorneys who specialize in therapist abuse. Since I have no contacts in the UK (or anywhere outside of the USA), I’d love to get some names.

Remember I do have some attorneys listed on the Legal page. Any one of them should be able to provide you with information and possibly a referral for your area.

Thanks for your help!

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New Video from Heather Sinclair: The Real Crisis in Healthcare

Heather Sinclair, of Lynette’s Law and the Lynette’s Law website, has posted a video on warning signs of bad therapy called The Real Crisis in Healthcare. The video includes some great advice on what to do if you see any of these warning signs in your own therapy.

You can visit Heather’s website at www.LynettesLaw4Maryland.com for other videos and a wealth of information.

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