Table of Contents
Regain your self respect © Martyn Carruthers
You can avoid being victimized by therapists and trainers. Research the consequences of any psychological training before you start – especially if hypnosis, belief-change or programming are involved. Check the potential consequences of a psycho-theology on your life and your relationships.
From: Client Abuse Part 1
Client abuse and student damage can be subtle. If you like a certain practitioner or trainer, you may be motivated to return. If you are in love with a counselor or teacher, you may be unable to stay away. If you are obsessed with a therapist or psychiatrist, you may do anything to prolong your meetings.
Lonely people often extend unhealthy relationships … and lonely counselors, coaches or therapists may also do this. They may use you as a substitute for a friend or a lover – and bill you for this blessing. They may justify their abusive behavior by saying, “It was only for your benefit“.
British Counselling Association (BAC) Code of Ethics, 1998
Counsellors must not exploit their clients financially, sexually, emotionally or in any other way … Suggesting or engaging in sexual activity with a client is unethical.
If you have a problem, probably you first talk to your friends and family about it. Family and friends can provide a simple quality control. If a therapist or counselor demands that you not talk about your sessions with friends and family, this may prevent or sabotage your opportunity for this quality control. We consider such demands to be manipulative and abusive.
Codependent helping professionals may avoid getting help because they feel good. Instead of emotional health, they move deeper into identity loss – they avoid their emotions and become obsessive. They may want affairs with clients and damage marriages. (Later they may burn out and suffer depression).
We also offer professional help or supervision to professionals who have abused clients. We can help you resolve your conflicts, transferences, identity loss, fixations and trauma. We have provided an anonymous coaching service to many therapists, coaches and counselors. We don’t need names.
Some people want to help you for their own benefit. They may want to recruit you into some religion, training, psycho-theology or cult. Instead of helping you become independent, they may coach you to become codependent or dependent. For lonely people, such relationships can feel good – for a while.
After two of your sessions, I said goodbye to my therapist of four years. She helped me do so many little things that I came to depend on her. She was so nice to me … I somehow forgot that I paid her $20,000 to be my Mom. Canada
Some helping professionals pride themselves on their business acumen. They generate income streams by selling you books, audio programs or short-sighted fixes for complex life problems. They may give you advice that worsens your problems. For example, your divorce may be profitable for them – and have unpleasant consequences for you and your family.
Few health professionals seem to explore or even consider the relationship consequences of healing sick people. The obvious goal of healing unpleasant symptoms may obscure the actions and reactions within a codependent or symbiotic family. Often diseases have functions and benefits in families. See When Disease Makes Sense.
Don’t promise anything unless you whole-heartedly believe you can deliver.
Let your experience speak to you as well as to your clients. You can promise to
provide the agreed changework, you can discuss every technique before using it,
and you can promise your clients your compassionate attention!
Our exit coaching helps people leave cult-like organizations. Such groups often use hypnotic language to achieve their goals. You may be unduly influenced by hypnotic suggestion, and create toxic fixations with the leaders. The result: you may think or feel, “I can’t leave” or “I must stay“. Your power of choice has been displaced.
Some organizations use and abuse transference. If you allow someone to take a role of a parent or authority to you, this can create toxic bonds in which you become abnormally compliant to that person’s suggestions. Such fixations can create chaos in your relationships and your life.
Why be a Therapist?
Many therapists, counselors and coaches become specialists in their own biographies. They may also become evangelical about whatever modality or psycho-theology helped them sort out their own lives.
At school I really didn’t know what to do … My girlfriend took psychology so I did too … Now I have high credentials in psychology and a practice with clients that I really don’t like. … but I need the money … I’m trapped. California
- To enjoy a stable income
- To attract romantic or sexual partners
- To gain recognition, power and self-respect
- To join a community of helping professionals
- To gain professional stature and accreditation
- To manage own relationship or mental health issues
- To help people survive and manage difficult life situations
- To learn an interesting but not too demanding subject at university
Psychological literature show that clinical training programs may ignore abuse. Alpert (1990), for example, wrote that there is “relatively little formal education and training in child sexual abuse” (p 324). Articles about training in abuse emphasize the lack of prior attention (Alpert & Paulson, 1990).
Abusive Clients & Abused Therapists
Some helping professionals are manipulated by abusive clients. Some clients are professional victims who search for practitioners to deflate. They may proclaim, “My problem is greater than your solutions!”
Such clients may be excellent amateur hypnotists – they can tell their story so well that they can hypnotize a coach, counselor or therapist into believing their tales of victimhood and eliciting sympathy based on lies and distortions.
I came to fear one client, and dreaded her appointments, but either pride or masochism stopped me canceling my sessions. She would storm at me, and criticize me for everything in her life. You helped me realize that I had bonded to her as a substitute for my critical mother … and you helped me unbond. New York
Don’t give up on professional help, give up on helpless professionals.
Contact us to manage negative emotions and relationship problems.