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Therapist Damage & Student Abuse: 1
Emotional & Relationship Problems Martyn Carruthers

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Although most helping professionals are conscientious people with good intentions, research the consequences of a therapy or training before you begin. Good intentions and credentials do not prevent unpleasant consequences.

Client Abuse in Therapy, Coaching & Counseling

Therapy, coaching and counseling are conversations, and are also part of education, medicine, human resources, mental health and spiritual guidance. Yet people who provide coaching, counseling, social work, new age techniques, hypnosis, therapy, NLP or spiritual guidance etc can - with good intentions - hurt their clients.

  • Have you felt hurt by a therapist, coach or counselor?
  • Have you ever hurt a person who came to you for help?
  • Have you ever felt that you depended on a helping professional?

We often help people deal  with therapist damage and client abuse, and resolving such issues became a key part of our own coaching, counseling and training.

I am more than willing to get your couple coaching, but my partner had a
bad experience with a counselor a few years ago and won't participate.

Therapist damage may result from immaturity, incompetence, inexperience or inappropriate interventions, all of which can worsen distress and/or create dependence. Such damage can sabotage a person's perception of all helping professionals. People who feel abused may not trust any counselor, therapist or mentor.

My wife and I are clinical psychologists ... our son has muscular dystrophy. We attended a workshop by a famous family therapist. He told us, before an audience, that my wife and I were "sucking the life from our son's body". We were devastated. Now we understand how therapists can abuse people with such careless comments ... you helped us resolve this schema, and now we can move on.

People who feel cheated often experience strong emotions (e.g. shame, anger & self-hatred). Yet abused clients blame themselves, and, it is often difficult to identify a relevant professional body and even harder to follow their complaint procedures. The police may not be helpful - few conversations are crimes.

Solutions for Abused Students & Clients

The consequences of client abuse are similar to the consequences of other trauma. You may show symptoms associated with other major relationship problems. You may experience anxiety, depression, panic attacks, self-hatred, substance abuse or eating disorders. And you may distrust or avoid other potential mentors.

  • Some coaches avoid resolving their own problems
  • Some counselors prefer dependent, compliant clients
  • Some therapists specialize in their own unresolved issues

Inappropriate conduct is not uncommon during counseling, coaching and therapy. Lonely, dissatisfied, codependent or immature practitioners often seem to damage their own lives as well as their clients - usually with good intentions.

My wife and I visited a (female) therapist. The therapist said that my wife was causing most of our problems and she advised my wife to be more independent ... the therapist privately told me that she thought that she and I were very compatible ... and we started an affair.

Judge Results, not Credentials

People seeking help with life challenges may assume that the best helping professionals have the best marketing ... or the best education. (The longer a practitioner was in university - the more reason to check their experience and maturity.)

Many people delay growing up. Students who feel lost in life may stay at school and take advanced degrees. When they do leave school, they may have formidable credentials and little experience or emotional maturity.

Can you afford Free?

I met a free psychiatrist for an eating disorder for 7 months. She works for __ Mental Health in Canada, where she treats eating disorders. She was destructive. Had I known what good therapy was, I would have walked out during the first visit. My hope is to help other people identify bad therapy in the first session!

  • She talked theory, not practice - she weighed at least 500 lbs
  • She spent at least half of our time talking about herself
  • She wanted me to help build her public image
  • She talked about eating disorders like a documentary
  • She expressed fear of other approaches to eating disorders
  • She was insecure and talked about her own obsessions
  • She made me do things without explanations

Professional Codependence & Incompetence

Trust, respect and commitment are fundamental to healing relationships, yet a codependent practitioner cannot provide these life skills. Codependent people more often express their unworthiness through self-denial and sacrifice.

My therapist was charming, witty and good looking. And married ... and his couch was good for many things. When I found out that he also had sex with other clients, I ended our meetings ... I really miss him. California

Codependent people may delay your recovery to prolong their need to help you ... and their need to be respected by you ... and to be paid by you.

Our marriage counselor advised us to take some expensive workshops. We did this although neither of us enjoyed them. We discovered that many other participants were our counselor's clients, and that the trainer paid 50% of our fees to our counselor.

Does a helping professional offer sympathy? Sympathy encourages people to act in immature and codependent ways. If you want to be responsible for your life, you are more likely to benefit from provocation and straight communication. here are some examples of client abuse.

Imbalance of Power

Some therapists may try to be a substitute for a parent. Others may want to be perceived as your trusted friend. Entanglements and transferences are features of problematic relationships. Such practitioners can use transference to ...

  • Intimidate or frighten you
  • Manipulate or seduce you
  • Demand more paid sessions (that are not needed)

My therapist was like the loving father I never had and I would do anything he said. When he suggested a weekend together, I agreed ... but I felt terribly used ... he still calls me and wants me to purchase more appointments.

We can help you solve emotional and relationship problems.

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2003-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email