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.
Examples of Client Abuse
by Helping Professionals
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
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.
Helping professionals who want children, or who have adult
children who have left home, may attempt to become your substitute
parent. But if their pleasure or sense of life depends
on helping you, they may damage your health to prolong their own
pleasure or sense of meaning in life.
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.
. Divorce & Children
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.
Common motivations for becoming a therapist include:
- 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
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
If people abuse the people they were trained to assist, they not
only hurt their clients, they may sabotage their
own happiness. If brought into a court of law, they may face punishment
and lose their ability to practice.
Donít give up on professional help,
give up on helpless professionals.
Contact us to manage negative emotions
and relationship problems.
Part 1 of
Examples of Client Abuse
by Helping Professionals
Online Life Coaching, Counseling
& Soulwork Training
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.