Friday, June 3, 2016


There are two main topics I want to cover today.  First, when you may have been emotionally abused by a therapist and second, when you get healthy and the people around you do not. 
As in any field, not all therapists are good at what they do and not all therapists are nurturing and/or healthy.  It is not the therapist’s job to judge you, dismiss you, demean you, or manipulate you with guilt.  Follow your instincts and if you feel uncomfortable with the therapist, seek out someone else.  That being said, keep in mind that the therapy relationship may seem strange to you at first as you are disclosing personal and intimate information to a stranger in a timed and professional session.  Give yourself time to get used to the nature of the relationship and you will start to feel much more comfortable with what therapy has to offer.  When you leave a session, even if you feel emotionally stirred up, you should also leave feeling heard and optimistic regarding your mental health and well-being.
It is not the therapist’s job to tell you what to do, but to help you reach a level of self-confidence so that you are able to make your own decisions.  How the therapist helps you get to that place depends on the therapeutic orientation of the therapist and what you bring to the therapy in terms of your history and past experiences.  Much of therapy is based on the relationship that develops between you and the therapist.  

Without trust, you will not be able to disclose information you do not typically share with others and while a highly trained therapist may be able to read a lot between the lines, no therapist is a mind reader.  If you disclose to the therapist and they seem to dismiss you or judge you, first discuss it with them and make sure you are not misinterpreting what they are trying to share with you
There are different therapeutic orientations and you may want to do some research on this before selecting a therapist.  You may find a wonderful therapist but their orientation does not work for you.  For example, a cognitive-behavioral therapist may not spend a lot of time on your past but focus more on your current coping skills while a psychodynamic therapist will spend much of your therapy on your past.  Regardless of orientation, you should always feel heard and respected.

            The second point is when you get healthy and begin to recognize that some or many of the people in your life are not just dysfunctional, but toxic.  A toxic person behaves with a pattern of intent to hurt you and others.  As you get healthy, you will most likely start to eliminate some people from your life.  You will set healthier boundaries and you will experience less tolerance for bad behavior.  This may feel counterintuitive; to let go of people in your life, especially when it involves family members.   Some of the people you considered friends are really just relationships based on shared history and you may feel you are getting rid of everyone.  This might even scare you.  However, you will have emotional room to develop healthy relationships with others that will enhance your life and will allow you to enhance their life as well. 
            One of the hardest issues in therapy is when you realize you have a toxic relationship with a family member, such as a parent or child or sibling and you may need to disconnect from that person. 

 Other people in your personal community may disapprove of what you are doing because they do not really understand what is happening or they may not have all the information.  For example, you may have hidden abuse and someone outside of that relationship does not know what you went through and can only counsel you based on what they know and not what is real.  If disconnecting a relationship feels right to you and you and your therapist have worked on this issue, follow your instincts.  This is your chance for a happier, healthier, fuller life, but the path may seem lonely at first and may be one of the biggest fallouts of therapy.  We hope you enjoyed reading our blog.  Please like us on Facebook and share our blog with others.  We also would appreciate your comments and we are happy to consider your ideas for topics we can address in our blog.

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