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Page Contents: When you feel belittled by your psychotherapist.                    


I am having a difficult time, opening up with my psychotherapist, and I have been there for six months now. I have been through physical and sexual abuse as a child, and I am just now starting to talk about it, but the psychotherapist I have is extremely pushy, and sometimes she says things to me that are very confusing. One week she said “I know you don’t come to psychotherapy to hear this but maybe you need to go find someone to take care of you” and she also claimed that I “wasn’t capable of holding down a job.” We even discussed her talking to me that way the following week and she said I was right, and that’s exactly what she meant! Now I have all these emotions and nowhere safe to take them because I [expletive deleted] sure don’t want to talk to her after belittling me. I am just confused. It seems most of the shrinks and psychotherapists are way out in left field and I’m just stuck with my garbage! Any suggestions?

As I say throughout this website, many—but not “most”—so-called “therapists” are out in left field. You have had the misfortune to encounter the classic mistake of having your symptoms thrown in your face while being blamed for them.

Now, the truth is that you do—unconsciously—want someone to take care of you. And because of that unconscious desire you probably can’t hold down a job. The point of psychotherapy, though, is to help you recognize and understand your desire to be taken care of so that you can overcome the unconscious block that prevents you from taking care of yourself. Blaming you for what you can’t do—yet—serves no purpose except to push you away. And that’s what incompetent psychotherapists do: they push away all the clients they don’t know how to help.

Therefore, you might really benefit from someone who knows how to conduct proper psychotherapy. In return, lest you remain stuck in your garbage forever, you must make one crucial commitment: to do anything it takes, and at any cost, to change your behavior. As long as you show a willingness to learn, no one—including yourself—can fault you for not having learned something yet. As long as you come to psychotherapy to “here” this—that is, to bring your symptoms directly and honestly into the here-and-now of the psychotherapeutic relationship—you have the opportunity to learn how to take good and proper care of yourself.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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