Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about therapeutic abuse again - this time about the why it is such a problem. Besides the obvious of course, that abuse in general is a problem. But this abuse is taboo, people don’t know what is right and wrong.
The reason I picked this topic this time is a rather unusual one: I am going to be on the “live from America Podcast “ where we are going to talk about therapeutic abuse in the episode released next Tuesday on the 5th of October.
You can listen to the podcast or watch the conversation on Youtube. I do not know what we will talk about exactly, but this topic in particular is very important and close to my heart.
So let us talk about it.
I stopped counting how many people approached me and shared very worrisome stories about their last therapist. IF they even seek out a new one. I read of loads of others who lost all hope and trust and… I really can’t blame them.
It is SO hard to finally open up and make yourself vulnerable - and if you are then met with destructive behavior it can destroy the bridge that was just build. I can’t really blame anyone for not seeking out help after such an experience.
If something does you more harm than good and you are already at your limit - it seems foolish to do the same mistake again. It is very wise to be very careful in this vulnerable state. I understand why you feel this way. I absolutely do.
I still encourage people to still keep working on themselves, either by reading self help books, getting help from friends, learning about psychology, whatever helps. And maybe give it a shot again after all.
But if you do want to try again this information should be useful or maybe this will help you process your bad experiences better and help you heal.
While we looked last time into 5 no-go practices, this time we talk about why it is so bad and how a therapy session should be like.
What makes it so bad?
What makes it so bad? The patient - therapist relationship is a one sided power relationship. The therapist can deny the patient the treatment they need and especially if it is hard to get an appointment - this just increases the power imbalance.
The therapist also gained the tools to potentially harm the vulnerable person incredibly. That is why trust is so crucial in this relationship. And the therapist should try to give the patient as much empowerment and time as he needs.
Sadly this power position also attracts people who want power over other people. Those people also become counselors, priests, coaches, teachers, etc. Whatever they can use to mess with people and get away with it.
And the more intimate and emotional and embarrassing the situation the more likely that the victim won’t speak out and they will get away with whatever they want to do. The more informed and self confidence a patient is, the less that is possible.
That is why I think it is so crucial to know the basics - so you are better protected. Before we go into how the therapy should be - it should go without saying, that any form of harm towards you is unacceptable.
Be is abuse, blackmail, financial abuse, break of the confidentiality or anything that harms you. That doesn’t just apply to therapist but to everyone in your life.
What SHOULD therapy be like?
So what should therapy be like then? What are signs that my therapist has not my best interest at heart?
1. A therapist shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself. He should encourage improvement and change, but shaming and talking down shouldn’t be used. Constructive criticism is okay, destroying or harming the other persons self worth is not.
2. A therapist shouldn’t take a position. He is there to counsel and advise you. He should not pick a side or tell you how to behave. But he might try to give you perspective of the others side thoughts and processes.
3. A therapist should be a save space where you can talk about everything freely - as long it doesn’t lead to harm of others. You should not have a reason to be afraid to bring up topics to your therapist.
4. A therapist must respect your boundaries. If you say no or you don’t want to do something - the therapist mustn’t overrule you. It is okay to ask again and see if the boundary is still in place - as a lot changes in therapy - but a no is a no.
5. A therapist should be empathic. While it is important to keep a distance for own protection as therapist, the emotions and emotional needs of our patients are relevant. They shouldn’t be dismissed or the like.
6. A therapist should foster independence. That means a better social circle, the patient getting the tools to deal with as much as possible on their own and encourage healthy habits.
As a general closing statement - a therapy should make you feel better over time and you should have the feeling you progressed - even if it just by a little. After all the purpose of a therapy is for you to get better. Whatever that means in your case.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/podcast/, information regarding therapy you can find under johannadraconis.com/therapy/ and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.